Travel Guide to Piodão
Travel Guide to Piodão
Nestled in Serra do Açor mountains in the centre of Portugal, Piodão is one of the most beautiful villages in the country and it is the perfect plan for a weekend getaway. I just came from a roadtrip to Piodão, so I’m happy to share my travel guide to Piodão area.
It is not easy to get to Piodão and the best way to visit it is by car, because it is settled in a very remote location deep in the mountains. It will take you around 3 hours to get there from Lisbon and 2 hours from Porto. Be ready to drive through narrow mountain roads in the last part of the journey before arriving to Piodão. But you will be rewarded by beautiful views along the way and by the most picturesque and scenic Portuguese village once you arrive to your destination.
There are only a few local accommodation options in Piodão and a small hotel (Inatel, which seems to have some of the best views to the village), so book your stay in advance. A good alternative is to look at the villages around and choose from the many rural hotels and local accommodations available.
So what to do in one weekend around Piodão? I’ll share with you my list of top places to visit while in this area.
When you get to Piodão, it’s easy to understand why it is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Portugal. Located alongside the mountain in the form of an amphitheater with traditional schist houses, Piodão has the perfect postcard-views.
What makes Piodão so unique, beside of the spectacular natural location, is the fact that all the houses and pavements are built in schist and many of them have doors and windows painted in vivid blue. It seems that the reason why almost all doors and windows have this colour, is because in ancient times the shop in the village only had blue paint to sell. Piodão was so remote that people could not travel anywhere else to buy other paint colours. Anyway it is the perfect match and Piodão could hardly be more scenic than it already is.
Piodão’s history dates back to medieval ages and it is said that because of its isolated location it was used as a shelter for fugitives in ancient times. Throughout the centuries it always remained a small village, which is part of its charm. In the last decades it became increasingly known by the unique and scenic set up.
Take some time to walk around the schist narrow streets and alleyways of Piodão. Explore some of the village highlights like Almas Chappel or the beautiful Parish Church located in the main square, which stands out from the schist in white and blue colours. At the foothills of Piodão, there is a river beach which gets quite popular during Summer time for its refreshing and crystal clear waters.
Last but not least, don’t miss the amazing views to Piodão village from above. There are several spots in the road towards Piodão from where you can admire those views.
And if Piodão is beautiful by day, it gets magical when the sun goes down and the village lights are turned on and it looks like a Christmas crib.
Foz de Égua
Five minutes driving from Piodão you will find another magical small village, Foz de Égua, located near a beach river in the confluence of Piodão and Chãs rivers.
With schist houses, picturesque bridges and a stunning natural background, Foz de Égua is a hidden gem waiting for you to discover it. Walking by the shores of the river or crossing the schist bridges, you will feel like inside a Hobbiton movie set.
There is also a suspension bridge in the area which looks amazing, but right now the access is reserved, so I just took some pictures at the beginning of the bridge.
Fraga da Pena
Located in Margaraça Forest in Açor mountains range, Fraga da Pena is a beautiful waterfall in the middle of the nature. It plunges 20m down against the forest and the schist mountain. If you like remote natural locations, this is the place to go in the area.
Poço da Broca
Another great natural location in the area is Poço da Broca near Vide, a beach river in the foothills of Serra da Estrela, the highest mountain in Portugal.
There is a parking near a typical restaurant built in schist by the river. From there you can take an easy trail to some beautiful waterfalls along the way and be delighted by the great views.
Alvoco das Várzeas
This is another small village dating back to the period before Christ, with a medieval bridge built in the fourteenth century crossing Alvoco river. The surrounding nature and fauna are very rich for some rare bird species observation. Walking by the typical streets in the centre of the village, there is a church from the 19th century.
Aldeia das Dez
This was one of my favourite villages in the area. Aldeia das Dez is part of the 27 schist villages in Portugal and it is known as the viewpoint to Açor mountains for its amazing views at an altitude of above 1200m.
The origin of this village dates back to the pre-Roman period, but it was funded in the sixteenth century by Coimbra bishop. It has some historical places to visit like the main church, the sanctuary of Our Lady of Prayers and the fountain’s crucifix.
Something that I really enjoyed in Aldeia das Dez is the fact that it has some old pictures around the main spots of the village illustrating how it was some decades ago.
In the road to the village, don’t miss the Penedo da Saudade viewpoint.
Considered one top the most beautiful villages in Portugal, Avô (which means grandfather in Portuguese) also deserves a visit while in this area. It is located by the rivers Alva and Pomares, forming a pond with a small island in the middle.
Avô has also ancient origins and it was already inhabited by Romans searching for gold and lead mines in the area. Nowadays it’s possible to visit the ruins of an old castle built by the Romans, the ruins of Sao Miguel Church and some churches and chapels.
Stop by Varandas do Avô viewpoint for breathtaking postcard-like views to the village, the surrounding mountains and the two rivers.