Shist Vilages Route

Where the hardness of shale gives color to the landscape

The Shale Villages are located in the Central Region of Portugal in an area of enormous beauty and offering infinite possibilities of leisure. In our suggestion we will visit how understandable a small part of this rich heritage in a trip that we hope will become unforgettable for you.

So our first destination will be the shale village of Foz do Cobrão, located on the northwest edge of the Municipality of Vila Velha de Ródão, in a position overlooking the river Ocreza. Then we will get to know the geomonument called "Portas do Almourão", which gives the visitor panoramic landscapes before which it is impossible to remain indifferent. We suggest now a lunch break to taste the real "pitéus" that the local gastronomy has to offer us.

After the trip we will go to the geomonument called "Portas do Ródão", which is the natural ex-libris of Vila Velha de Ródão and Nisa, where the Tagus, the most important river of the Iberian Peninsula, runs entrenched, submissive, among quartzitic giants. Its cliffs, once dotted by geometric olive groves, are now clothed with dense patches of heather and holm oak, arborescent scrubs composed of arbutus, puffwood, lentiscus, myrtle and juniper stands, associated or not with other species and shelter bird species Rare, such as the black stork, the griffon or the royal bufo. Its banks have housed the oldest human communities of which the Iberian Peninsula has a memory and have witnessed important military movements, throughout the centuries. Finally, to end our trip, we will go to the municipality of Vila de Rei to enjoy one of the beautiful shale villages that exist here, named Àgua  Formosa, which lies between Ribeira da Corga and Ribeira da Galega, on a sunny slope. Upon arrival, we receive the quiet, interspersed with the sound of water among the stones of the banks of the streams. Here you can still find evidence of ancient traditions, such as the various wood-fired ovens scattered throughout the village; But also evidences of traditions related to the use of the force of the water, in a natural setting that shows the best of the relation between Man and Nature.

About Places of Visit

Vale Mourão is an impressive gorge excavated by the Ocreza River called "Portas do Almourao" in the last two million years, which divides Serra das Talhadas into two powerful quartzite crests. To walk within this 400 m deep canyon is to travel back in time until almost 500 million years ago, until a time when the hard quartzites were thin sands deposited at the bottom of a vast ocean. There are aboutt 140-million-year a continental mega-collision was needed to deform these sediments and turn them into metamorphic rocks to raise them from the seabed to the highest peaks of these mountains more than 300 million years ago.

The "Portas de Ródão" are the natural ex libris of Vila Velha de Ródão, where the Tagus, the most important river of the Iberian Peninsula, runs entrenched among quartzitic giants. Classified as a Natural Monument on 2009, the "Portas de Ródão" is a unique place due to its geological values, landscaped, archeological and biological (native flora, and more than 170 species of fauna, some rare in Portugal).

The village of Agua Formosa is indicated as one of the oldest in the municipality of Vila de Rei. The county was created by the charter of King D. Dinis on September 19, 1285, with very old records of its foundation. From the fourteenth century, the Order of the Templars and the Order of Christ contributed to the settlement, defense and development of these lands, but it would have been the Celts and then the Romans, the first inhabitants, standing out the exploitation of gold as a Of the most profitable economic activities, and today there are many examples (eg known) scattered throughout the county. But being the county and Vila de Rei, a geologically very old zone, fossils and other prehistoric traces can be found, Much older people have lived here.