While traveling in northern Portugal, I visited several little villages. One was Vila Verde da Raia which a villager told me dates back to about 1000 A.D. The little church of Our Lady of Snows also dates to about 1000 A.D.
The village is small, very rural, and immaculate. It is full of history as the area is right near the Spanish border. Many wars and skirmishes were fought in this area with the Leonese who constantly tried to conquer these lands. A fortress with the remains of a small castle and tower is in near-by Santo Estevao . The fortress was built by a Portuguese king to protect this border region.
The homes in the old main part of Vila Verde were constructed of granite blocks. The upper floors were inhabited by the family, while the lower area was the shelter for the animals.
Besides the ancient little church and the compact homes you see the cobblestone streets, the post office, the old town fountain, the little chapel of Our Lord of Miracles, the town cemetery, an excellent very old bakery, and little cafes and stores.
Just beyond the village, you can see the Campo (field) where the locals have their plots of land. The Tamega River runs along the Campo supplying water to the fields.
This village is peaceful and the entire area just beautiful. The locals are quiet but friendly.
When traveling through this wonderful country, stop and wander through a village or two and mingle with the residents.