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Sabrosa - Portugal (5382694334).jpg
Cais do Ferrão - Sabrosa - APDL - foto 11.jpg
Castro de Sabrosa - 47.jpg
Desafio Volta ao Mundo - Sabrosa - Portugal (1454211575).jpg
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Casa dos Barros - Sabrosa - Portugal (7843646650).jpg
Flag of Sabrosa
Coat of arms of Sabrosa
Coat of arms
Country  Portugal
Region Norte
Intermunic. comm. Douro
District Vila Real
Parishes 12
 • Total 156.92 km2 (60.59 sq mi)
544 m (1,785 ft)
 • Total 6,361
 • Density 40.537/km2 (104.989/sq mi)
Time zone WET/WEST (UTC+0/+1)
Postal code
Area code 259

Sabrosa is a municipality in the district of Vila Real in northern Portugal. The population in 2011 was 6,361, in an area of 156.92 km².


Estátua de Fernão Magalhães - Sabrosa
Statue of Ferdinand Magellan, born in the town around 1480

Although the municipality was established on 6 November 1945, the history of the region extends back to vestiges from different tribes and groups that lived in area, remoting to the pre-historic period. During this period ancient Neolithic tribes constructed dolmen funerary structures, such as the Mamoa 1 de Madorras in the Serra da Padrela (Arcã), a monumental, yet well-preserved tomb.

Also, the Castro culture of the Iron Age resulted in many of these stone fortifications scattered throughout the municipality; castros like the Castro of Sancha, Castelo dos Mouros or Castro de São Domingos de Provesende, are located in sights of good visibility and natural defences, reinforced by the construction of moats and walls. The Castro of Sabrosa was actually adopted by the Romans, who left behind coins and a stone inscription dedicated to Jupiter. A Luso-Roman cemetery was also discovered in the parish of Provesende (in Quinta da Relva), and classified as a patrimony of public interest, but it was destroyed in the 1950s when the land was re-purposed for vineyards.

The majority of the settlements in Sabrosa date back to the Middle Ages, and were formalized in forals bestowed by hereditary heirs of Afonso I of Portugal. Many of these settlements were actually established prior to 1143 (the establishment of the Kingdom of Portugal), such as Provesende, and have scattered paleo-Christian structures from this period, as in the cases of Arcã, Vilar de Celas, Paredes, Provesende and Donelo.

After the 15th century, records from the region began to become more detailed, identifying the residence of noblemen in the region, including the House of Pereira, where Ferdinand Magellan (Portuguese: Fernão Magalhães) was born. The life of these families were associated with the construction family estates distributed throughout the municipality. The prosperity of the region was due in part to the growth of Demarcated Region of the Douro, and through the exploitation by the Companhia Geral da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro, which was established by the Marquess of Pombal in 1756. By establishing a special wine region designation for the Douro region, he elevated the importance of the area, creating incentives to improve the production of Douro wines and improve quality exports. With the exception of Parada do Pinhão, São Lourenço de Ribapinhão and Torre do Pinhão all the parishes of Sabrosa fell within the demarcated region.

On 14 December 2001, UNESCO integrated the Alto Douro Vinhateiro on their list of World Heritage sites.


Provesende 1
The landscape in the civil parish of Provesende
Population of
the Municipality of Sabrosa
(1849 - 2004)
Year Pop. ±%
1849 5,412 —    
1900 14,038 +159.4%
1930 12,576 −10.4%
1960 12,903 +2.6%
1981 9,050 −29.9%
1991 7,478 −17.4%
2001 7,032 −6.0%
2011 6,361 −9.5%

The municipality of Sabrosa, with an area of approximately 180 km², is located in the district of Vila Real, within the Tourist Region of the Serra do Marão. It is delimited in the north by the municipalities of Vila Pouca and Murça, in the east by Alijó, the west by Vila Real and Peso da Régua, and south by Douro River. Its configuration is reminiscent of an elongated tear-drop, oriented north-south.

Sabrosa is a municipality with a geology that has been shaped by ancient forces: in the north, the area is granitic, covered in pines and extraction of aggregates; while the southern portion of the municipality is dominated by schists, promoting the feasibility of vineyards.

Administratively, the municipality is divided into 12 civil parishes (freguesias):

  • Celeirós
  • Covas do Douro
  • Gouvinhas
  • Parada de Pinhão
  • Paços
  • Provesende, Gouvães do Douro e São Cristóvão do Douro
  • Sabrosa
  • São Lourenço de Ribapinhão
  • São Martinho de Antas e Paradela de Guiães
  • Souto Maior
  • Torre do Pinhão
  • Vilarinho de São Romão


The municipality is known for its embroidery, tanneries, basket-weaving, carpentry and cheesemaking.

Sabrosa, which falls in the Trás-os-Montes culture, has many examples of traditional gastronomy, which includes oven-brazed goat in rice (Portuguese: Cabrito assado com arroz de forno), the Cozido à portuguesa, the bola de carne (English: ball of meat), the typical embutidos, pão-de-ló, cavacas altas and cavaquinhas, in addition to the rich tradition of Douro and Porto wines.

Notable citizens

  • Ferdinand Magellan (c. 1480 – 27 April 1521) was an explorer; in the service of Charles I of Spain, his 1519–1522 expedition became the first to sail from the Atlantic Ocean into and across the Pacific Ocean, before being killed in the Battle of Mactan in the Philippines;
  • Mariana Coelho (10 September 1857 - 29 November 1954), essayist and poet, and a feminist pioneer in Brazil;
  • Adolfo Correia Rocha, known as Miguel Torga, (São Martinho de Anta, 12 August 1907 – Coimbra, 17 January 1995), a poet, dramatist, essayist, whose works have been translated into various languages;
  • José Alberto Loureiro dos Santos (2 September 1936 - ), a military General and writer responsible for writing Apontamentos de História para Militares (1979); Forças Armadas, Defesa Nacional e Poder Politico (1980), Incursões no Domínio da Estratégia (1987) and Abordagem Estratégica da Guerra da Independência(1986), among others;
  • Manuel Herminío Monteiro (Parada de Pinhão, 10 September 1952 - Lisbon, 3 June 2001), a poet, businessman and editor of Assírio & Alvim;
  • Joaquim Pinheiro de Azevedo Leite Pereira (Provesende, 9 February 1829 — Provesende, 17 January 1918), 10th Master of the Casa do Santo, was a Douro winemaker, who saved the vineyards of the region from the phylloxera disease that destroyed the vineyards of the region;
  • Jaime Alberto Gonçalves das Neves (São Martinho de Anta; 24 March 1936 - Lisbon, 27 January 2013), a colonel and Grand Official in the Order of the Tower and Sword, for his moderating contributions during the Carnation Revolution, and for the return to military normalcy after the events;
  • Raul Maria Pereira (Covas do Douro, June 1877 - Lima, Peru, 13 January 1933), a counsel and painter;
  • José Augusto Aires Torres (Parada do Pinhão, 18 May 1893 - Porto, 10 February 1979), a colonial soldier, actor, poet, military officer during the first and second World Wars, and agitator involved in attempted coups against the Estado Novo regime of António de Oliveira Salazar;

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