Located between Lisbon and Oporto and accessible through Coimbra, Guarda or Castelo Branco, the Schist Villages of Portugal quickly transport you into another world.
Coming across a deer, a wild boar or a fox is something not that rare to happen while traveling through the territory of the Schist Villages of Portugal. The latest annual census reported already over a thousand identified cervids in Lousã Mountains.
And it is precisely in this mountain range that A2Z invites you to discover 10 of a total of 27 Schist Villages. Here, you will be able to spend a whole week walking the trails from village to village, eating and sleeping in local houses made of stone fully restored and ready to welcome you with all the comfort.
Lousã is also known for hosting one of Portugal’s first and hardest ultra-trail run: UTAX. Now in its 10th edition, this ultramarathon attracts hundreds of runners every year. A little further east, deep in the heart of Portugal, Zêzere river tears up this region from north to south, bathing 5 other Schist Villages. Along this very same river, flows the GRZ, the Great Route of Zêzere, a worldwide innovation that integrates Walking, Cycling and Paddling, all in the same route, making use of stations along the way to change to the desired locomotion option.
The Schist Villages are tiny hamlets with dozens or hundreds of inhabitants who warmly welcome anyone who passes by. Nowadays, the Villages not only home their original settler families but also a new wave of outsiders who reformed some of the houses into charming inns with a soul and restaurants dedicated to local cuisine. The fresh water streaming down the mountains forming secret pools and crystal-clear river beaches complete a whole set of wonders inviting you for a week of silence, nature and contemplation, one village after another, walking or cycling.
Each Village holds its own identity so you can perfectly enjoy several days in the same village while exploring the Caminhos do Xisto (a network of circular walking trails) or the mountain-bike tracks designed by the 4 Mountain-Bike Centres existing in the area. Either way, A2Z invites you, your family, your friends to come along and get down to it, whether exploring or baking bread in a wood oven, making artisanal goat cheese, carving wood, cooking clay-pottery, weaving, producing olive oil or simply relaxing.
Hidden away in a small valley 700 meters above sea level, Cerdeira is a schist village that was at risk of disappearing after the abandonment of agricultural activity in the middle of the 20th century, but through tourism and development activities it was rebuilt and given a new purpose.
Where history is millenarian, culture enriches the soul and mind, and the landscapes are breathtaking, there is much not to miss in the Center of Portugal.
The Schist Villages are small villages lost in a world of timeless trails that connect each village through centuries of history, tradition and landscape. Enjoy the fresh water that flows through the mountains, creating secret pools and crystal-clear river beaches. Together with the landscape, these authentic wonders invite us to contemplate in tranquility one village after another, walking the various Schist Trails or by bicycle. Each village has its own identity and is in itself a destination not to be missed. We will explore the best things to do in this charming region.