S. Pedro do Sul, at the heart of Lafões valley is surrounded by Arada and S. Macário Mountains – both of them integrated in Gralheira Mountain range. Luxuriant green landscapes crossed by crystal-clear river streams with hidden villages in the valleys. Located at an idyllic place, 14 km away from S. Pedro do Sul and next to Santa Cruz da Trapa, you will find the ancient and noble Monastery of São Cristóvão de Lafões.Isolated at the top of Arada Mountain and near Barosa river, the Convent of São Cristóvão de Lafões pays a tribute to the saint São Bento and the place of his first spiritual retreat. He is the patron saint of this convent complex, for he is the protector of the “lonely wanderers”.
Frei João Cerita was a prior and an abbot under the kingdom of D. Afonso Henriques, when the convent adopts the rule of São Bento. This convent was integrated in the Cister Order around the year 1161.
Along with other Cistercian monasteries, the Monastery if São Cristóvão de Lafões has experienced moments of greatness, namely in the Middle Ages; in the 17th century when it was rebuilt and when it was given the title Royal Monastery of S. Cristóvão de Lafões by the generous King D. João V. But there were also moments of decay, especially under the ruining ruling of the secular abbots.
The landscape is magical, filled with local species, such as oak trees, laurels, chestnut trees, hazelnut trees and the genius landmark of the Cistercian monks: the royal waters’ aqueduct, built to bring water to the monastery.