Penedono: a charming medieval village to discover in the Center of Portugal

Running through the center of Portugal, it is possible to find various charming villages and towns, many of which are rich in history and with a heritage that still captivates all visitors today. A wonderful local desses is the village of Penedono, where we can find various points of historical interest. A visit not to miss!

Formerly called “Pena do Dono”, this medieval village is located on the border of Beira, a step away from two socalcos of the Demarcated Region of Douro, in the district of Viseu. In its dazzling landscape, enriched by impressive contrasts, stands out its castle, also known as Castelo do Magriço, a military fortress that still preserves its charm today.

This castle has a long history. It refers to the existence of a primitive fortification in Penedono around the year 930, a reference made in the area of ​​the Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula. In 960, the castle was referred to as a gift from D. Flâmula to the Mosteiro de Guimarães, implying that the castle was a fortress of great importance.


And the truth is that Penedono and his castle were the scene of interminable fights throughout the XI century, constantly exchanging hands, now for the Christian side, now for the Muslim side.

It was only with the lion king Ferdinand the Great that he set out to definitively reconquer the fortress. At the end of the XIII century, D. Dinis orders the reinforcement of the defenses of the castle, recognizing its optimal location.

At the end of the XIV century, D. Fernando doou these lands and his castle to Vasco Fernandes Coutinho, Senhor do Couto de Leomil. This name made various modifications and reconstructions of the premises, which remained as his family’s residence at the end of the XV century.

In 1512, Penedono received the New Foral, a historical moment that took place during the reign of D. Manuel. Despite everything, when Alexandre Herculano visited the place, in 1812, the fortification was in ruins. The castle that we can see today is the result of consolidation and restoration works done in 1940, promoted by Estado Novo.


The castle was found at almost a thousand meters of altitude, revealing itself as an excellent example of military architecture. The construction has unique characteristics, it has a triangular format that still has a Romanesque trace, from the XIV century.

The legend says that the fortification was the birthplace of Álvaro Gonçalves Coutinho, known as “Magriço”, and that he was immortalized by Luís de Camões in his work “Os Lusíadas”, in song VI, in an episode that was known as “Magriço and the 12 of England”.

But Penedono has much more to know besides his castle, because this is a place blessed by nature and with a strong occupation throughout history. Likewise, here you can find various megalithic monuments, such as the Penedono Menir, or the Lapinha Dolmen and the Lameira de Cima Megalithic Necropolis, among other places.

The centuries-old churches and chapels, as well as the pelourinho, are also a valuable and very interesting historical heritage that cannot be overlooked. Another space that deserves your attention is the Solar dos Freixos, recovered a few years ago with the objective of filling the Paços do Concelho.

And he wanted to explore a little more around Penedono, he knew that there are many interesting reasons to prolong his visit. This region, in the interior center of Portugal, has much more to offer tourists than what one can imagine.

The great highlight are the medieval villages, some of which are classified as “Historical Village of Portugal”. Start by taking a leap Marialva, in the municipality of Mêda. Next, make a detour to another marvelous medieval village of Trancoso.

Bem perto, it is worth visiting small towns like Almendra, Castelo Melhor, Longroiva or Freixo de Numão. These are villages that have a fundamental historical importance in the defense of the Portuguese territory. Today, despite having lost their strategic position, they continue to flaunt castles and fortifications that are worth knowing.

And at the end of your visit to Penedono and all the surrounding region, don’t stop trying the local gastronomy and buying a locally-branded vegetable. In addition to enjoying a high quality service, it will also contribute so that the people who live here can continue to receive it from open arms.