Beira InteriorThe Designation of Origin Beira Interior was created on the 2nd November 1999, as a result of the agglutination of the regions Castelo Rodrigo, Cova da Beira and Pinhel, which are now sub-regions.
It has a wine historical past dating back to the founding of the nation and is placed in the hinterland centre of Portugal, with about 16000 hectares of vineyards and a huge variety of grapes.
In the region of Beiras, the culture of the vine goes back to roman times. There are traces of several mills made on the granitic rocks, which were used to produce wine.
Due to the quality and social and economic importance of the wine from this region, some rules were made to protect these wines, namely in the reign of King João I and King João III.
The wines are influenced by the mountains, as the region is surrounded by the mountains Estrela, Marofa and Malcata, and by the altitudes, with variations that go from 400 to 700 meters (0.2 – 0.4 mi). The soils are of granitic origin in most cases, being the others are of schist origin, due to the rugged and mountainous topography of the region. The clime of the region is very harsh, with temperatures below 0º. Sometimes it snows in winter and summers are very hot and dry. Of this combination result white wines, very aromatic, exuberant and light, and red wines filled with complex aromas of wild fruits and spices, allied to a marked freshness.
This region produces white, red and rose wines, as well natural sparkling wines of great quality, thanks to the variety of grapes, which have allowed the constant discovery of new flavours and aromas.
In the last years, this region saw a great development concerning the increase of producers and quality of the wines. Beira Interior wants to present itself as a region of excellence and quality regarding the production of wines, and occupy its place close to the great wine regions of Portugal.The white predominant grape varieties are Arinto, Fonte Cal, Malvasia Fina, Rabo de Ovelha e Síria, while in the reds are Bastardo, Marufo, Rufete, Tinta Roriz e Touriga Nacional, with the regular presence of very old vineyards.
A few kilometres north of Tejo, Castelo Branco is the most important city of Beira Interior. It is surrounded by big olive producing farms, and marks the separation to the mountainous north.
Guarda, the highest city of Portugal, located on the eastern edge of the mountain of Estrela, in front of Spain, has long been considered the "guardian” of the country. Here can be colder and wetter than elsewhere in the country.
One of the biggest attractions of Castelo Branco is the amazing Episcopal Garden, next to the former Bishop Palace. A visit to the Museum Francisco Tavares Proença Júnior and to the Paço Garden is also recommended.
In Guarda, city founded in 1197 by King Sancho I, a visit to the Museum of Guarda, the Church of Mercy and the Church of São Vicente is recommended.
Tourism office of Castelo Branco, Campo Pátria, +351 272 330339 / Tourism office of Monsanto, Rua Marquês de Graciosa, +351 277 314624 / Tourism office of Idanha-a-Velha, Rua da Sé, +351 277 914280 / Tourism region of Serra da Estrela, Praça Luís de Camões, +351 271 205530.