The Region

Located on the edge of the Municipality of Seia, bordering the Municipality of Oliveira de Hospital, Chão do Rio is located in the foothills of the western Serra da Estrela, a region that seduces us for its beauty and attractions in the four seasons of the year.

Travancinha | Serra da Estrela Natural Park | Exploring around


Travancinha is a village with an old history, remaining to the present day many examples of the heritage that revels this antiquity

Using sources such as the website of the Parish Council of Travancinha, the General Directorate Cultural Patrimony and some testimonies of residents in the village, such as Prof. Henrique Camilo, author of the texts on the website of the parish council, to whom we thank the patience and the willingness to collaborate, below we present some examples of this heritage that we can still see today, as well as some places of interest, either by its natural setting or by the evidence of a culture of a charming mountain village..

Roman Path | Botica | Our Lady of Help' Chapel | João Brandão Rock | Seixinha Cave | Roman Bridge | Pedunculated Rocks | Borceda Pillar | Double Centenary Cruise | Our Lady of Virtues Chapel | St. Sebastian’s Chapel | Parish church | Alminhas | Our Lady of Health Chapel | Pillory | Chamber House | Comenda House | Secular fountain | Gallow's rock | Court | Jail

Roman path

Although there are no studies to establish its true origin, it is assumed that the path that borders the property Chão do Rio, also known as "Canada das Cerejeiras" has a Roman origin and has been part of the Roman road “Via araocelum ad civitas Bobadela” connecting Mangualde (araocelum) to Bobadela (municipium) through:. Nelas, Caldas da Felgueira, Seixo, “Buraco” bridge, Travancinha, Lagares and Travanca". It was this Roman road and its strategic location that gave origin to the toponym "Travancinha".

GPS coordinates: 40º 25'09.64''N, 7º 49'25.05''W


In the XVI century the Botica (pharmacy) that served the Council of Casal de Travancinha was located in this old building, very close to Chão do Rio, in its access road.

GPS coordinates: 40º 25'16.54''N, 7º 49'25.21''W

Our Lady of Help' Chapel

In this chapel located in the neighborhood of São Gião we can find the image of Our Lady of Help carved in granite, which gives name to the chapel. However, it is in homage to our Lady of Fatima, an image also present there, that the night procession of candles is carried out in which the Mordomas of the feast transport the image statue of our Lady of Fatima to the Parish Church, while praying the rosary and sing religious songs. In the next day, in a daytime festivity, the image returns to the chapel of Our Lady of Help, walking the streets of the village. This procession takes place on the following Saturday and Sunday to 13 May.

GPS coordinates: 40º 25'19.86''N, 7º 49'33.48''W

João Brandão Rock

In Travancinha it is said that in the rock near the Municipal road, in a chair carved in the rock sat the famous João Brandão, a popular figure, known as the Beiras terror, waiting for his victims to pass the road ahead, to assault them and loot.

Born on March 1, 1825, in Midões (Casal da Senhora), his full name was João Víctor da Silva Brandão, being the son of Manuel Brandão, a blacksmith by profession. His father was the leader of a group of criminals, almost all of them of his family, who made a guerrilla struggle during the conflict between liberals and absolutists.

For decades João Brandão was a murderer, robbery, and extortionist. He was arrested several times, but he had always been free and clear of his crimes, due to the protection of high-ranking, liberal-minded individuals whom a willing criminal was very useful. For this reason, his family ascended socially, that is why João Brandão belonged to the Chamber of Midões, between 1849 and 1853.

The establishment of peace and the centralization of the political administration led to the downfall of João Brandão, having finally, in 1869, been condemned in the Tábua court to exile in Africa. Nevertheless, there he enjoyed all the privileges and created a prosperous factory of “aguardente” (kind of brandy).

GPS coordinates: 40º 25'28.97''N, 7º 50'36.34''W

Seixinha Cave

Lapa Seixinha has no limits in the municipality of Seia. Beyond Lapa, the municipality of Oliveira do Hospital begins. Leaving the

The Seixinha cave doesn’t has its limits on the County of Seia. Beyond the Seixinha Cave, begins the county of Oliveira do Hospital. As we leave the main road, we enter a zone of great cliffs and a fantastic view over Serra da Estrela and the Seia River Valley. And soon we get a feeling that we are entering a mysterious place. In fact, when we look at the big boulder for a while, we can not imagine what we will find when we enter its small, half-hidden, entrance.

