(LEADER Cooperation project)



The “Villages of Portugal/Aldeias de Portugal” are an interactive and collaborative network of villages, based on sharing and using the methodology and principles of the LEADER approach for the co-construction of a development and valorization project for each village, based on its resources and potential and in the involvement of the community and local actors, led by the Local Action Group in each area with the support of ATA – Associção de Turismo de Aldeia, a national association dedicated to capacity building marketing and promotion and dissemination of local endogenous resources.

Presentation of the project

The project’s intervention area is Mainland Portugal and its objective is to enhance the cultural heritage of rural areas, reinforcing the demographic fabric of the most isolated regions. In this way, it is possible to promote social inclusion and alleviate poverty in these territories. Promoting its villages and empowering its community, in order to consolidate the “Aldeias de Portugal” network, expanding its representation at national level and the expected social impact.

With the active participation of 16 Local Action Groups, the project was able to classify 61 villages, providing significant improvements in the quality of life and the preservation of rural traditions in Portugal. This achievement is the result of the promotion and conservation of rural heritage, using memory and local identity as essential resources.

Community involvement is crucial to success, and each local stakeholder must contribute with their work, thus ensuring the continuity and success of each village project. The importance of exploring the deep emotional bond between inhabitants and their village is also highlighted, using this bond as a driver for local development. Each local person/organisation personal investment not only ensures the continuity of the project, but also strengthens the feeling of belonging, essential for the sustainable defence and promotion of each village.

Emblematic character of the project

The Network Villages of Portugal is a driver of aggregation and valorization of sustainable dynamics that aim at the development of the territory, through the dynamization of its endogenous resources and assets that characterize its identity.

1.Cultural Preservation: Many villages have significant cultural and historical value. Preserving these aspects not only maintains local identity, but can also attract cultural tourism.

2.Local Economic Development: Investing in infrastructure, promoting rural tourism and supporting local economic activities in villages generates jobs and stimulates economic growth in rural areas.

3.Environmental Sustainability: Villages, often located in natural environments, benefit from strategies that aim to balance economic development with environmental conservation.

4.Social Inclusion: Combat rural depopulation, promoting social inclusion and providing opportunities for rural communities.

5.Increased Quality of Life: By investing in local services, such as education, health and leisure, villages can improve the quality of life of their inhabitants and attract the return of “children of the land”.

In summary, the “Villages of Portugal” project and network play a crucial role in the LEADER supported Local Development Strategy of each LAG partner, as they represent strategic locations in their areas to drive sustainable economic development, preserve culture and promote quality of life in rural areas, promoting social inclusion and combating poverty in these territories.

The most emblematic activities of the Aldeias de Portugal are registered on the social networks:


Some villages already have their own social networks, such as:




Activities in several villages include remembering/reactivating community traditions related to agrifood heritage, creation of new events to promote local products, local participator assemblies to decide on future events of the project or training the community to welcome visitors with the initiative “Have lunch and dinner with us”:




ADRITEM – Associação de Desenvolvimento Regional Integrado das Terras de Santa Maria (leading a consortium of 16 Local Action Groups)

LAG ADRITEM (Associação de Desenvolvimento Regional Integrado das Terras de Santa Maria)