Best Things To Do and See in Idanha-a-Nova (Unique Attractions)

Falha do Pônsul de Idanha-a-Nova.
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2024-03-21

Everything you need to know about Idanha-a-Nova, including Best Things To Do and Visit in Idanha-a-Nova this year!

Idanha-a-Nova is a village in the district of Castelo Branco, located in the Central region of Portugal.

It’s a beautiful area to visit, featuring two Historic Villages of Portugal (Monsanto and Idanha-a-Velha), the Geopark Naturtejo, the International Tagus Natural Park, the Monfortinho Thermal Baths, and the village of Penha Garcia.

In this article, we will provide you with tips on what to visit in the municipality of Idanha-a-Nova, things to do in Idanha-a-Nova, hotel and restaurant suggestions, as well as a map and how to get to the region.

So, are you ready to join us on this journey through Beira Baixa?

Best Things To Do and Visit in Idanha-a-Nova

Falha do Pônsul de Idanha-a-Nova.
Falha do Pônsul in Idanha-a-Nova.

Explore the historic center of Idanha-a-Nova

Zona Histórica de Idanha.
Streets in downtown Idanha-a-Nova.
Centro de Idanha-a-Nova.
Best things to do in Idanha-a-Nova: explore the center of Idanha.
O que fazer em Idanha-a-Nova: explorar o centro a pé.
Things to do in Idanha-a-Nova: Explore the downtown area on foot.
Monumentos a ver em Idanha-a-Nova.
Monuments to see in Idanha-a-Nova.

Park your car and explore the old area on foot. You’ll do a fair amount of walking, but believe us, it’s worth it to wander up and down the cobbled streets of Idanha.

The highlight, in our opinion, is climbing up to the ruins of the old castle. In truth, the ruins are almost non-existent, but the view from up there is incredible.

In fact, this is the best place to observe the Ponsul Fault, and if you’re not familiar with the phenomenon, don’t worry because there are explanatory signs in place.

Learn about the art of adufes and adufeiras.

Adufes de Monsanto.
Best local traditions in Idanha: Adufes in Monsanto.
Construção de um adufe de Idanha.
Construction of an Idanha adufe.

An adufe is a traditional Portuguese musical instrument, also known as a square tambourine due to its shape.

It consists of a wooden box covered with sheepskin, and inside, they place bottle caps to make noise.

Adufeiras are the women who play the adufe, and in Idanha-a-Nova, there is a group that usually gathers to play and sing.

Visit Monsanto (Aldeia Histórica)

Aldeia Histórica de Monsanto.
Historical Village of Monsanto.
Torre do Lucano ou Torre do Relógio
Clock Tower or Lucano Tower in Monsanto.
O que visitar em Monsanto
Historical Village of Monsanto (castle).
Aldeia Histórica de Monsanto.
Historical Village of Monsanto.

Monsanto is considered the Most Portuguese Village in Portugal, and thus, atop the Clock Tower is placed a replica of the silver rooster that marks this occasion.

On the other hand, this unique village is also known for its monumental granite blocks, beside which the houses were built.

Visiting the Historical Village of Idanha-a-Velha

Porta Nova de Idanha-a-velha
Porta Nova in Idanha-a-Velha.
Interior da Sé Catedral de Idanha-a-Velha.
Interior of the Cathedral of Idanha-a-Velha.
Igreja de Santa Maria
Church of Santa Maria, in Idanha-a-Velha.

Idanha-a-Velha is one of the oldest Historical Villages in Portugal, as it has been inhabited since the distant 1st century BC.

The village is like an open-air museum, where archaeological artifacts are carefully arranged and accessible to everyone.

Head to the Church of Santa Maria, where most of the remains are concentrated.

One of the attractions of the Historical Village of Idanha-a-Velha is the famous restaurant Casa da Velha Fonte.

Eating like the Romans in the 1st century BC (and beyond) is chef Maria Caldeira de Sousa’s proposal, and I must say it’s an unforgettable experience.

Check out the gallery on Instagram and decide for yourself if it’s worth taking a detour to have lunch or dinner in Idanha. Personally, I must say I never miss the opportunity to make that detour…

Exploring the Naturtejo Geopark

Rota dos Fósseis em Penha Garcia.
Listening to explanations from Joana Rodrigues of Naturtejo. Fossil Route in Penha Garcia.
Cascata da praia fluvial do Pego
Cascata do Pego, waterfall in Penha Garcia.
Rota dos Fósseis
Fossil Route.

