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The wild and remote highlands of the Serra do Barroso mountains, in the northeast of Portugal, encompass the county of Boticas, where bucolic sceneries seem to depict an austere rural life characterized by ancient customs and traditions kept to this day.

Such is the case of the vinho dos mortos (wine of the dead), a beverage which owes this original name to a piece of history: in 1809, the local inhabitants buried their wine to keep it from falling into the hands of the invading French. When Napoleon's army was gone, they found the wine had improved; the bottles were termed «dead» and the practice of burying them for about two years still continues.

Boticas is also celebrated for its traditional breed of oxen (barrosã) which produces a much appreciated veal. Otherwise, animal life in the region is varied, with boars, wolves, foxes, badgers, squirrels, eagles and owls found on the slopes and plains, besides game such as partridges, quails, hares and wild rabbits.

The landscape is split by rivers and streams, which besides supporting the local agriculture also attract many fishing and water-sports enthusiasts (the local trouts and eels are famous and abundant). The importance of water to the county is also obvious at Carvalhelhos, source of one of the most popular bottled mineral waters.

The local gastronomy naturally includes excellent veal and a famous recipe of trouts stuffed with smoked ham, but also kid and pork specialities.

Old communitarian practices, such as the forno do povo (people's oven), where villagers bake their bread in common, or the inter-villages chegas dos bois (ox-fights) are still a wonder to city-bred visitors.

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