In certain aspects, the council reminds us of Trás-os-Montes but in truth, it is a corridor leading to the green land of the Minho: see the exceptionally fertile Cabeceiras Valley, almost 20 kilometres long and 8 kilometres wide. The principal production is "vinho verde", but the maize fields, olive trees and chestnut trees play an important part as does livestock breeding, particularly cowherds and goatherds. This aristocratic nook abounds in estate houses, bearing armorial insignia and sometimes built with battlements, making them look like fortresses. These are manors of dignified style, some covered in ivy or surrounded by camellia gardens. Cabeceiras de Basto is a very old town, having been granted a royal charter by King Manuel I. The region was first inhabited in pre-historic times, from which some "castros" and chamber tombs have survived. Another monument bears witness to pre-Roman times: a granite sculpture loosely representing a warrior with his round shield, located in the town centre. The townspeople, who love to fantasize, call it "O Basto" (The Statue) and believe it to represent the town’s founder.
The greatest monument in the council is the Monastery of Refojos, located in the very centre of the town. It is believed to have been founded in the 12th century by Benedictine monks, but it was radically transformed in the 17th century, giving it the imposing size it currently has. The village of Arco de Baúlhe, which was the terminus of the Tâmega Railway, still conserves, in what was once the railway station, an interesting Railway Museum.
Ethnographic events have maintained their vitality. The fairs, festivities and pilgrimages have something in common with their Minho counterparts: the joy, religious fervour and hospitality but also a thirst for vengeance. This has to do with the feast day of Saint Bartholomew, on 24 August, in Cavez parish, famous for its curing of the possessed and where traditionally brawls took place between inhabitants from the Minho and Trás-os-Montes, which the famous bridge over the Tâmega divided. In Bucos parish, very secluded and emblematic, a school for learning the "jogo do pau" (Literally "stick game" – kind of Portuguese kendo) subsists, one of the most traditional sports of the Basto people. In the same parish, fine handmade woollens can still be found (blankets, socks, hooded capes, etc.).