Deep in the interior of Portugal, the small village of penha garcia is known for something very rare: the presence of trace fossils. But what is this anyway?
These are fossils of ancient organisms, such as traces of footprints, tracks of movement, bite marks, excrement, eggs, tunnels and even galleries of olden times.
The origins of Penha Garcia were lost in time. It is known that it was the seat of the municipality and that D. Dinis donated the village to the Templars, and even today there are many marks of this heritage.
Starting with the Templar Castle, at the top of a hill, which offers an ideal view over the outline of the Ponsul valley. A geomonument that preserves countless traces, many of them dating back 480 million years – history lovers out there? So, you really should visit the place.
This Templar heritage is also a source of development. Proof of this is the medieval fair that takes place annually through the streets and alleys of the parish and helps to revive ancestral memories.
Despite being a small parish in Idanha-a-Nova, in the Beira Baixa region, Penha Garcia therefore has a lot to offer within its 128.42 km² area and, according to the 2011 census, 748 inhabitants. Find out more.
Don’t miss the best points of interest in the region
Fun, history and nature: the best features of Penha Garcia and surroundings have everything, for all tastes.
if it is fan of trails and hikingyou can follow the Fossil Route, which stretches over three kilometres, on a certified and very accessible route.
The beginning of the route takes place at the entrance of the village, with a slightly steep climb, towards the Igreja Matriz and the Castle. As this is a high point, the effort will be rewarded: the breathtaking landscape does not disappoint.
Along the way, you will be completely absorbed by this overwhelming scenery and even your lungs will find such pure air strange. And, of course, you’ll have the opportunity to observe, here and there, the marks that were preserved in the sedimentary rocks still visible today and which the population calls painted snakes.
The walls of Penha Garcia
The Castle of Templars it was built in the reign of D. Sancho I to help protect the Portuguese border from the onslaughts of León.
As we mentioned, you will pass by the castle if you follow the Fossil Route. Although the climb is accessible, it can be a bit steep, so you should wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
The imposing walls transport us to the past and we almost feel like real soldiers defending the place.
And while you’re there, remember one of the best-known legends of the region: the ghost of the former mayor of the castle, D. Garcia, still roams between the walls. All this due to a love story – this almost seems to be the motto for many well-known Portuguese legends.
After kidnapping the daughter of the governor of Monsanto, D. Branca, for having fallen madly in love, D. Garcia was captured and sentenced to death. However, D. Branca interceded for him, so the sentence was reduced: D. Garcia was condemned to be without an arm, hence he is still known today as “the severed”.
O Geopark Naturetejo It is the first Portuguese park to be part of the UNESCO World Geoparks Network.
It covers different counties: Castelo Branco, Idanha-a-Nova, Nisa, pottersPenamacor, Proença-a-Nova and Vila Velha de Ródão, therefore including the parish of Penha Garcia.
O Naturtejo Geopark it has an excellent location and access. There are more than 5,000 kmtwo of land to discover, which will sharpen all your senses and surprise anyone.
In addition, the space has a wide variety of tourist products, always based on Nature. It is equipped with excellent infrastructure and services that allow you to discover some special pedestrian routes and the enchanted world of birds.
In addition, you can follow more specific routes, such as those of the Templars or rock art in the region, the gold route, Mediterranean flavors or even do MTB routes. There is also the possibility of creating customized routes.
Chapel of the Holy Spirit
Also at the top of the village, the Capela do Espírito Santo has an asymmetrical façade and a Gothic arch in the chancel that proves its antiquity.
Pego river beach
THE River Beach do Pego is also known as a natural swimming pool. It stands out for being a place of great beauty, where the Ponsul River – a tributary of the Tagus River, cascades into a weir known as the Açude do Pego.
This weir is not natural. It was a project built by man, with the aim of creating a kind of pool surrounded by stone walls, to collect water and use it for various purposes.
Currently, the site is only recreational, so the water from the river is retained in an incredible and refreshing lake, perfect for diving in relative safety. this in hot weather, of course.
How to get to Penha Garcia?
Who departs so much from the North how do South of the country, must have the A23 motorway as a reference. In the first case, you should then leave towards Guarda Sul/Covilhã/Portalegre, taking the rest of the route along national roads, where you will find the appropriate signs. If you arrive from the south, the best way out is Alcains.
Typical gastronomy: what you should try
Where to stay?
Among rural accommodation options and hotels, you will always stay in places surrounded by great beauty, where Nature is always the perfect host.