In 1938, Monsanto was bestowed the most “Portuguese town in Portugal.”
At first glance, Monsanto certainly does not seem a fit representative of the entire country. For one thing, most Portuguese houses are not sandwiched between gigantic boulders.
Defined by its landscape, Monsanto hangs off of a mountaintop overlooking the Portuguese countryside with views for miles. Monsanto has hardly changed in hundreds of years, and enjoys distinction in Portugal as a living museum. Due to this standing, Monsanto cannot be changed and has retained its classic village charm.
Its tiny streets wind at a steep grade past red-roofed cottages tucked against mossy boulders. Some of the boulders are actually fitted with doors, leading to structures carved right into the rocky landscape. While the mountainous town seems a bit unorthodox, it is actually a unique twist on classic Portuguese architecture.
Walking along the cobbled streets it soon becomes evident that Monsanto is a microcosm of Portugal. The architecture even incorporates the Portuguese Manueline style on a number of buildings and a church. While it certainly represents the classic Portuguese village style, visitors will no doubt be more impressed with the cottages built in boulder chic rather than medieval Romanesque or Manueline.