SERNANCELHE, land of the chestnut.

Sernancelhe is a land of history, heritage and tradition. It is the land of Aquilino Ribeiro, the Lapa Sanctuary and the chestnut. It’s a vast, mountainous territory, where the Marão and Estrela mountain ranges can be seen on the horizon. At the bottom of the valley, the River Távora dominates the landscape, meandering its way towards the Douro. Blessed by nature, Sernancelhe is known as the “Land of the Chestnut”. Centuries of connection to the chestnut tree have shaped the landscape of the villages and hillsides. Leafy groves and centuries-old patches of the Martaínha variety, such as Seara, at the foot of Nossa Senhora de Ao Pé da Cruz, are a benchmark in the country. This is where the mountain biking and hiking trails pass through, as if following in the footsteps of the pilgrims from Santiago who reached the town of Sernancelhe after passing the Abade Bridge with its hostels and the Ribeira Monastery. Almost nine centuries of history make Sernancelhe one of the oldest towns in the country. This antiquity can be seen in the 12th century Romanesque church, with its round arch and two sculptural groups inscribed in niches where the pilgrim Apostle Santiago stands. Land of faith and land of shepherds, the writer Aquilino Ribeiro, author of the book “Estrada de Santiago”, was born here. At an altitude of almost a thousand metres, on the plateau, stands the Sanctuary of Lapa, one of the oldest on the Iberian Peninsula, which holds one of the most beautiful pages of the spread of the cult in the country and in the world, with the indelible mark of this place on the evangelization of nations during the Discoveries.

Places to visit

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lapa, with its College, Town Hall and Jail, the Convent of Our Lady of the Assumption, the Recollection of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Freixinho, the Aquilino Ribeiro Courtyard, the Historic Center of Sernancelhe, with its 12th century Romanesque church, the village of Fonte Arcado, Casa da Loba and the Clock, the granite mountains of Lapa and Zebreira, the viewpoints of Our Lady of Ao Pé do Cruz and Our Lady of Necessidades XII, the village of Fonte Arcada, Casa da Loba and the Clock, the granite mountains of Lapa and Zebreira, the viewpoints of Senhora de Ao Pé da Cruz and Senhora das Necessidades and the riverside villages of Vila da Ponte, Freixinho and Faia.


The municipality’s gastronomic identity can be seen in the products and rituals typical of mountain territories. It is the slaughter of the pig that tempers the flavours of the regional gastronomy. Torresmos, carne entremeada, roast fêveras and fried liver with boiled potatoes are the dishes of choice, as well as the smoked meats: morcelas, farinheiras, moiras, chouriças and salpicões. River fish in a pickled sauce, accompanied by Lapa bread, are a unique snack. Oven-roasted cod and Flora-style kid goat are equally renowned delicacies. The convents and monasteries were the origin of two of Sernancelhense’s most prized sweets: fálgaros de Tabosa do Carregal and cavacas de Freixinho. In the heart of the chestnut capital, this fruit is treated like a queen. It is used in the kitchen as a food supplement, but it once replaced the potato. Boiled, roasted, in pudding or jam, there are many ways to enjoy the Sernancelhe chestnut, and it is increasingly present in the daily lives of the local inhabitants.

Postal code: 3640
Population: 5,692 inhabitants (2021 figures)
Population density: 24.9 inhabitants per km²
District: Viseu
Municipal holiday: May 3rd
Foundation of the municipality (or charter): 1124
No. of parishes: 13
Parish patron: Nossa Senhora de ao Pé da Cruz


25 Oct 2024

Número Nacional de Emergência: 112

Bombeiros – Linha Verde: 800 202 425

Câmara Municipal de Sernancelhe
Rua Doutor Oliveira Serrão | 3640-240 Sernancelhe | GPS. 40.897345, -7.495905 | T. +351 254 598 300 | |

Loja Interativa de Turismo
Rua Doutor Oliveira Serrão | 3640-240 Sernancelhe | GPS. T. +40.898016, -7.495874 351 254 598 300 |

Centro de Saúde de Sernancelhe
Avenida das Tílias 37 | 3640-211 Sernancelhe | GPS. 40.897610, -7.489954 | T. +351 254 550 000 |

Guarda Nacional Republicana – Posto Territorial de Sernancelhe
Largo do Município 40 | 3640-219 Sernancelhe | GPS. 40.899886, -7.495287 | T. +351 254 559 174 | |

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