In Serra da Estrela, in the heart of central Portugal, lies the tiny village of Cabeça. Perfect scenery, terraced fields and a silence that is intermittently broken by flocks of sheep herded by local Estrela dogs surround its 200 inhabitants. Home to the highest mountain and the only place in Portugal to ski, residents of Cabeça gather together each year to create a Christmas festival…with one unique twist. This Christmas Village (Aldeia Natal) is completely sustainable. All decorations are eco-designed with materials collected from nature’s bio-diversity – the leaves, branches, logs, and moss are fashioned into holiday decorations. The splashes of red, so indicative of Christmas, are upcycled from textile industries within the region.
Wander the picturesque streets of the village, where natural wreaths cover the facades, and a visit to the Christmas market will ensure finding the perfect tree for your home and a plethora of stocking stuffers among the handmade gifts and ornaments. The spirit of Christmas continues with cooking workshops and walks through the village. And, because you are in the middle of the Estrela, there are certain Christmas delicacies that you are sure to find, those that cannot be missed at the table of a Portuguese family – the cheeses, jams, nuts, and chocolates which all ooze with coveted mountain flavors.
Attracting close to 15,000 visitors last year to this small, sustainable Aldeia Natal, these kind-hearted, ethical residents are once again opening their village and the doors of their homes to visitors from December 16th through January 1st.
All the homes and public buildings are lit with LED lighting, an initiative to encourage the citizens to be more aware of environmental and sustainability concerns. A muse-worthy village indeed…
For more information please visit Portugal Confidential.