There we are dazzled by the beauty of white quartz stone. There is no document that reports its existence, or its purpose. But surely, it served as shelter to shepherds and their flocks in storm days.

GPS coordinates: 40º 25'36.02''N, 7º 50'45.26''W

Roman Bridge

Beyond the limits of the municipality of Seia, near the parish of Travancinha, following the M507-1, towards Seixo da Beira, near the Seia River, there is a place of great beauty, known as Moinho do Buraco (hole mill). There, there is a water mill and the water of the river in its  passage has excavated the rock in great depth (forming big holes). Placed, next to the most recent bridge, that integrates the M507-1, there is a bridge of Roman origin. This bridge, like the roman path of Travancinha would integrate the route to  the "splendidissima civitas" of Bobadela.

GPS coordinates: 40º 25'39.04''N, 7º 50'58.51''W

Pedunculated Blocks

At the entrance of Travancinha there is a group of rock formations of high Geological value, being at the moment to be studied its possible classification.

Pedunculated rocks are rock formations resulting from the erosion caused by the action of the wind and the sands. Pedunculated rocks are thinner at the bottom than at the top. Being granite rocks, these existing rock in Travancinha, have acquired particular forms very funny (toothed apple and penguin).

GPS coordinates: 40º 25'35.28''N, 7º 49'54.24''W

Borceda Pillar- Geodesic landmark

Known as "Pilar da Borceda" this is one of the two geodesic landmarks of Travancinha. The view is fantastic and from there it is possible to see three districts: Guarda, Coimbra and Viseu and several mountain ranges such as Estrela, Caramulo, Azores, Buçaco and Lousã. It is a priveliedge spot for astronomic observation.

GPS coordinates : 40º 25'37.96''N, 7º 49'23.54''W

Double Centenary Cruise

The date of its construction is unknown, but everything suggests that it was erected in 1840.

In 1940, the year in which Salazar, taking advantage of the celebrations of the "Double Centenary of Nationality" (Foundation of Nationality in 1140 and Restoration of 1640), for the propaganda of the virtues of the regime, decided to launch a set of patriotic celebrations throughout the country. The so-called “Centenary Commissions Commissions” were created, which endeavored to build the “Independence Cruises”, with the objective of multiplying the existing two-centenary cruises.The Travancinha double-centenary cruise was one of those that already existed.

GPS coordinates: 40º 25'27.08''N, 7º 48'46.30''W

Our Lady of Virtues Chapel

Our Lady of Virtues Chapel, was built by a nobleman from the area of the lower Mondego, in 1742. This nobleman traveled with his family to the thermal baths of Unhais da Serra, when, passing through Travancinha, had to stop due to the sudden illness of his son. He camped on the grounds now belonging to the Brotherhood of Our Lady of Virtues, and in the days that passed there, having the death of his son imminent, he promised to Our Lady that if she cured his son, in that place, he wood erect temple in her honor. The son overcame his illness and the temple was built.

 Even today, during the fair of Saints, many persons arrive here coming from the region of that nobleman. Probably, this fair, is a sequence of a pilgrimage to Our Lady of the Virtues.

 Located between Travancinha and the adjacent André Vale, it has its annual festival, in honor of Our Lady of Virtues, on the second Sunday of August.

GPS coordinates: 40º 25'28.28''N, 7º 48'44.33''W

St. Sebastian's Chapel

In this small chapel, located in the “Corro” neighborhood, you can find the image of the martyr Saint Sebastian, as well as the image of the Lord of the Steps.

GPS coordinates: 40º 25'15.39''N, 7º 49'16.44''W

Parish Church

The people of Travancinha have a strong religious nature. The village patroness is Our Lady of the Rosary, which appears in the main altar of the Parish church. Outside of this eighteenth-century church, on its facade, there is a statue of St. Peter, made out of stone.

