The region of Beira Alta, officially a province until 1976, is bordered in the north by the regions of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro; Douro Litoral in the north east; Beira litoral in the west and south west; and Beira Baixa in the south, and a border with Spain, in the east. It covers something like 8500 square km.
This is an area of plains, at medium altitude, split by rivers and valleys and surrounded by mountains ( Estrela, Montemuro, S.Macário, Gralheira, Caramulo and Buçaco), with quite a few micro climates. The winters are sometimes quite harsh.
The main industries of this region are wool, dairy, and food production.
Beira Alta’s main traditional dishes are the Queijo da Serra da Estrela, a very strong flavoured cheese, black puddings (morcelas) and spicey flour sausages (farinheiras); duck and rice bake, roasted young goat and calf; chestnuts, prepared and served in a variety of ways, the very famous Dão wine and cavacas (small cakes).
This is a wealthy area, with many sumptuous manor houses and estates, and it is surpassed only by Minho.
Many distinguished individuals from Beira Alta have contributed to the growth and wealth of the country in all areas of human activity, be it intelectual, economic, political, etc, and Aquilino Ribeiro, Costa Cabral, Gabriel Fonseca and Leite de Vasconcelos, are some examples.