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Located right at the entrance of Peneda-Gerês National Park, Branda da Aveleira, in the parish of Gave, borough of Melgaço, represents the region's typical qualities and the modus vivendi of a period of time. Characterized by landscapes and architectural patrimony of great beauty, the village is a testimony of an agricultural and cultural tradition of great anthropological value, which makes this a very special and unique place. The transhumance of people and animals, depending on the seasons, made the village people have two homes - a summer home (called branda) and a winter home (called inverneira).

The region…

Branda da Aveleira is made of rustic and very typical houses, named cardenhas, some of which have been recovered for tourism, although they have kept their original characteristics and have been decorated with rustic furniture.
The landscape diversity of the village results from different kinds of trees, like the chestnut-tree, the white birch and the oak-tree, where we can even find trees from the ancient underwood of the primitive forest, like the alder, the laurel-tree and the holly. The morphology is characterized by hills and beds with granite and schist outcrops, where some water streams go through to form river Vez.
All this landscape variety can be admired by the visitors who choose to go through the megalithic path. Afterwards, they can recover their strength with the local gastronomy, from which the corn bread, the lamb cooked the local way and the smoked meat are the most popular choices.

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How to Get There

Aldeia de Portugal

How to get there: From Porto Airport: Take the motorway A3 to Braga / Valença and continue for about 100 km always heading Valença. About 5,5 km after the tolls, turn right in the direction of Valença and continue on the N202 for about 40 km towards Melgaço. In Melgaço take the direction of Castro Laboreiro / Lamas de Mouro and continue for about 19 km until you reach Lamas de Mouro. In Lamas de Mouro turn to the right in the direction of ´Branda da Aveleira´ and continue for about 8,5 km until you reach a junction. Then turn right again and after about 2,2 km you will reach ´Branda da Aveleira´. To reach the centre of the village: Turn to the left on the road and pass along the chapel of N. Sra. Da Guia and continue for about 500 meters on a stone path.
GPS coordinates: 41°59'40.98"N 08°16'49.00"O

Facilities & Equipments

Village FacilitiesDue to their geographical constraints, the Aldeias de Portugal are often not provided with all the equipments and facilities that we usually find in urban centres. To make your stay at Aldeias de Portugal more pleasant we will mention here the facilities and equipments that can be found at the villages and/or surroundings.

Cultural & Natural heritage

Village Cultural & Natural heritageIn the Aldeias de Portugal many perspectives catch the interest of their visitors. In these villages many constructions and archaeological findings prove us the existence of men thousands of years ago. Folklore is the most genuine, colourful and joyful of Portugal. Also culture, gastronomy, arts, artisans and traditional crafts of ancient times, were kept alive until the day of today.


Village History

Every year in May, since at least the XII century, the brandeiros of Freguesia de Gave go up to the mountains of Branda da Aveleira with their cattle to graze. The cattle is mainly composed of sheep, horses and goats.
By definition, Branda is a place where time is spent during the summer, when the weather conditions are more ´brandas´ (soft) as opposed to what happens during the winter which can be tough and the shepherds return to their homes in the village. According to the tradition, the brandeiros remained on the mountain during the summer but some of them would come down to the village to attend the Sunday´s mass and bring some food to the Branda.
Branda da Aveleira is situated about 1100 of altitude where the river Vez is born and flows with the waters of the riverside of Aveleira. Vidoeiro e Calçado is a mountainous area marked by human presence, where some traces of the ice age are still visible and are now known as the ´Wurm glaciation´.
For this reason, the first Portuguese geological trail was created in Branda. This was an initiative of the Geological Mining Institute which became an attraction to those who love nature.