S. Pedro do Sul is a city, situated in the valley of Lafões, framed by the massifs of the mountains of Arada, Gralheira and S. Macario. These mountain ranges with their lush landscapes, their cold and crystal-clear streams, their hidden villages in the valleys and mountains combined with the magnificent sunsets and sunrises that can be enjoyed, constitute a part of the world that serves as a refuge for Gods of inspiration.
From the top of the S. Macário mountain the sun rise is more beautiful, the strong colours that one can observe, the landscapes are so beautiful that all claim to be of divine creation. From the hill you can see the Montemuro, Estrela and Caramulo mountains, you can see the entire green valley of Lafões and on clearer days, you can see the Clérigos Tower, in Porto.
In the mountains life goes by the lull of time and in a space that is there for everyone to live in harmony with nature and this is where the shale is extracted to build the typical houses, the typical villages of Pena, Fujaco, Covas do Monte or Covas do Rio. Villages blessed by the old chapels of S. Macário from above and the hermitage of S. Macário from below. All this mountainous massif of “Monte Magaio” lives surrounded by traditions, rituals, myths, legends, beliefs of goats that kill wolves, snakes that eat men and saints who carry burning embers in their hands, whose memories have not been erased in new Times.
Those who climb the mountains of Arada face a sumptuous simplicity of cliffs and canyons with small villages and clear waters to see in the green of the valleys, which contrasts with the tone of the rocks common in the elevations of Arada.
The village of Coelheira is marked by the magnificent carpet of broom fields, well-trimmed by the flocks of sheep and goats that are regular customers there. Also, a lake, on a plateau of the mountains, with its trout jumping and bubbling, is part of a pastoral and serene horizon.
Further along the road is the village of Candal, with its typical rural complexes. Those who come can stay in the campsite of Coelheira or in one of the cozy houses of rural tourism that also exist there. These places are very popular, as mountain tourism is gaining more and more fans, and with mountains like those of the municipality of S. Pedro do Sul is completely worth it!
The Gralheira mountain range is a massif that begins to rise from the banks of the Baroso River, where it is located the ancient “Royal Monastery of S. Cristóvão de Lafões”, dating back to a period prior to the founding of the nation, and in a place where proximity to the elements of nature stimulates the virtues of the spirit.
Starting to climb up the hill, we reach what was once the most Portuguese village in Portugal, we are talking about the village of Manhouce, with all its ethnographic, artistic and gastronomic traditions, being the roasted lamb of Gralheira very appreciated. Nearby, is Porto, the mother city of many of those who visit us and have a good weekend at the so-called “Sintra da Beira”.
The kind frankness of the highland people is evident in the fraternity with which they are obsessed with the good ham and homemade bread, the also homemade chorizo and the traditional brandy or the fine glass of Lafões green wine. They are kind and sincere people, always willing to give precious information about the region and its hidden places that are worth visiting.
S. Pedro do Sul, the most flowered place of Lafões, is full of infinite landscapes that our eyes can see; populated with a thousand colors and smells that the many trees and flowers exalt; from above the green branches you see harmonious melodies with which nightingales greet us. In addition to this, we have the magnificent gastronomy, which highlights the flavors of the mountains.
To paraphrase a verse from the “Hino de Lafões”, there is no greater truth to say that: “Lafões is a garden and there is no such a place in the world.”
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