Baião is located on mountainous terrain (Marão and Aboboreira mountains, the latter unusually rich in archaeological finds). The southern boundary of the council is the Douro River itself, in a section enlarged into a reservoir by the Carrapatelo Dam, which adds to its potential for water sports, fishing and riparian leisure activities.
The scenery varies from the mountainous areas to the slopes and riverside areas. The hilltops offer an unencumbered view of the surrounding area, but it is only suitable for use as grazing land and little else. On the contrary, in the nooks and crannies of the slopes of the Douro, the flora is luxurious: maize in abundance, vines, thick woods and, near the riverbank, orange groves.
Eça de Queirós describes this exuberance of nature in The City and the Mountains. This novel, which, in part, takes place in the village of Tormes, in reality, Santa Cruz do Douro, is in fact one of the council’s cultural references. The House of Tormes is still there, owned by the family, now home to the foundation bearing the writer’s name and abounds in objects recalling his presence.The village of Baião is a bright and cheerful place, which comes to life on feast days (such Saint Bartholomew’s, on 23 and 24 August) and during fairs, taking place every fortnight, where the act of buying and selling is done with the same casualness and cunning of times past. Deals are often sealed with a glass of good "vinho verde", a local product.It is the mountains that provide the raw materials for the principal dish of the Baião gastronomy: lamb, which, preferably, is served roasted, with rice and seasoning which is kept secret. To top off the meal,a "biscoito da Teixeira" (a kind of biscuit), a piece of "bolo da prima" (cake) or "cavacas" (hard glazed biscuits). It is the rural lifestyle of the council that, pushing people towards self-sufficiency, favours the existence of handicrafts, which are among the richest in the region. In Gestaçô, they make exquisite walking canes, many of which with decorative handles. Other products of the local handicrafts industry still showing a reasonable degree of vitality is the basketware, tinware, straw hats and elegant wool blankets.