Ponte da Misarela (Misalera Bridge) – Montalegre, Portugal - Atlas Obscura

Ponte da Misarela (Misalera Bridge)

Montalegre, Portugal

Local lore says the devil built this beautiful medieval bridge to help a fleeing bandit. 


A medieval stone bridge arcs above the Rio Rabagão in northern Portugal. Supposedly, the devil himself conjured up the structure. He was, after all, a rather nifty builder (at least according to medieval legends).

According to local lore, a criminal was in dire need of a way to cross the river while fleeing the nearby village. He summoned the devil, who kindly said he’d help the man—for the small price of his soul, of course. The man agreed, and the devil created a temporary bridge that vanished before those pursuing the convict could cross as well.

Supposedly, the bandit felt so remorseful he later sought out a priest to repent. A virtuous priest took pity on the man and used his Rosary and a bit of holy water to expel the devil and turn the bridge into a permanent structure.

Modern visitors to the Misarela Bridge won’t have to worry about it vanishing beneath their feet. The sturdy stones allow anyone to walk (or flee, if they must) across the river. In fact, in the early 19th century, French troops did use the bridge to flee from British forces during the Peninsular War.

While you’re there, be sure to take in the views of the surrounding nature. Trees and plants fill the space, their verdant cover creeping down the hillside until it meets the water and rocks. After a wet spell, you’ll likely catch a waterfall cascading over the rocks near the bridge. In the summer, people can take a dip in the river below.

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