Piodao (Piodão) is located smack in the middle of Portugal, a few kilometers from the Serra da Estrela natural park. This stunning village of beautiful cottages is situated in the scenic hillsides, and the views will take your breath away.
Unfortunately, this secluded spot is not very easy to access. You will definitely need to rent a car, or hire a driver.
The roads are well maintained, but are also narrow and full of hairpin turns. If you’re visiting Serra da Estrela, it is about an hour’s drive to get to Piodao. From Lisbon, it is a much longer drive, so you may want to combine the two activities into a single day-trip.
Despite the difficulty in getting there, it is definitely worth the drive and the time. Plus, its seclusion means you will get to see an interesting and unique part of Portugal and avoid the crowds of tourists!
Piodao is classified as an Historic Village of Portugal (Aldeia Historica de Portugal). It belongs to the county of Arganil and is situated in the Acor hills (Açor).
The village historically relied on agriculture as its main source of income. Farmers terraced the Acor hillsides to plant and grow their crops. However a massive emigration wave left the village in crises, and the agricultural way of life all but disappeared.
In the late 20th century, an influx of tourism helped to lift Piodao from the ashes. The city is now doing much better, and still maintains its character and spirit. You can still see the terraces and stone walls marking the old fields. Agriculture is still a part of the village’s economy, but not as much as it used to be.
Today a visit to Piodao is a walk into history. In its museum, you can learn about the village’s customs, traditions and way of life.
In the city, you can see the Piodao Village Church, famous for its stunning and picturesque white walls. The rest of the buildings in the village are almost entirely built from schist, a type of stone similar to shale. The roads and walkways are also all made of schist. Another thing to note in the village are the wooden crosses many villagers nail above their doorways. These have been blessed to ward off evil spirits, and many village residents have them.
The seclusion of the village means that it has been able to maintain much of its original look. The city now looks almost the same as it did hundreds of years ago, and it’s easy to see the history that lines the streets.
The stunning mountainsides also make great views for a hike. There are several trails that depart from Piodao, and you’ll likely want to try all of them.
In the city, be sure to taste the local products. Bread, honey, and liquors are all available, though the local cheese is the food you absolutely don’t want to miss. There is also a large variety of handcrafted products you can buy and take home. The best souvenirs to take from Piodao are tiny models of the houses, or a nice bottle of chestnut liquor.