These Houses in Portugal Are Built Into Giant Boulders

Typical granite house in Monsanto village.
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What do you do when you find the perfect place to build your home but there’s a giant boulder in the way? If you were a resident of the ancient village of Monsanto, you would’ve gone ahead with your plans, transforming the boulder into a wall, floor, or roof. In fact, practically the entire Portuguese village of Monsanto is built around giant boulders — with the giant granite rocks often acting as the base for the man-made structures.

Rooftops of old stone houses with rocks and alley among them in a sunny day at Monsanto.
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This creative, nature-assisted building style has made Monsanto unique. The town was dubbed the “Most Portuguese Town in Portugal” in 1938 and was listed as one of 12 official Historical Villages in 1995. Today, it’s considered to be a living museum meaning it will remain as-is to retain its history and one-of-a-kind building style.

The village itself hangs off a mountain top with stunning views of the Portuguese countryside. At the top of the mountain rests the remains of a Knights Templar castle that was partially destroyed in the 19th century.

House built around big rock, historic village Monsanto, Portugal
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Monsanto is around three hours from Lisbon and Porto by car. Travelers to the town can get a feel for the village’s unique structure and history by wandering through the area on the Rota dos Barrocais (Boulder Route) trail. But of course, that's not all there is to see in Portugal. In fact, there's a whole lot to see in the stunning European nation.

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