When I say that Kevin researched and planned our road trip with Tyler, I don’t mean that lightly. As soon as Tyler booked his tickets to visit, the research began. And not just some simple google searches of ‘best sights in Portugal’. If Kevin has ever helped you with anything, you know that his research-style is all-in and he stops at nothing to get the best possible outcome. Nothing exemplifies this more than our stop off in Piodao.
A few weeks before the trip, Kevin showed me a photo of a place that looked amazing, and told me that it was a must-do stop. When I convinced him to shorten the road trip from 6 days to 3, Piodao was one of those places that was a must-see, not to be compromised. And he was so, so right.
After our morning at the Knights Templar’s Convent of Christ in Tomar, we got back into the truck and embarked on what I can honestly say is the wildest, most breathtaking and most nerve-racking road trip of my life. Before I get into too many road trip details, let’s talk about why Piodao is special and worth seeing.
Piodao, known as the “nativity village” is a small collection of stone buildings, tucked into a mountain side. Unlike most of the places we’ve visited on this trip, Piodao, due to its remote geographic location, was almost entirely disconnected from Portuguese history. How disconnected? This village didn’t have electricity until the 1970s. This geographic isolation is what makes Piodao so unique – because they were limited to local resources, which is reflected in the architecture of the town itself, their traditions were well-preserved over the years, due to a lack of outside influences. Entering Piodao, picturesquely placed in between 2 hills in a mountain range, feels like entering a fairy tale. As you stand on the hillside, you can even hear the echo of jingling bells from the goat herds. My only regret of this entire trip is that we didn’t stay longer.
Now, about that road trip. It was long and a bit harrowing. And as the trip went on, we felt increasingly alone. There were long stretches (on this 2.5 hour drive) without seeing other people and cars, though we did see a herd of goats crossing the road. We climbed up into the mountaintops, driving along winding roads, on the edge of cliffs, surrounded by clouds. I was both in awe of the view and in awe of Kevin’s patience & composure while navigating these roads. There’s absolutely no way that a bus could have made this journey.
Visiting Piodao was a truly surreal and magical experience. I recommend it very much. And beyond being beautiful, the town itself offers great food and friendly people. Check out our many photos below!