Castelo Branco


Castelo Branco

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Castelo Branco

Castelo Branco

In the nation’s Centro region, Castelo Branco district, the country’s fourth-largest, contains 11 municipalities across 160 parishes. Its 225,000, or so, population inhabit 6,675 km2 (2,577 sq mi), giving it a comfortable density of 34 people per km2 (88/sq mi). From here came Pedro Álvares Cabral, the sailor who ‘discovered’ what we call Brazil, then known as the land of Vera Cruz.

Expect hot summers, in fact, some of the country’s highest temperatures have been recorded in this region, courtesy of the Mediterranean climate that serves up fairly mild winters, albeit with cool nights. Frost is rare, though not usually severe and the average annual hours of sunshine are close to a pleasing 2,900 hours. Factor in variations of altitude and the solarisation effect on the landmass when assessing climate.  

District capital city Castelo Branco, literally ‘white castle’, at an altitude of 385 meters, has itself over 56,000 inhabitants and is one of the largest municipalities by area, and most populated in Portugal. Surrounded by the municipalities of Fundão, Idanha-a-Nova, Vila Velha de Ródão, Proença-a-Nova, Oleiros and Spain, Castelo Branco is known for one of Portugal’s best-loved baroque gardens, Jardim do Paço Episcopal (Garden of the Episcopal Palace). The District capital has a railway station located on the Beira Baixa Railway Line that connects to Guarda, Fundão, Covilhã, and places further afield like Abrantes, Entroncamento and Lisbon. You can connect to and from the country's capital in less than three hours, by fast train, from here. Some journeys here will treat you to impressive Tagus River bridge crossings, and scenic stretches with reservoirs and forests for your vista. In its more populated area, the district is served by coaches and local bus services too. Major roads are scarce and the nearest Portuguese airports are Lisbon and Porto, both significant though not unpleasant journeys. Think ‘remote’ when it comes to road infrastructure!

In terms of industry and commerce, the district has refrigeration manufacturers Centauro who have made Castelo Branco home. So too the automobile industry’s Delphi Packard, as has the Portuguese subsidiary of Danone, which processes dairy products for the entire Iberian Peninsula. In Covilhã, Portuguese fruit processing company Frulact has significant premises. The city also boasts the Parkurbis science park, a centre of innovation; the city is also the site of Portugal Telecom’s 30-petabyte data centre, one of the largest in Europe. ‘Town of wool and snow’, Covilhã, is a main urban centre of this, the historical Beira Interior region that is loved by hikers, campers, skiers and climbers at the foot of the Serra da Estrela mountains, mainland Portugal’s highest. At higher altitude, you’ll find the Vodafone Ski Resort, Portugal’s only skiing facility of this kind, just 20 km (12  miles) away from Covilhã city centre and in Belmonte you will find a golf course. The Quinta da Bica Golf Academy.

Castelo Branco is home to the Instituto Politécnico de Castelo Branco, and Covilhã the backdrop for state-run university, Universidade da Beira Interior (UBI). Both cities have an attractive array of educational and medical facilities; Covilhã’s extensive school provision will be of particular interest to parents with children of any and all ages. Castelo Branco and Covilhã have good forum-style shopping facilities with shops, food courts and cinemas, and prospective settlers with an interest in culture will not be disappointed by the regional commitment to the arts. The district’s municipalities of Fundão, with its renowned soil fertility, notable commitment to inward investment and IMAGO film festival, and Penamacor, with its steadily increasing attraction to good life seeking ex-pats, should not be overlooked by potential settlers.

Idanha-a-Nova has hosted the massive biannual Boom Festival since 2002, Oleiros is famous for its immense 54-megawatt wind farm and the Vila de Rei Milriça peak offers a spectacular panoramic view and Geodesic dome museum. Food fans will want to try the eponymous Castelo Branco cheese and maybe even roast kid or bucho recheado (stuffed pig's stomach).

Whatever your requirements, keep Castelo in your mind as one of Portugal’s quieter territories - the often overlooked transition from the North’s cold, rocky slopes to Alentejo’s flatter, idyllic landscape.

Property is diverse and plentiful here with a 3 bedroom apartment costing on average around € 1000 per square metre to purchase. Small, old-style village houses are often seen around € 30,000 and more modern houses usually under € 200,000. 

Castelo Branco is one to watch and only let down by its proximity to the airports.

For help with EU Legislation regarding all aspects of living and working within the EU, please use the links below.

EU Help in Your Own Language
EU Help and Advice: Doing Business
EU Help and Advice: Life and Travel

Castelo Branco from Facebook

Castelo Branco Council (Câmara)

If you are planning a trip to view properties in this District and need help or guidance, get in touch Contact us and we will put you in touch with a property expert that speaks your language. 

For a detailed look at the area topography please click here

If you are planning a trip to view properties in this District and need help or guidance, get in touch Contact us and we will put you in touch with a property expert that speaks your language. 

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This district is sponsored by our Legal Partner, our Foreign Exchange Partner and our Official Food Partner.

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Municipalities Wikipedia/Additional Photos

Castelo Branco
Vila de Rei
Vila Velha de Ródão
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