Located in the region of Beira next to the Serra da Marofa, Serra da Estrela National Park, Gardunha and the Natural Reserve of Malcata, the historical villages offer, around them, nature, history and tradition to its visitors. The alliance of these villages for the defense of the territory played a great role in the history of Portugal and led them to witness numerous battles and legends that have left over the centuries a rich historical and cultural heritage.
More than two decades ago, the “Historical Villages of Portugal” brand was born. Since then, the restoration work of historic buildings has been done with two goals: to recover the cultural heritage as an element of collective identity and to improve this tourist claim to boost the area, with a low population density due to the rural exodus. In the same way, several activities have been undertaken with the purpose of recovering the traditions, crafts and gastronomy of the area as medieval fairs.
In addition to their contribution for preservation of local traditions and cultural heritage, the villages are implementing responsible use of resources and a collective efficiency strategy for green, inclusive and sustainable growth. These actions try to contribute to sustainability, and at the same time, help to differentiate the villages from other tourist destinations.
On April 7 was held an institutional event which took stock of the actions carried out in 2016 in terms of sustainability and it in which was adopted an action plan for 2017 and 2018. This culminated in the signing of a Letter of Commitment to continuethe village’s path towards sustainability and the Biosphere seal.
The president of the Responsible Tourism Institute, Tomás Azcárate, took advantage of the event to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable tourism for the future and the present, and to highlight the potential of the villages as a sustainable destination.