.The council shares the features of the Minho, namely the fresh green landscapes and the prevalence of "vinho verde" vineyards, up to a height of 400 metres. But it also presents features typical of the Trás-os-Montes mountains. Mount Farinha, 990 metres high, where the Chapel of Our Lady of the Grace is located, is one of the most surprising belvederes in the entire province. The steep rise is used for sporting events. One of the most gruelling stages in the Rally of Portugal and the Tour of Portugal (cycling) takes place there. The roadconnecting Vila Real to Mondim de Basto, namely from the place called Alto de Velão, is one of the most panoramic in Trás-os-Montes, providing views of a magnificent amplitude, where spots of forests alternate with bare, rock outcrops and the waterways, which have carved out deep valleys where rustic villages nestle. The eastern zone of the Council forms part of the Alvão Nature Reserve, an area classified as being of great scenic, ecological and ethnographic interest. Certain aspects linked to rural life deserve specialmention. One of them is handicrafts, remarkably authentic, represented by the weaving of linen and tow, rugs, clogs, baskets, cooperage and masonry. Another is the folk music, interpreted by folklore groups and certain instrumental groups known as the "tunas" (traditionally, troupes of students) and groups playing the "cavaquinho" (a kind of small mandolin). Another is the gastronomy. Strong dishes are served in Mondim de Basto, such as kid and roast veal, and the favourite accompaniment is oven-baked rice. The most

popular desserts are "pão-de-ló" (sponge cake), "cavacas" (hard glazed biscuits) and "rosquilhos" (kind of glazed doughnut). A good "vinho verde" accompanies all this to perfection. Virtually every village has its feast day; but the Corpus Dei Procession, a solemn event of mediaeval inspiration, and the Council Celebrations in July deserve special mention. Small towns such as Atei, Bilhó, Campanhó, Ermelo and Vilar de Ferreiros all provide more than enough reasons (architecture, ethnography, nature) to justify a visit.