I can now add another location to my list of most amazing places I’ve seen. My favourite beach so far is Hemmick Beach in Cornwall and now my favourite village has to be Monsanto rock village in Castelo Branco, Portugal.
Whilst visiting my brother-in-law who is now resident in Portugal, we took a half day trip to Monsanto mountain after visiting the amazing nearby fossil mountains of Penha Garcia in the morning.
What a day! Two really incredible places that can be visited in central Portugal in the same day. A feast for the eyes!
In this blog post I’ll share what we discovered at Monsanto in Portugal and lots of our incredible travel photos of the rock village, boulder houses and castle!
Monsanto boulder houses + castle
We knew there was a castle on top of the mountain, but had no idea that we would see the most incredible village we’ve ever seen on the walk up to Monsanto Castle.
Typical narrow Portuguese streets with cobbles meandered through the village, but it was the huge boulders that fascinated us.
They almost feel prehistoric or as if we were in a film set for The Flintstones!
These are the biggest boulders I have ever seen and the village of Monsanto and castle are built around the giant boulders, even using them to form parts of the houses.
There’s a house built above a boulder and another which has a boulder as a roof. I’ve no idea how the weight of the boulder does not crush the house below and would be too scared to live there for this reason!
I did wonder if actually they’ve carved away the inside of the boulder so it’s hollow and forms rooms in the house. Maybe it does.
To see the house with the boulder as a roof simply follow the sign to the toilets in the village as there is also a seating area with great views and it’s next to this house.
Once at the castle there are amazing views far across the Portuguese landscape which surprised us being so luscious and green. It almost looks like the English countryside, but with sunshine every day! I think I expected a much drier landscape.
We saw a church surrounded by stone coffins, discovered the most photo worthy arch as if it was put there on purpose for tourist photos and climbed around the castle ruins.
My husband Ben is a big fan of castles and said this is one of the best he has ever seen.
It’s built right on top of the mountain, is ginormous and uses the boulders and rocks as part of its structure.
There are lots of steps and walls to climb, but be careful with kids as some have huge drops. We actually made Reuben get down from one open wall as we were too worried he’d fall as he started messing around and jumping about.
One of the most amazing things about the castle is it’s open and free entry to everyone. In England we’d probably pay around £40-50 as a family of four to visit castle ruins like these!
It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen and I highly recommend checking out Monsanto if you’re near this area of Portugal.
Travel photos of Monsanto historic village + castle in Portugal
More great blog posts