Mother Church of São João Baptista - © Câmara Municipal de Sernancelhe

The town of Sernancelhe is located in the district of Viseu, halfway between its district capital and the great river of the North – the Douro. Sernancelhe is a municipality of modest dimensions and population density, but with a lot of history.

The municipality of Sernancelhe may have been populated since around 5 thousand years ago. Thanks to its fertile soils, Sernancelhe has known prosperity and wealth. The vestiges that have been found and which still survive allow us to know that the region has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Romanisation, medieval and modern times also left their traces. Some monuments such as “Castros”, graves dug out of the rock, “Menhirs” or “Dolmens”, which are spread all over the municipality, are proof of those ancient civilisations.

The first charter given to Sernancelhe was in 1124, even before the foundation of the Portuguese nationality, which was confirmed by King Afonso II in 1220. In 1514 D. Manuel gave a new charter to the municipality.

Throughout the region there are manor houses and palatial houses, such as the baroque Solar dos Carvalhos, Casa do Paço, Casa dos Condes da Lapa and Barões de Moçâmedes or Casa da Comenda da Malta, showing the agricultural and commercial importance of the area, where the famous wines, chestnuts and potatoes are produced.

In the town, the 12th century Mother Church stands out, the most important monument of the locality, the Pillory from 1554 and what is left of the Castle of ancestral origins, which was rebuilt by the Order of Malta and which marked the whole history of this region.

In the parishes of the municipality, the places of Vila da Ponte, Macieira, Sarzeda, Fonte da Arcada and Lapa stand out, with its famous Sanctuary located in the mountains, where one of the biggest pilgrimages in the country takes place.

Among the notables of the county, Aquilino Ribeiro stands out. Who was one of the greatest Portuguese writers, whose novels mostly reveal the influences of the “terras do demo” (lands of the devil), giving an account of the weight that the geography of the region he was from had on the people who lived there.

The region’s handicrafts are known for their work in granite and tin. But the gastronomy is also well known for the delicacies served here, such as “salpicão”, “chouriça”, “presunto”, “bôla de carne” or “sopa de castanha” – chestnuts that are abundant given the production that takes place here and the development that it brings to the region.

To visit:

  • Mother Church of Sernancelhe or Church of São João Baptista
  • Pillory of Sernancelhe
  • Casa da Ordem de Malta
  • Misericórdia Chapel of Sernancelhe
  • Chapel of Senhora dos Prazeres
  • Casa dos Condes de Anadia / City Hall
  • Sernancelhe Castle
  • Cross at the old cemetery
  • Cross of Senhor dos Aflitos
  • Cross of Centenários
  • Fountain of Chafurdo
  • Fountain in Largo da República
  • Church of Ribeira Monastery
  • Rio Abade Bridge
  • Rio Medreiro Bridge
  • Solar dos Carvalhos (manor house)
  • Solar dos Soveral (manor house)

Festivities and Pilgrimages:

  • Senhora da Lapa, on June 10th, August 15th and the first Sunday in September
  • Nossa Senhora das Necessidades, on 15 August
  • Chestnut Festival, on 26, 27 and 28 October