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Portugal is for sure an amazing destination for holidays. While most travellers focus on Lisbon, Porto and Faro, you should definitely discover other places. Some of them are true wonders of nature and architecture. Here is one of the hidden gems of Portugal treasures: SISTELO.

Located in the north of Portugal, in Arcos de Valdevez municipality, this village is one of the oldest in the Alto-Minho. It is a true hidden gem enclosed in a valley at the entrance to Peneda Geres Park. Sistelo is a great example of Man’s ability to adapt to the singularities and adversities of nature. He can transform his environment in favour of his needs and still creating a picture of rare beauty. In Sistelo, we can see amazing scenery thanks to thousands of terraces.


When walking around Sistelo, you can feel a warm welcome from this hidden city. The Portuguese government supported by local actions are maintaining the place as close as possible to its original layout. Time stops and you get into a traditional, authentic journey towards amazing nature and human ingenuity. The sun warms the granite stones and the white walls and while you walk in the small stone paved streets you discover many details in the typical mountain Portuguese architecture.

In Sistelo you can find a few interesting buildings and places. From the castle to the church, all of them deserves a visit. The church is surrounded by green meadows, placing it in a very special place. It is interesting to know that the Order of Malta detained important assets in this area. This is why the city coat of arms contain the Maltese Cross.


While visiting Sistelo, there is something you definitely need to do it to taste the local gastronomy. There are a couple of restaurants proposing the famous Cachena steak. This is something you need to taste (obviously you need to be a meat lover). Cachena cattle is a triple-purpose breed from Portugal and Galicia, Spain. In Portugal, there is also the similar but larger cattle breed known by the name, Barrosão or Barrosã. Cachena and Barrosã are sometimes considered variants of the same race. It is a quite small cattle, used to mountain life. In the past, it almost disappeared but with the help of government financial help, certain farmers decided to maintain this breed alive and cherish as a national treasure.


One of the best places to taste the Cachena steak in a very traditional way is the restaurant called “Tasquinha Ti’Melia“. By booking a table in this place, you will experience an amazing moment at the heart of Sistelo. The owners are passionate about their cooking. You will eat probably one of the best meat ever. They have several traditional Portuguese dishes. You can experience a good menu from what the north of Portugal has to offer.

The first thing that will strike you is the restaurant itself. The Tasquinha Ti’Melia has captured the traditional scenery of an old-time traditional restaurant. Tasquinha comes from the short name of Tasco, which is a traditional word for bar (where you can drink and eat food as well). Ti’Mélia is a contraction of two word: Tia (tante) and Amelia (female name).


During our experience in this amazing restaurant, we did not hesitate to taste great local specialities. They have their own smoked sausage, served with olives and a good bottle of wine. Then, we continued the meal with the famous Cachena meat, served with a sort of rice risotto style contained in a black traditional pan.


In case you wish to try if you visit Sistelo, please find here all the elements to book a great table with friends and family. You better call first and book your table as it is a small yet very friendly and authentic place.

Tasquinha de Ti’Mélia
Rua Visconde de Sistelo
4970-645 Sistelo – Portugal
Tel: +351.967.516.796

If you plan to visit Portugal, you definitely need to discover Sistelo. It is an amazing city in the north of Portugal. Very often it is called the “Portuguese Tibet” because of the landscape. Portugal has amazing places to be discovered as true destinations. You will not be disappointed

Jose Amorim
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