If you ever find yourself planning a road trip in the Iberian Peninsula, I highly recommend adding Monsanto, Idanha-a-Nova, Portugal to your itinerary (we stopped on our way to Salamanca, Spain). This village charmingly merges with its surrounding rough and rocky geography. Winding, narrow, cobblestone streets climb steeply and houses and granite boulders fuse together. Crowning the summit of the mountain is a ruined Knight’s Templar defensive castle, built after the Moors were conquered in 1165. The ruined castle and its chapels can be reached via a hiking trail that passes through town; the views from the Monsanto summit are well worth the climb.
We stayed at Taverna Lusitana, a cozy bed and breakfast built into the surrounding rock. You’ll see in the photos below that one wall in our bathroom was bare, natural granite. The B&B also has a rooftop terrace offering panoramic views; such a lovely, relaxing place to enjoy breakfast or watch the sunset while sipping sangria after a long, hot hike.
I hope you enjoy my photos; Monsanto was one of my favorite road trips while living in Portugal.
These dolls, called “Marafonas”, are made from a wooden cross covered with a colorful dress. They are associated with fertility and, having no eyes or mouth, they can neither see nor tell. 🙂 They are placed under the beds of newlyweds and used by the women from Monsanto in the Cross Festival in May.
In 1938 Monsanto (meaning holy mountain) won a contest for being the Most Portuguese Village in Portugal. It is a very special place, don’t you agree?
Link for the bed and breakfast Taverna Lusitana http://www.tavernalusitana.com/