After reading about Sortelha’s “great charms” in a guide book, I was keen to see if it would live up to the hype. It does. So much, in fact, that of the Historical Villages of Portugal I’ve visited so far, Sortelha and Monsanto are my favourites. I’ve already told you what’s marvelous about Monsanto so let’s see what’s so stunning about the medieval frontier village of Sortelha.
A little bit of history
The highlight of a trip to Sortelha has to be the castle itself. As with most ruined castles in Portugal, you are free to roam its walls at your own risk. In other words, don’t expect safety barriers and wear sensible shoes. Climb up to the tower for remarkable views over the boulder-strewn fields and a crop of giant wind turbines. With such wide-reaching views, it’s easy to understand why King Sancho established the village as part of a strategic line of defence in the early 13th century.