It was the best trip I have ever made in Portugal. It was February, snow had recently fallen and I really want to visit Serra da Estrela – I’ve never been there before this time. So, I tried to book a place there but everything was expensive and I also like to go a bit far away to take advantage of the distance and visit surrounding places, which otherwise we would have never visited. And luckily I managed to find this village.
I started to look on the internet and I found Sobral de São Miguel, a small and very isolated village, with only 418 inhabitants, few places to visit, one small restaurant, a mini market which sells strictly only the essentials - nothing fancy - and a very peculiar “taberna”. Selected!
I booked a cosy house in Sobral de São Miguel, made of stone, named schist, and I could visit Serra da Estrela as planned in the beginning and stay in a place 1 hour away, that would allow me to have a different experience and visit new places.
When I arrived I found this precious village surrounded by snow, which is not so common in Portugal. I fell in love immediately. Also the house was so comfortable, with a fireplace waiting for us, the perfect winter holiday. Even though the outside of the house looked a bit old – just to keep it traditional, people maintain the stone cladding – the house inside was so cosy with three small floors.
I had an incredible meal when I arrived, a typical Portuguese meal of cod – which is always great - drizzled with homemade olive oil. I think that one of the best things we are able to find in these small and very traditional villages is the food, because it’s always authentic with a true taste of home.
Of course, the relationship of the village to schist, a medium-grade metamorphic rock formed from mudstone or shale, is evident everywhere. Indeed, this village is one of the 27 schist Villages of the local area, which also includes the famous Piodão and Talasnal, Montanhas de Aamor - also greats ones to visit! However, although being made of schist, some (perhaps half) of the buildings in Sobral de São Miguel, unlike other villages of schist, have been rendered and painted, mostly white.
However, this village is not made just of stone. It is well worth finding the small treasures hidden in São Miguel, like the “taberna” O ferrolho. With different seats and tables and only traditional drinks, a place to socialise and play board games. Believe me! Even if you don’t like any of the things that I just said, go for the decoration there which is worth a visit in itself.
Sobral de S Miguel
If you spend some days there, you’ll probably need some services that the village doesn’t provide, like going to a supermarket, or to buy something specific. The most populated areas near to Sobral de São Miguel are in Serra da Estrela or Covilhã, both about one hour away by car. So, don’t forget to top up your tank before the journey.
Sunday is the busiest day in the village. Families return to their village to be with their relatives and have a great time, lunching together, play with their kids and hanging out through the village because it has a very well-maintained walkway around the river beach that’s fantastic to stroll along and is extremely beautiful - a mixture between nature and the hand of man, that keeps the village looking good in spite of the years.
Did you like the suggestion? Be ready to disconnect when you visit this beautiful village. The experience is really to take a break and relax, it is a place to be at peace - a feeling that we are looking for too much these days, the phone network is often poor and in some areas does not exist at all, the idea is to disconnect from the world and to instead to connect with yourself and with your family and friends - enjoy.