One Weekend Around Lousã
One Weekend Around Lousã
Located in the centre of Portugal, in a mountain range with the same name, Lousã is a small beautiful city famous by historical monuments, the surrounding nature and several stunning schist villages.
Lousã was in my Portuguese bucket list for a long time and last year I finally decided to go and to visit it for a long weekend in October. It was the perfect time to go because the weather was not too cold yet, but Autumn started to rise and to spread a blanket of yellow leaves in the mountains which made my trip a magical experience.
The best way to go to Lousã is by car, as it is essential to explore the mountains around the town and the traditional schist villages. I recommend to spend at least 3 days to make sure you have enough time to visit the many attractions Lousã has to offer.
Where to stay in Lousã? There are several accommodation options. The most typical ones are schist houses transformed into local accommodation or rural tourism. As I decided to go last minute, most of the options in the schist villages were already fully booked. So I stayed in Lousã Boutique Hotel, a charming emblazoned building from the 18th century classified as Historical Heritage Building.
What to visit in Lousã? In this blog post I will share a travel guide with the most beautiful places to visit around Lousã in a long weekend.
Lousã has a rich History dating back to the second century, when it became an important Roman settlement.
One of the most relevant monuments in Lousã is the Castle, located at the top of a mountain just 2 km outside of the city centre. You can go there by the recently built walkways from the village to the castle, which is a beautiful walk. Or you can drive and park your car near the castle.
No one knows the exact date of its construction, but it is believed it was built in the 11th century to protect the city.
It is totally worth a visit, not only for the castle itself, but also for the beautiful surrounding landscapes. I recommend to visit it before sunset, it becomes magical with the Autumn colours of the vegetation and the light of the sun going down.
Near the castle, don’t miss Senhora da Piedade river beach with amazing natural scenery including some cascades. In the same area there is also a small Sanctuary with the same name.
Portugal has 27 schist villages, 12 of the them in Lousã area. Hidden in the mountain slopes and surrounded by forests and vegetation, schist villages are one of the best kept secrets in the country and you should totally include some of them when in Portugal.
During my long weekend, I had the opportunity to visit 5 – Talasnal, Cerdeira, Chiqueiro, Gondramaz and Casal de São Simão – and I can’t wait to go back and visit the ones I didn’t have time to go.
It’s easy to understand why Talasnal is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Portugal (and I have to confess, also one of my favourites). Because it is absolutely charming.
Just before arriving to Talasnal, driving in the dizzying mountain road, you will find at your left side a frame with the most beautiful views to the village. Try to stop (please be careful as it is a narrow road) to take one the best photos of your trip.
When you arrive to Talasnal, park your car outside and be ready to explore this picturesque and typical village with its schist houses adorned with vine branches that seem an illustrated postcard.
Take your time to explore the narrow streets and the almost hidden coffees and restaurants where you can try the traditional gastronomy of the region with rich and tasty goat based dishes. You will also find some viewpoints to admire the surrounding green mountains.
If you have the opportunity to stay in one of the schist houses transformed into local accommodation, it will be certainly a great experience to have in this magical village.
Beside of being one of the most beautiful schist villages, Cerdeira has also a great story of rebirth and renewal.
First things first. Cerdeira is stunning. Hidden in a small valley in the hills, if you look it from far away it looks like a real Christmas crib.
Be ready to a steep climb around the streets following the slope of the hillside. But you won’t be disappointed as you will find the cutest houses ever and amazing views to the mountains.
Also known as “Home for Creativity”, Cerdeira was some years ago an almost abandoned village in risk of disappearing.
But thanks to entrepreneurs that rebuilt some of the houses and created a project to revamp it transforming Cerdeira in an art and culture community, it is now a lively village that is totally worth a visit.
Another traditional village, Gondramaz stands out at the top of the mountain like a picturesque painting. Like in the other villages, schist is the predominant material in the houses and the steep streets.
It has some local accommodation options and restaurants, so it is a very good option for a relaxing weekend.
Probably the smallest of the schist villages, Chiqueiro is in fact composed by two streets and rough schist built houses that take us back to ancient times.
When I visited Chiqueiro I didn’t find anyone, but I read it is inhabited by a couple of shepherds keeping the slow pace of living from the past.
Casal de São Simão
This is the farther village from Lousã, 30 minutes drive, but it is totally worth a visit. Hidden in the middle of the mountains and the dense surrounding vegetation, this small village also surprises by the traditional houses built in quartzite and narrow streets. It has also a beautiful view to the recently opened walkway leading to a river beach – Fragas de São Simão.
If you love hiking, don’t miss the opportunity to try São Simão trails heading from the village to the cliffs and the beach. The new walkways are also a great option for some exercise in the middle of a beautiful natural scenery.
Alto do Trevim
Located at the highest point of Lousã mountains at 1200m, Alto do Trevim has the most breathtaking views. It is also home to the most famous swing in Portugal, created by the local project “Isto e Lousã”.
This project has built other spots in strategic sites of Lousã. There is another swing in Senhora da Piedade river beach, a frame and Lousã letters in the road from the town to Talasnal village.