The insider tip Monsanto is a village in the east of Portugal, which in our opinion should not be missed on any Portugal road trip. When you see photos of Monsanto, you probably first think: Can this be real? And yes, it is real and not a movie set. You can walk among the granite rocks, houses and fortress walls and find out what you can see in Monsanto and why you should definitely pass by in our travel report.
We are Sabrina and Andreas, two adventurous travelers who never miss an opportunity to discover the world. Whether by plane to distant countries or with our campervan Bruno, we just love to travel. We hope to give you helpful tips for your next trip on our blog.
Sabrina & Andreas Globetrotters, Travelers, Adventurers
Monsanto in Portugal
The village of Monsanto was built next to and under huge rocks, which are scattered on a large hill in the landscape at an altitude of over 750 meters. The ancient Romans already settled here and in the 12th century a large protective castle was built. The remains of the castle can still be visited today.
The settlers of the small village (today there are almost 800 people living here) probably didn’t have the tourist factor in mind back then, when they nestled their dwellings so close to the huge granite blocks that hardly a square inch remained unused. At least nowadays, however, this is the decisive factor why the village is so popular and visited by thousands of visitors every year.
Nevertheless, the small village in Portugal has retained its medieval charm. While wandering through the alleys you can almost touch the historical atmosphere with your hands. At no point is the village touristy or overcrowded.
It is too big for that, not in terms of area, but in terms of the many small streets and alleys. I walked around the village for several hours and did not manage to discover all the alleys and all the remote corners of the rocky village.
What to do in Monsanto Portugal?
The most beautiful thing about Monsanto Portugal is wandering through the many small streets and discover the many stone houses built under or right next to the huge granite rocks. Monsanto would be beautiful even without the rocks, but the large granite boulders make the village truly spectacular. Even though it looks like a movie set (which of course it has been) the village is super authentic and real residents live here.
The Monsanto Castle
One of the highlights is Monsanto Castle, perched on top of the mountain. You can easily walk up here and admire the village and the landscape around it. The castle is of course only a ruin, but that really doesn’t detract from the atmosphere.
It’s really beautiful up here and since nothing is closed off or secured with a fence, you can walk around as much as you want and discover every little corner.
How much time should I spend in Monsanto Portugal?
Even though the village is really super small, there is a lot to discover. We would recommend spending at least half a day if not a whole day in Monsanto. If you have enough time on your Portugal road trip, then we would even suggest an overnight stay. In Monsanto there are super cute restaurants, nice hostels and there is supposed to be a spectacular sunset up here.
Monsanto – How to get there?
Monsanto is not really on the usual tourist routes so it’s not visited by many tourists. It is located about 3 hours from Lisbon and 4 hours drive from Porto. It is not very accessible by public transport, so you should get a rental car to visit Monsanto*.
Parking in Monsanto
It is not possible to park directly in Monsanto. There is far too little space up there and turning around in the small rocky village is extremely difficult.The closest parking is this one just a few meters from the village. However, this parking lot is very small and can fill up quickly during peak season.
If you want to be on the safe side or if you are traveling with a large campervan or motorhome then park down at the foot of the hill. Here you walk about 15 minutes steeply uphill to Monsanto. The parking is free and can be found here on Google Maps.
Where to Stay in Monsanto Portugal
If you are traveling by RV, there are some nice campgrounds near Monsanto, for example here. If you are traveling by rental car in Portugal*, then there are many small hostels and guesthouses in Monsanto. We can recommend one in particular.
Hotel Recommendation for Monsanto
In this cute little hostel* in Monsanto you are directly in the old town and at the same time have a beautiful view into the valley.
-Fully equipped studio apartments
– own kitchen and bathroom
– right in the old town of Monsanto
– great breakfast
We hope you enjoyed our report about Monsanto Portugal. If you have any questions or tips, please write us a comment.