You definitely need a break. But where should you go? What should you do? The city is exciting. The resort is glamorous. The beach is heavenly. Hmmmm, we’ve got a fresh idea. We recommend the relaxed lifestyle, beautiful landscapes and warm traditions of the Schist Villages of central Portugal.
26 Schist Villages are spread across the central region between Coimbra and Castelo Branco. (See an interactive map here.) They cling to mountainsides and rest on riverbanks. They ooze old world charm and personify the greatness of Portuguese culture. They include:
Água Formosa ■ Aigra Nova ■ Aigra Velha ■ Aldeia das Dez ■ Álvaro ■ Barroca ■ Benfeita ■ Candal ■ Casal de S. Simão ■ Casal Novo ■ Cerdeira ■ Chiqueiro ■ Comareira ■ Fajão ■ Ferraria de São João ■ Figueira ■ Gondramaz ■ Janeiro de Baixo ■ Janeiro de Cima ■ Martim Branco ■ Pedrógão Pequeno ■ Pena ■ Sarzedas ■ Sobral de S. Miguel ■ Talasnal ■ Vila Cova do Alva
“Schist” is a type of crystalline metamorphic stone. It is easily split, creating a flat surface. For centuries, this “horizontal” stone became the ideal building material to create weatherproof, secure houses. Today, many original homes made of schist still stand and remain occupied by the residents of the village.
Indeed, schist homes are quite appealing to see, yet it is the rich rural village life that is a delight to discover. Whether it’s the type of bread baking in the community oven or the style of linen woven on a wooden loom, each village has its own distinct character and allure. Religious festivals and traditional celebrations take place throughout the year…and everyone is welcome.
A unique way to see the Schist Villages is by foot or bike. Special walking paths have been created for those who enjoy exploring at their own pace. Mountain bikers have dedicated trails too. (See list of walking trails and biking trails here.)
Aldeias do Xisto Tourism Office
Casa Grande, Barroca
Phone: +351 275 647 700