Alijó is the seat of a municipality that stretches from the right bank of the River Douro to the borders of the neighboring municipality of Murça. It is bathed by three other rivers: Tinhela, Tua and Pinhão. It covers an area of approximately 300 km2, with 49 villages, 14 parishes and 10,492 inhabitants.

The town of Alijó, about 45 kilometers from Vila Real, the district capital, is located in a vast area of Castro culture. Like so many other towns in the current municipality, it suffered the hardships of Roman and Moorish occupation.

A bit of history

Located on an axis that would have served as a constantly changing border, it divided Christians and Arabs. It was destroyed by the Arabs and later abandoned. It wasn’t until the first quarter of the 13th century that, thanks to the successive charters granted by King Sancho II (1226), King Afonso III (1269) and, later, by King Manuel I, in the 16th century (1514), settlement began again.

The motivation for those who came to this municipality, in addition to the benefits granted, was its extraordinarily rich climate and soils, particularly for the production of fortified wine, which was considered the “Portuguese ambassador” throughout the world.

However, it wasn’t until the 12th and 13th centuries that there was an orderly occupation, attracting various representatives of the nobility and high bourgeoisie. This was the case of the Marquis of Távora – the first proprietor of Alijó and its borders, which were incorporated into the Crown after the execution of the Távoras, in the midst of the Pombaline consulate.

Throughout the municipality of Alijó, there are various signs of its ancient settlement, from hill forts to cave paintings and traces of Roman roads. The hagiotoponym shows that from the seventh to the thirteenth century, a hard-working population remained in the area of the municipality, which managed to survive the onslaughts of both the Moors and the Christians from Asturias.

Origin of the word Alijó

Alijó, whose etymology is said to originate in the existence of the story Legio Spetima Gemina, other theories indicate that the toponym comes from the word Ligioo, later Lijó, which signified the stony nature of the place at that time, has its monumentality represented by the pillory, some manor houses and the church with its set of implements, objects of worship and several images of relative value.


The religious architecture in this town is completed with the chapels of Senhor do Andor or Passos, the chapel of Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres, on the hill of Cunha, and the chapel of Santo António, on the hill of Vilarelho.

Civil architecture, with the exception of the pillory, is practically limited to the Town Hall – Paços do Concelho – part of which was built in the 18th century and part in the 19th century. The coat of arms that crowns this building is pierced, which was done by French soldiers in the Peninsular War and on which, instead of the municipality’s arms, they painted the Napoleonic eagles.

Next to the monumental eastern plane tree, considered a National Monument, which was planted by the Viscount of Ribeira de Alijó in 1856, is the old Casa dos Távoras. However, the most important manor house in this town was undoubtedly the Solar dos Viscondes de Alijó, where most of the local commerce is based.

Our riches

It is its people, most of whom are rural, who contribute to the development and wealth of the municipality, applying themselves to the hard work of the countryside; to the north, the granite plateau and to the south the schist terrain, sloping towards the Douro, where the cultivation of vines predominates and where Port wine is produced.

A land rich in ethnographic manifestations, its gastronomy is exquisite, with roast kid, Portuguese stew, transmontana tripe, smoked meats, the famous “bola de carne” (meat cake) and millet (from the mountain area) reigning supreme.

Also noteworthy is the famous Favaios bread, much appreciated and sought after throughout the region. In terms of confectionery, the highlights are the famous cavacas and covered almonds from Santa Eugénia, quinzinhos, almond pudding, water sponge cake, bolo borrachão and many others reminiscent of conventual sweets.

Come and see Alijó

In the field of tourism, Alijó has plenty to offer visitors, such as river tourism on the River Douro, ecological tourism at the mouth of the Tua, a privileged place for sport fishing, and an immense wealth of viewpoints and landscapes. Alijó’s age-old traditions of fairs, festivals and pilgrimages are also an important tourist attraction.

Postal code: 5070
Population: 10,492 inhabitants (2021 figures)
Population density: 35.3 inhabitants per km²
District: Vila Real
Municipal holiday: November 11th
Foundation of the municipality (or charter): 1226
No. of parishes: 14
Parish patron: Santa Maria Maior


19 Jul 2024
05 Oct 2024
11 Nov 2024

National Emergency Number: 112

Fire Brigade – Green Line: 800 202 425

Alijó Town Hall

Rua General Alves Pedrosa 13 | 5070-051 Alijó | GPS. 41.276216, -7.474989 | T. +351 259 957 100 | |

Tourist Office

Av. Conselheiro Teixeira de Sousa | 5070-012 Alijó | GPS. 41.276119, -7.472927 | T. +351 259 957 105 | |

Alijó Health Centre

Travessa da Tapada | 5070-012 Alijó | GPS. 41.272042, -7.474415 | T. +351 259 959 210 |

Pinhão Centre

Lugar da Galeira | 5085-031 Pinhão | GPS. 41.193600, -7.543379 | T. +351 254 730 400 |

National Republican Guard – Alijó Territorial Post

Bairro do Pombal | 5070-017 Alijó | 41.281612, -7.475067 | T. +351 259 950 543 | |

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