GPS coordinates: 40º 25'10.52''N, 7º 49'13.51''W


"It's following the Council of Trent (1545-1563) that the Brotherhood of Souls is created as a way to institutionalize the belief in Purgatory and enforce the belief that the souls of the dead would come out of the Purgatory much sooner if more prayers and alms were made by the living.

Portugal is the only country that has in its cultural heritage the "Alminhas" (a type of wayside shrine), usually located on the edge of rural roads, at crossroads, into and out of the villages. These are popular representations of Souls in Purgatory who supplicate prayers and alms.

There are many "Alminhas" across the country. In Travancinha there are four. Until the last century, by them passed by, the pilgrims on the way to St. Euphemia. " In

GPS coordinates:

40º 24'58.01''N, 7º 49'03.74''W

40º 25'30.93''N, 7º 49'00.52''W

40º 25'23.71''N, 7º 49'40.89''W

40º 25'24.42''N, 7º 49'21.69''W

Our Lady of Health Chapel

Our Lady of Health Chapel, St Bento chapel in the past (St Bento was the patron of the military orders), belonged to the Military Detachment. A fire almost destroyed completely it and the inhabitants of Casal raised it in honor of the Lady of Health. It has its annual celebration in honor of Our Lady of Health, on Sunday of Pascoela (the Monday after Sunday Easter).

GPS coordinates: 40º 24'50.97''N, 7º 49'05.47''W


"Casal still has its pillory, built following the manueline charter. It was raised before the the former Comenda House. It is said that originally was made out of wood, as often happened throughout the Middle Ages, but that after attempted robbery, was replaced by the present model made out of stone. " Classified as Public Interest monument in 1933.

GPS coordinates: 40º 24'50.73''N, 7º 49'05.62''W

Chamber House

Casal de Travancinha was the county seat with a letter of foral (a royal document that establishes a municipality) from D. Manuel I, in 1514. It was formed by the parishes of Travancinha, Sameice, Várzea de Meruge, São Paio de Codeço and Meruge. It had a Chamber house, a Court, a jail, a Military Detachment and a Botica (Pharmacy).

It had a judge, procurator, and a secretary of registration. The date of its extinction is unknown, but in 1836 it was already a part of the municipality of Ervedal da Beira and remained there until July 24, 1855, when it became part of the municipality of Seia.

Although in private possession, all those buildings still exist today.

GPS coordinates: 40º 24'50.33''N, 7º 49'06.02''W

Comenda House

D. Dulce, wife of D. Sancho I (King of Portugal from 1185 to 1211), was the owner of the Comenda lands. Her daughter, D. Mafalda, heir to these lands, donated them to the Aviz Order. The house and its grounds, denominated Comenda until the present, belonged to the Aviz Order  (monastic military order) during three centuries.

GPS coordinates: 40º 24'50.20''N, 7º 49'05.31''W

Secular fountain

It is located in Casal, between the Comenda House and the Military Detachment. For centuries, it has supplied water for the intire Casal village. After the 25 of April of 1974 (Portuguese democratic revolution), was donated by the village Council, to the owners of the house where it was installed the  Military Detachment, in exchange for the extension of a street. Already in the XXI century, also by action of the village council, it returned to the public domain.

GPS coordinates: 40º 24'49.22''N, 7º 49'04.36''W

Gallow's Rock

It is located in Casal, in a pine forest, behind a house called the Machine House. Until recently it had a ring of iron spiked into the top of the rock, where a rope was tied, that aimed to be tied around the condemned’ neck, for  his execution.

GPS coordinates: 40º 24'44.17''N, 7º 48'48.61''W


In the XVI century, it was in this small house that the crimes of Casal the Travancinha County were tried. The name given to the square where the building is located refers to the court, since it is called: door of the living room. In fact, it is the door that stands out in the windowless facade, which would be open during the judgments made there.

GPS coordinates: 40º 24'50.74''N, 7º 49'13.08''W


After the 1514 Foral, when Casal de Travancinha was considered as the county seat, and for about three centuries, the county's jail was installed in Travancinha, in the current neighborhood of Corro. From the end of the nineteenth century until the construction of the Centennial Plan schools, already in the twentieth century, it was there that the primary school functioned, before moving to private ownership.

