Twenty-one kilometres southwest of Vila Flôr – follow signs initially for Carrazeda de Ansiães – lie the intriguing ruins of an abandoned, medieval walled town. It’s barely recognizable as such until you’re almost upon it, winding up the 900m-high hillside to a craggy outcrop signposted simply as Castelo de Ansiães. You park by the outer gateway and make your way up a stone track, flanked by bramble-covered ruins, to a twelfth-century chapel with a carved Romanesque doorway. Beyond is the main gate and a complete circuit of partially ruined walls, which provides a breezy walk with beautiful views – otherwise, all that remains are fallen boulders and broken stones. It’s hard to believe that five different kings, over a period of 500 years, made this their strategic base in the north – the last inhabitants of old Ansiães left in the mid-eighteenth century, when the nearby new town of Carrazeda de Ansiães was established.

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