Hiking the Historical Route of Sortelha - PR7 SBG

Hiking with a trip back in time to medieval times in Portugal!

  • Oficial Name: PR7-SBG (Pequena Rota 7 – Sabugal) – Caminho Histórico de Sortelha
  • Extension: 7,4 km – Variante PR7.1: 1,9 km
  • Duration: 02:15min – Variante: 1 hora
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 337 m – Variante: 100 m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • PR7.1 – variante
  • Extension: 1,9 km
  • Duration: 1 hora
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 100 m
  • Difficulty: Easy

Do you know that medieval village scenery? A not-so-high mountain, a castle at the top, stone and wooden houses, narrow alleys and irregular granite walkways, a large wall surrounding all buildings, and the a beautiful rural landscape? This historical scenario you can still find in Sortelha, one of the old villages of Portugal.

Hiking the Historical Route of Sortelha

We are spending our vacations in Portugal and hiking the Historic Villages Route. It was a very early Tuesday morning when we went to visit Sortelha, which is 17 km from Belmonte, where we had stayed overnight (we already talked about this beautiful town and the Medieval Wrestling event that happened there, click here to read).

We arrived in Sortelha at 7a.m. A silence, a scene of stone houses, a castle, kittens sunning themselves and nobody else. Just us! Great opportunity to explore every corner empty! 😉

Pequena Rota 7 – Sabugal – Historic Route of Sortelha

Sortelha has a pedestrian path: the PR7-SBG (Small Route 7 – Sabugal) – Historic Route of Sortelha. The trail is circular and it begins and ends at the Gate of the Sortelha, covering 7.4 km, with a shorter variant (PR 7.1), that takes about 1 hour. We decided to visite the town before walking around.

Entering the main Gate, a medieval setting almost untouched. The architecture and layout village were maintained, as well as all the granite constructions. What changed was the roofs, now with clay tiles.

On the left side we find the menage tower of the old castle, built for military defense there in the year 1200, when D. Sancho I decided to use the region as a strategic point against Castile (kingdom of Spain).

Following the empty alleyways, we were able to travel back in time, observing the lovely little houses, a little sacred road, a fountain of water, and on the top two bells: one dating from 1966 and the other from 2005.

We walked to the end of the town and climbed the wall, seeing from above the whole beautiful region and in the distance other historical villages.

The “tour” by Sortelha is fast because the town is really small. But you’ll definitely want to stay there for over an hour, enjoying the buildings, the castle, the simple cottages and the medieval setting.

Back to the main gate, we saw “more movement”. It was the 3 (yes, three!!) town local residents. They own the craft house and the café. No hotels there, but if you want to stay overnight, you can. There is accommodation and also houses for rent, but of course you need to book in advance. It would be a good experience, would not it?

We left the town and start walking the PR7. The path is simple and the route is by the ancient cobblestone road that linked the medieval villages. In some places, the sidewalk disappears, action of the hundreds of years that have passed…

The scenery is totally rural and from afar it is possible to see at the top of its hill of 760 meters: Sortelha!

Hiking the PR7-SBG is worth. We knew more about the natural beauties, flora, sighting some little animals and, of course, learn a lot of the history of Portugal!

Get to Sortelha with public transport is a bit tricky. The city is in Sabugal, Guarda district, in the north-central part of Portugal, and there are no direct trains or buses to the village. Here are some options.

By train

You can go until Covilhã and from there rent a car, or take a taxi. It is 30 km away.

By bus

The closest you can get there by bus is Belmonte or even Terreiro das Bruxas. From these cities it is necessary to walk along the trail (17 km from Belmonte and 8 km from Terreiro das Bruxas), or get a taxi to get to Sortelha.

By car

Another option is to rent a car in the cities, such as Porto, which is 240 km, Lisbon – 300 km – or Coimbra, which is only 190 km.

It`s difficulty to get to Sortelha, but any effort is worth it! 😉

Useful information

  • See more informations and a PR7 map here.
  • There is no structure in the village. Just a small house selling handicrafts and a coffee. We recommend bringing a snack and water to the trail.
  • Sortelha and more 11 other villages are part of the Historical Villages Program, created in 1991 with the aim of preservating history, promoting tourism and maintaining this incredible patrimony found mainly near the border with Spain. All these villages are conect by the GR22 – Historical Villages Long Path.

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