Sortelha is one of the oldest, most beautiful towns in Portugal. It has kept its physiognomy all this time and is considered one of the best preserved. A visit to its streets and alleys, enclosed in a defensive ring and watched over by a lofty 13th century castle takes outsiders back to past centuries among medieval tombs, by the Manueline pillory or in front of the renaissance church.
Our history your time
Vila fronteiriça de fundação medieval, com foral concedido em 1228, Sortelha só perderá este estatuto concelhio com a reorganização administrativa feita pelo estado liberal no séc. XIX. A antiga vila constitui um espaço urbano medieval (séc. XIII-XIV), que encontra nas necessidades defensivas e na organização militar do espaço a sua matriz essencial, bastante alterada com as intervenções ocorridas no período manuelino (séc. XVI) e na centúria de seiscentos. Semelhante estrutura ainda hoje é observável, porque, desaparecidas as exigências defensivas que estão na origem e posterior utilização do castelo medieval, a sua população preferiu progressivamente instalar-se num arrabalde, em zona mais fértil e menos acidentada, não sofrendo portanto o espaço dentro de muros adaptação considerável às condições de vida dos séculos mais recentes.
Dois espaços fundamentais configuravam Sortelha. No ponto mais elevado, sobranceiro ao vale e na vertente mais inacessível, situa-se o Castelo: era o pólo exclusivamente militar, bem marcado pelo perfil destacado da Torre de Menagem; no seu interior ainda se pode ver a Cisterna, para o abastecimento de água e uma Porta Falsa. A serpentear o cabeço e tomando-lhe a forma oval, levantou-se a muralha, no seio da qual se estabeleceu a população da antiga vila. Espaço fechado, comunicava com o exterior por portas abertas a Este - Porta da Vila , Oeste - Porta Nova e Noroeste - Porta Falsa, tendo ainda uma saída de recurso junto ao Castelo. O perímetro defensivo contava além do mais com a Torre do Facho, bem como com outra torre de vigia na Porta da Vila.
A mancha construída revela laboriosa adaptação à extrema irregularidade topográfica, apresentando o conjunto uma disposição em anfiteatro. A malha urbana, pouco densa e composta por quarteirões muito irregulares, estrutura-se a partir de um eixo principal, de ligação entre as portas da Vila, composto pela Rua da Fonte e Rua Direita. Como espaços urbanos mais significativos surgem: o Largo do Corro, amplo terreiro aberto à entrada nascente da Vila, onde se ergue uma árvore secular e se destaca uma Fonte de mergulho medieval ou quinhentista; o Largo do Pelourinho, onde se localiza a Casa da Câmara e Cadeia e o Pelourinho, constituindo além do mais a zona de acesso ao Castelo; o Largo da Igreja, de limites imprecisos e que funciona como articulação viária entre a Rua da Fonte e a Rua Direita; e por fim, um espaço muito específico, formado extramuros, junto à Porta Nova: ladeando o troço da Calçada Medieval, ligação antiga da vila à Ribeira da Cal ao Casteleiro, encontram-se as ruínas da Igreja de Santa Rita, o antigo Hospital da Misericórdia, do séc. XVII (reaproveitamento de uma gafaria medieval) e, junto ao cemitério, a Capela de Santiago.
No que respeita à habitação, domina a casa de dois pisos, construída com materiais da região. Tem planta retangular, localizando-se a loja no piso térreo e a habitação no superior. O acesso faz-se por escada interna de tiro em madeira, ou através de escadas exteriores com patamar e balcão simples, sendo raro o alpendre. O número de portas e janelas é reduzido ao essencial, e muito pontualmente surgem decoradas (janela manuelina, moldura de meia cana, elementos estruturais biselados). Nesta arquitetura rude e discreta destacam-se algumas habitações por na fachada exibirem pormenores mais cuidados e que ,por vezes, correspondem a uma singular identidade social do ocupante - Casa do Escrivão, Casa do Governador e Casa do Juiz.
What to see
Thin leaf false brome
Thin leaf false brome is a filiform plant that occurs in clumps in average altitude zones and on dry terrains. They are a popular food for ruminants, especially cattle. Used since ancient times to weave various objects for domestic and decorative use, namely mats, baskets, various bases and anything the imagination could dream up. It is commonly used in brooms, one of its uses yet today. The thin leaf false brome is a plant that is gathered in the field, and with the aid of raffia and needle, the leaves are interwoven, transformed into unique objects.
Old Lady’s Head
This region of rough terrain and sparse vegetation is full of odd-looking granite formations. Modelled by the wind and rain they take on curious shapes that decorate and enliven the landscape around Sortelha. Many of them are associated with suggestive toponyms and even some legends. In Sortelha there is the well-known old lady's head.
In Rua Dá Mesquita is the Arab House near Porta Falsa and Facho Tower. It is a simple, traditional one-storey, L-shaped building with straight lintel doors with no frames with an inscription: "Jhvs Ave Maria". It probably dates back to the 14th century, considering the bevelled doorposts and the cursive gothic inscription. The house is currently used for tourism.
House with Manueline window
Rectangular two-storey residence with an outside staircase and stone bannisters, a balcony and windows with straight lintels and no protruding frame. It boasts a Manueline window with an ogee arch, a door with bevelled doorposts, a bracket to support vases and an engraved cross.