GPS coordinates: 40º 25'16.36''N, 7º 49'19.30''W

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In the Natural Park of Serra da Estrela

“The Estrela is the main mountain in mainland Portugal due to its mass and altitude. The largest element of the Central Mountain Range, is the Torre which is 1991 meters high. The Serra da Estrela NP (88.850 ha) has a varied landscape: ponds and high altitude pastures, peat bogs, oak and sweet chestnut woods, wood areas and production forests. Presence of granite and shale, countless remnants of the last glaciation, the springs of the Mondego, Alva and Zêzere, a veritable water castle dominating the Beiras and the seat of varied climatic facets.

The vegetation is influenced by three climate types - Mediterranean, Atlantic and Continental - distributed through three altitudinal stages, basal, intermediate and superior. The SENP fauna includes a large number of mammals and birds, notable for its importance and diversity, small reptiles and amphibians with endemic species such as the Iberian rock lizard. Essentially peripheral populations with some isolated habitation groups and interesting examples of the regional architecture. The mountain is the home of the "Estrela Mountain Dog", of the "Estrela Mountain Sheep", a race of sheep that excels in producing milk, and the famous "Estrela Mountain Cheese", trademark of the regional gastronomy.” in

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Exploring around

At a maximum distance of 30 km from Travancinha, there is plenty to see, do and experience, making unforgettable the long stays at Chão do Rio.

Serra da Estrela Natural Park | River Beaches | Seia | The Mountain Villages | Remains of the past

Serra da Estrela Natural Park

River Beaches

With distances ranging between 13 and 30 km from Chão do Rio, there are four must-see River beaches, with crystal waters, located in magnificent landscapes.

On the left bank of the river Alva, just 13 kilometers of Chão do Rio, there is the Vila Cova Coelheira River beach, classified with the accessibility flag.

Also on the banks of Alva, but a little further away (17 km), there is the river beach of Sandomil, a shaded beach with all the necessary infrastructure for a day well spent

Farther from Chão do Rio (19km), but already in the Natural Park of Serra da Estrela, with a landscape dominated by imense granite outcrops and the Lapa Woods, in Caniça brook, there is the Lapa dos Dinheiros river beach.

Finally, 30km from Chão do Rio, by a road, whose beauty shortens the distance, in a glacier landscape, in Serra da Estrela Natural Park, there is one of the most beautiful river beaches of Portugal, the Loriga river beach

Seia, a city of the mountain

The city of Seia complements the experience at Chão do Rio, not only for convenience of finding there everything you may need, such as large supermarkets but also the presence of a vast quality offer of restaurants and some good music bars, for an evening well spent.

The Mountain Villages

In the municipality of Seia there are several villages unique by the privileged natural mountain setting in which they are located and their culture and traditions, also influenced by the geomorphological conditions of the spaces they occupy. Designated Mountain Villages by the influence of the mountain, the visit to these places is mandatory to those who want to know Serra da Estrela and its people. Here we highlight those villages that are located closer to Chão do Rio, at distances ranging between 19km and 31km.

Rising toward the top of the mountain, 23 km from Chão do Rio, we find Sabugueiro, the highest village of Portugal, there it is possible to enjoy the mountain with all the senses. Going in the south direction, at 19 km from Chão do Rio, we encounter Lapa dos Dinheiros, there the landscape is steep and bathed by Caniça brook. 21 km in the same direction, there is Valezim, whose past importance is witnessed by its pillory and its medieval church. 25 km distant of Chão do Rio we enter Sazes da Beira, there the mountain shale marks the architecture. 30 km distant of Chão do Rio, Loriga village surprises. Installed at the base of Serra da Estrela, the landscape impresses with the overwhelming monumentality of the mountain. Last but not least, 31 km from Chão do Rio, we find the Cabeça (meaning Head) village, whose name has been influenced by its location in a rounded granite hill, giving it an air of nativity scene, of which their inhabitants that take advantage all December months, when the village is dressed up with Christmas, with the green forest that surrounds it and red wool that before it was red warmed the sheep. At that time, Cabeça is the Christmas Village of Portugal

Remains of the past

The entire region where Chão do Rio is located has a vast cultural heritage, with diferent origins, much of it classified. At maximum distance up to 28km of Travancinha, there are significant examples that deserve a visit.

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