Serra do São Macário

Written by sergio_costa on Aug. 28, 2021, 10:33 a.m.

The Legend 

The word São (Portuguese for Saint) points us to the sacred origins of São Macário. According to legend, the son of a rich castellan called Macário sought refuge high up in the secluded mountains far away from civilization. Macário deliberately isolated himself as a self-inflicted penitence after mistakenly killing his father during a hunt. Against all the odds Macário lived to a ripe old age. His capacity to survive together with his peculiar ability to carry glowing embers with his bare hands made him a local legend.

The legend has lived on and nowadays the Masses of the last Sunday of July are celebrated in honour of S. Macário. A chapel was erected on the summit. Because of disagreement among the locals about exactly where S. Macário lived, another chapel was built later on. Around a thousand people visit during the last weekend of July. There are excursions by bus often organized by the municipalities, as well as many locals who hike all the way either to pay their homage or just for the sake of adventure and to hike the magnificent trails.


The landscape
It’s not a coincidence that the name serra is used for both a range of mountains and a saw in the Portuguese language. The mountain ranges of the Serra do S. Macário remind people of a saw. Their tones of colour change with the distance, the time of the day and the weather. Even though nearly every day is a good day to visit, the most stunning views are around sunrise or sunset with a clear sky or just a little cloud.

Points of interest around S. Macário

The locals appreciate and are proud of the area surrounding S. Macário, a very strong sign of the uniqueness of the place. Portal do inferno (The gate of hell) is just 5 kilometres away with a beautiful road running to it. In a valley on the right side of the road there is a tiny village called Aldeia da Pena (Village of pity). This village is well known nationally and also often visited by the locals. Its name originates from the pity and empathy for the people living in such a deep valley. The road to Portal do Inferno runs between the county (District) of Viseu and Aveiro. If you face towards Portal do Inferno the very scary but picturesque scenery you see belongs to the Viseu district. Behind you lies the deserted village of Aldeia da Drave, now the national scouts’ centre. A few kilometres ahead there is the village of Regoufe. This village is like a well preserved museum with disused tungsten (or wolfram) mines that are closed since the end of the Second World War.

Serra da arada and surrounding places

Published on Aug. 28, 2021, 10:33 a.m. by sergio_costa

Tags: culture , mountains , legends

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