Town hall and prison
They are in Largo do Pelourinho and were built in the 16th century, considering King Manuel’s coat of arms and the dating of the pillory. The upper of the two storeys was for the town council and the lower was the prison. The building is rectangular with two rooms on each floor. The unframed windows have straight lintels. The lower floor is built into the town wall. In 1855, when the municipality of Sortelha ceased to exist, the building was converted into a primary school. It is now used as the parish council building.
Casa do Zé – AL
Casa do Zé has four rooms that can accommodate a total of 10 people. Three suites are available (rooms with double bed and private bathroom) plus a room with two bunk beds to accommodate 4 guests, also with a private / independent bathroom. Our house also has a reception room to welcome you, a living room with a fireplace, TV and video games, a nice lounge where breakfast is served in a self-service buffet. Outside the house, a leisure space was built, with barbecue, table for meals, small bar, spacious and pleasant garden, where there is a swimming pool equipped with a mimosa service house (bathroom and shower). Our cyclist guests have a space where they can wash or repair their bikes, equipped with all the tools and equipment for that purpose. As well as having a space where you can store your bikes in total and guaranteed safety. Hence our designation and recognition certified as a Bike space. A friendly space and specially prepared to welcome bicycle lovers and others passionate about a closer contact with rural life, countryside, sports and nature activities.
Carya Tallaya – Casas de Campo
A very welcoming family atmosphere that makes you feel at home in enchanting surroundings. This innovative rural tourism project entices you and wins you over at first glance. Here, where the rustic and contemporary go hand in hand, you will enjoy an invigorating return to your origins and relish in a stay and experiences where comfort and wellbeing are the words of the day. Four traditional, sophisticated, adorable houses (three with two bedrooms and one with one bedroom), a vegetable garden, a black pool with sun loungers and a guest area with a porch and fireplace (perfect for socialising) are some of the main attractions. Add to these the landscape, tours and a vast historical heritage (close to five historical villages, Rota dos Cinco Castelos and Reserva Natural da Malcata). Come and celebrate love and life in this piece of paradise called Carya Tallaya - Casas de Campo.
What to do
TRY PORTUGAL – Adventure, Nature & Culture
TRY PORTUGAL promotes personalized programs and experiences of active and cultural tourism, exploring the Natural, Historical and Cultural heritage of the country. All programs in autonomy or with guides are created to guarantee experiences of gastronomy & wines, culture & traditions. We highlight the interior regions that are still unknown to most travelers, through thematic vacation programs, the provision of tourist services, and the organization of sports & cultural events. Services: Thematic tours, active tourism programs, guided tours, organization of cultural and sporting events. Our tours are designed to include one or more of the following activities that are available in the region: Walking & Hiking - Mountain & Road Cycling - Water trails activities - Air activities- Horseback Riding – Rock Climbing – Wellness & Yoga Retreats - Ecotourism - Geo-tourism - Cultural & Historical Tourism - Creative Residences - Impact Tourism & Volunteering COME TRY PORTUGAL!
Adventure and nature trips
We are a registered tour operating company and we base our activity on the values of legal compliance, nature protection and sustainability. We operate according to the Portuguese legislation and we hold a special accreditation from the Institute of Nature Conservation and Forests allowing us to drive inside Nature Parks and other protected areas (where permitted)- We are members of the Natural.pt brand (www.natural.pt), reserved for companies who adhere to the programme. Following the recent pandemic we got our Clean & Safe seal from the Tourism Authority signifying our compliance with the official health requirements for the prevention and control of infections. Our trips are much more than just going from A to B and we distinguish ourselves for having a higher purpose: the knowledge and promotion of the historical, cultural and environmental heritage of Portugal, so that in the end our guests will have lots of stories to tell. In each new journey through some of the most beautiful and remotest places in mainland Portugal, we discover a unique, authentic and truly surprising country with a sense of adventure and discovery that enriches us as human beings. Our offer is based on a personalised service with tailor-made trips meeting the personal interests of our guests. We are constantly exploring and spending countless days on the ground in contact with the local people and organisations in search for the best places of interest and the best routes. As a result of this research, we have acquired a deep knowledge of the whole country which allows us to give our guests a renewed level of novelty and differentiation in each event. During our events we privilege the contact with nature in a legal and responsible manner, with the aim to reduce the impact of our passage, by working with official entities and other environmental organisations. Every year we plant many autoctonous trees in an effort to make Dream Overland a carbon-neutral company, an action that our customers can support and partake in. With our trips we contribute to the social cohesion and economic sustainability of local communities, through the knowledge and promotion of their traditions, handicrafts, produce and local heritage.
Beltour – Turismo e Eventos
Portugal A2Z Walking & Biking
Powered since 2006 by your passion for travel, Portugal A2Z Walking & Biking was created to offer you authentic experiences and unforgettable memories in the most exclusive places in Portugal, taking you to the most historic places and wild landscapes. The perfect example of this is our holidays in the Historical Villages. Each one more surprising than the one before, prepare to cross mesmerizing landscapes, going through some of the most impressive Portuguese natural regions like the Côa Valley, with their cave paintings, the Estrela Mountain Range, with the highest peak in continental Portugal, or Faia Brava, the first private conservation area in Portugal. And at the end of each day, explore another village, each with a different story to discover, between castles and walls, between taverns and gourmet restaurants, between centuries-old traditions and the latest inspirations. Dare yourself to wear the shoes of the great conquerors who fought for the oldest European border while restoring your body and mind with pure air and breathtaking views.