We are in a typical Douro landscape, always beautiful and unexpected at each rise of the earth. There are roads that are one continuous belvedere, such as the one that descends from Alijó to Pinhão. The Alijó and Favaios plateau zone itself, covered in vineyards, is of rare beauty. Everywhere you go, you see that wine is the sap of the region. Alijó produces everything: table wines, fine wines, muscatels, even sparkling wine. And wine is also the subject of a remarkable series of hand-painted tiles in the Pinhão railway station. The council was first populated in pre-historic times, as is proven by such megalithic monuments as the Fonte Coberta chamber tomb, the "castros" and rupestrian paintings (Pala Pinta and Pegarinhos). The Romans passed through here and left their mark, especially bridges (Cheires, Sanfins do Douro and Carlão). Well after the nation was founded, Alijó was granted royal charters by King Sancho II, Afonso II and Manuel I. A pillory (in Portugal, stone columns) reminds us of medieval privileges. São Mamede de Ribatua was also a settlement of some note: it was granted a charter and proudly exhibits its "cage" pillory (stone column pillory in which the column head is a cage-like structure).

In the 18th century, with the increase in economic activity made possible through the creation by the Marquis of Pombal of a demarcated wine region, the region underwent a certain period of prosperity, clearly visible in the existence of manor houses in many villages and in the reconstruction of old churches dating from the Middle Ages.The grassroots culture has great traditions in the council. The highland gastronomy is strong and spicy and is washed down with its generous list of wines. Folklore groups maintain ties with old music and dance forms. The festivities and pilgrimages preserve the flavour of the past in which they were events not only of the utmost religious, but also economic and social importance. Of particular interest are the pilgrimages of Our Lady of Perafita, in the extreme north, whose main attraction is a lovely baroque chapel where a vast collection of ex-votos is kept; and the pilgrimage to the chapel of Our Lady of Pity, perched on a vantage point overlooking the town of Sanfins do Douro, which takes place on the second Sunday in August with a grandiose competition of pilgrims vying, for the best price, for the honour of carrying the image of Our Lady on a raised platform in the procession.