Monsanto Car Hire
Find the best deals in the Monsanto
With a massive choice from the biggest brands, Enjoy the best way to find the best prices for car hire in Monsanto.
- Huge choice of cars to suit every budget
- Save up to 70% compared to buying on the day
- 10 years experience in car hire
Compare car hire in the Monsanto
The city of Monsanto is located right on the Spanish border in the centre of Portugal. The small village is located in the middle of the countryside of the great plateau of Castile. To the east of the village is the Monsanto mountain which reaches 758 metres above sea level.
The easiest way to get there is by flying to Lisbon and then renting a car to embark on the 3 hour journey. The alternatives are very few, take an awful lot longer and involve a high taxi bill. Lisbon airport is one of Europe’s busiest airports and serves just under 30 million passengers per year. The airport itself makes for the perfect pick up point for your rental vehicle. Enjoy works with several partners at the airport, including the global names you will have heard of such as Avis, Europcar, Hertz and Thrifty as well as some smaller scale local suppliers. Prices start at about 4.20€ per day in off season which goes up to about 16€ in peak season.
Guide to Monsanto
This village is the perfect example of architecture intertwined with nature, as the red roofed, granite cottages are built between, on top and underneath the giant boulders.The village retains its old, picturesque charm where the narrow streets carved into the rock are only just wide enough to let a cart down. The cobbled streets climb all the way through the village up the hill of Mons Sanctus. The village was declared in 1938 to be the “most Portugese town in Portugal '' and has since been protected by building regulations which have ensured that the village has remained undamaged by modern developments. However the architecture is not the only part which seems stuck in the past, the atmosphere is very traditional and laid back, as elderly people sit around gossiping on each others doorsteps and the farm animals wander the streets.
The village is host to many traditional festivals, where the plaza by the castle entrance is still used by traditional dancers. The most famous one is the Festival of the Holy Cross on the 3rd May which commemorates the town’s near defeat when it was besieged. The tail claims that the town had been under siege for over a year and had run out of supplies apart from the final sack of grain and one final cow. On the brink of defeat, the leader of the village decided to feed the final bag of grain to the calf and then threw it over the castle walls. When the calf exploded, the soldiers were stunned by how much food the village still had and abandoned their siege. This is re-enacted every year during the festival where a woman walks up the castle wall with a pot of flowers on her head. When she reaches the top , she breaks the pot and flowers scattered everywhere.
It is believed that there were settlements in Monsanto as far back as the Paleolithic times. There has also been evidence of Roman, Visigoth and Arabian occupation. King Afonso reconquered the village from Moor occupation in 1165 and gave it to monks that built the fortified castle, of which the ruins remain. Next to the castle remains, there also lies a Roman chapel.
What to do in the Monsanto
One of the best ways to appreciate the surroundings and isolated nature of the village is to climb the paths that lead to the abandoned remains of the hilltop castle, known as Miradouro do Forno. The surrounding views are breathtaking whether it be of the village or the vast wild landscape, the views stretch as far as the Serra da Estrela and the Spanish border. There is also a large woodland with hundreds of hiking trails worth exploring.
If you don’t fancy viewing the countryside by foot, try doing it on horseback. Descubra Monsanto a Cavalo or “Discover Monsanto by horse” a riding company owned by Portuguese native José Diogo Castiço with a variety of short rides and overnight stays.
Just below the castle fortifications is the Romanesque Capela de São Miguel (St Michael’s Chapel), minus its roof but surrounded by stone coffins.
Shopping & Eating out in Monsanto
The best activity to fill the time in this small village is by wandering the narrow cobbled streets and discovering the local shops. Most of the shops are souvenir shops selling woven baskets and the traditional drums. They also sell the traditional rag dolls, known as marafona which act as a symbol of fertility.
Petiscos e Granitos restaurant serves the most delicious local foods in the idyllic setting, surrounded by boulders and flowers, with fantastic views over the plains below. You will be presented with eclectic combinations of ingredients you would have never imagined such as garlicky asparagus scrambled egg or baked octopus with goats cheese.
Taverna Lusitana is another small restaurant and lively bar with a fabulous selection of smaller, tapas-like dishes and salads. They have a lovely terrace and serve the local speciality of cherry pastel de nata.
Transport in Monsanto
Monsanto is not accessible by public transport alone. It is about 3 hours drive from Lisbon or a one hour drive from Castelo Branco, both of which are easily accessible by public transport.
The closest airport is the Humberto Delgado Airport, more frequently known as Lisbon Airport or Portela Airport. It is the main airport for travellers coming to Portugal and is situated about 7 km on the outskirts of the city to the north east which makes it well located to get to Monsanto. Enjoy Travel has several partners which will offer you the best prices for rental vehicles straight from the airport.