The Naturtejo Geopark of the Southern Plateau covers an area of 5,000 km2 and includes territories from 6 municipalities, namely Castelo Branco, Nisa, Oleiros, Proença-a-Nova, Vila Velha de Ródão, and, of course, Idanha-a-Nova.

Therefore, in the municipality of Idanha-a-Nova, you can visit the Iconological Park of Penha Garcia, the river cannons of Erge, the Escarpment of the Pônsul River Fault, and the Mines Route of Segura.

Exploring the International Tagus Natural Park

Parque Natural do Tejo Internacional.
International Tagus Natural Park (Parque Natural do Tejo Internacional).
Monumento Natural das Portas de Ródão.
Natural Monument of Portas de Ródão.

The International Tagus Natural Park was declared a transboundary biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2016.

It’s a protected area that covers territories along the Tagus River in Castelo Branco, Vila Velha de Ródão, Nisa, and also Idanha-a-Nova.

It’s a very beautiful area with cork oak and holm oak forests where you can spot vultures, eagles, and storks, so we suggest you dedicate some time to this park.

Exploring the Marechal Carmona Dam

Barragem Marechal Carmona, ou Barragem de Idanha.
Marechal Carmona Dam, or Idanha Dam.
Barragem de Idanha, onde acontece o Boom Festival.
Idanha Dam, where the Boom Festival takes place.

The Marechal Carmona Dam, or Idanha Dam, was built during the Estado Novo regime with the aim of electricity production and water use for agriculture.

During weekends, many visitors flock to the dam’s spillway to witness its impressive height.

It is also on the shores of the reservoir of the Idanha-a-Nova Dam that the Boom Festival takes place. It is a biennial event internationally acclaimed and in 2025, it will occur between July 17th and 24th.

Best Things To Do in Idanha-a-Nova

Ruínas do Castelo de Idanha-a-Nova.
Ruins of Idanha-a-Nova Castle.
  • Don’t miss out on tasting the typical gastronomy, such as river fish dishes, lamb stew, and hare rice;
  • Exploring the Naturtejo Geopark is a must, but if you don’t have time for more, at least make a quick stop at Penha Garcia;
  • The properties of the waters of Monfortinho Thermal Baths date back to ancient times, but make sure you don’t get lost getting there! The thermal baths are located 3 km from the Monfortinho parish, and besides thermal treatments, you can also enjoy massages.

Routes in Beira Baixa for family road trips

Road trip na Beira Baixa.
Road trip in Beira Baixa, Portugal

Traveling by car is something we really enjoy, especially in the North and Center of Portugal.

Beira Baixa, which includes Idanha-a-Nova, is ideal for family road trips, so on this blog, you’ll find several articles dedicated to the region.

There are many possible itineraries, but if you want some guidance, check out the suggestions below.

Road trip in BEIRA BAIXA: tips on what to see and do (3-day itinerary)

Celebrating the Summer Solstice in Beira Baixa in unusual places (3-day itinerary)

Accommodation in Idanha-a-Nova

Hotel Fonte Santa (Monfortinho).
Hotel Fonte Santa (Monfortinho).
Termas de Monfortinho.
Monfortinho SPA.

Have you noticed that the Beira Baixa region has a lot to see and do, so it makes perfect sense to stay here for a few days.

So, in Idanha-a-Nova, we suggest Hotel Estrela Da Idanha, a comfortable accommodation with a pool, skate park, and mini-golf. If you’re traveling with children, they will love it!

For a more luxurious experience, try Hotel Fonte Santa in the Monfortinho Thermal Baths area, which, despite being 47 km away, is an alternative worth considering.

If you didn’t like any of these suggestions, follow the links for more options on where to stay in the region.

Hotels in Idanha-a-Nova and Hotels in Monsanto.

Restaurants in Idanha-a-Nova

Restaurante Casa da Velha Fonte na Casa da Amoreira (Road trip na Beira Baixa).
Restaurante Casa da Velha Fonte na Casa da Amoreira, in Idanha-a-Velha.

If you enjoy eating well at affordable prices, you’ll love the Helana restaurant!

It’s located in the historic area of Idanha-a-Nova, and the Cod Tiborna is memorable, but please note that it closes for staff rest, so it’s best to confirm if it’s open on their Facebook page.

If you don’t mind taking a detour to the Historical Village of Idanha-a-Velha, then my suggestion is the incredible Casa da Velha Fonte.

Try the mushroom migas, the Apício-style duck, or any other delicacies that the talented Maria Caldeira prepares.

Map and how to get to Idanha-a-Nova

From Lisboa

From Porto

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