Set on the periphery of the beautiful Peneda-Gerês National Park in Portugal is the traditional village of Soajo. Its quaint houses and small church create a charming picture, but it is best known for its impressive espigueiros: granite granaries built above the ground.
Espigueiros means “spikes,” and these granaries are supported on granite slabs from the Peneda mountains. They were built off the ground to protect food crops from rats and other rodents, and were used by the whole community.
The oldest espigueiros date back to 1782, and the whole cluster was constructed between the 18th and 19th centuries. Of the 24 that remain today, some are still used today to store grain, especially corn.
You can also find these typical granaries in the village of Lindoso, just 6 miles (10 kilometers) from Soajo. There are more than 50, still used today to store grain gathered by the locals.
Know Before You Go
From Porto Airport: Take the motorway A3 to Braga/Valença. After 47 miles (77 km) leave the motorway in the exit signposted Arcos de Valdevez. After paying the toll, follow the IC28, for 9 miles (15km) and exit to Arcos de Valdevez. On the entrance of the town you will find a round about signed posted “Soajo/Mezio/PNPG”. Follow the signs to “Soajo/Mezio”. After 1.8 miles (3km) turn right in direction to “Soajo/Mezio” and continue for 11 miles (18km) until the village of Soajo.
Watch out for cows, wild horses and dogs on the road, since it's a winding road drive carefully.