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Portalegre is the capital city of the district with the least population in Portugal, located in the heart of Serra de São Mamede Natural Park, in the Alentejo region and the Alto Alentejo sub-region. It is a city rich in cultural heritage, namely with handicrafts, costumes, gastronomy, folklore, singing, and traditional dances. Portalegre attracts tourism mainly through gastronomy and food products, namely with wines, olive oils, cheeses, sausages, and conventual sweets. The Portalegre region is known for its gastronomy, agricultural fields, cork production, vineyards, handicrafts, cattle, cheeses, conventual sweets, castles in the Raiana zone of Portugal, Roman monuments, and archeology millennial.
Places to visit in the city of Portalegre
1. Portalegre’s historic city center
The historic center of Portalegre is a peaceful place full of history, where we can feel calm, appreciate the Alentejo houses, with white and blue-washed houses mixed with stately palaces. In the narrow and winding streets of the historic center of Portalegre, we find traditional shops, and houses, with old facades that date back to the Middle Ages.
The center of Portalegre is organized into two main areas:
- Largo do Rossio: where we find the Avenida Liberdade garden and the Rossio plane tree, a tree planted in 1838, it is currently one of the ex-libris of Portalegre, with over thirty meters high, known as the largest plane tree in the Iberian Peninsula.
- Praça da República: with the arcades full of terraces and cafes, and the Baroque palaces, where the Higher School of Education of Portalegre is housed.
2. Serra de São Mamede
Serra de São Mamede Natural Park: it is a natural park created in 1989, integrating the municipalities of Arronches, Castelo de Vide, Marvão, and Portalegre part of the Montes de Toledo mountain range. The Serra de São Mamede is the highest mountain range south of the Tagus River, with 1025 meters of altitude, with paths through nature of stone and vegetation, connecting small towns, a place of excellence for bird watching, with a nature that changes the landscape every season. In the Serra de São Mamede, we find the Natural Park of São Mamede, a protected area of Portugal with 56000 hectares spread over the four municipalities of Portalegre, Castelo de Vide, Marvão, and Arronches. The Natural Park of São Mamede is composed of vegetation of cork, holm, oak, chestnut, and maritime pine trees, with low vegetation of cistus. The São Mamede Natural Park is an area of excellence for bird watching, as it is part of the migratory route for many bird species between Europe and Africa, namely the Bonelli’s eagle, Griffon vulture, Black vulture, White-browed boar, Black-capped kite, Red kite, Eagle-owl, Short-toed eagle, European hawk, Gray Kestrel, Common blackbird, black, great tit, great tit, great tit, great tit, common jay, stonechat, red robin. Here we also see otters, badgers, bulls, weasels, wild cats, foxes, wild rabbits, wild boar, weasels, hares, deer, and other wild animals. In some parts of the natural park, we find colonies of bats, and other amphibious animals and reptiles.
The four main walking routes are the Alegrete route with 11 km, the Esperança route with 16 km, the Galegos route with 11.5 km, and the Marvão route with 8 km.
The built heritage to visit in the Serra de São Mamede: the Póvoa e Meadas dam, the Center for the Interpretation of the Local Identity of Esperança, the Marvão Castle, the São Mamede viewpoint, the Synagogue museum, the museum and the Roman city of Ammaia, and the cave paintings of Vale de Junco or Lapa dos Gaviões.
- The Pico de São Mamede: located approximately 1025 meters above sea level, it is the highest point in mainland Portugal south of the Tagus. From here we can enjoy the panoramic view over the Apartadura dam, the village of Marvão, the Serra da Estrela and Spanish Extremadura.
- The viewpoint of the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Lapa: it is a chapel located approximately 1 km from the village of Besteiros. It deserves a special mention due to the existence of a small church carved in the rock, and the view it offers over the Natural Park of Serra de São Mamede
3. Portalegre Cathedral
Sé Catedral de Portalegre: it is a monument of Renaissance architecture from the 16th century, classified as a National Monument. The Sé Catedral stands out for its two bell towers, the Baroque portals, and the 18th-century tiles that decorate the entire sacristy.
4. São Bernardo Monastery
Monastery of Nossa Senhora da Conceição de Monjas of the Order of Cistercian: known as Convento, or Monastery of São Bernardo, is a building of Manueline, Renaissance and Baroque architecture classified as a National Monument. The convent was inaugurated in 1518 to welcome “maidens without a dowry”. The convent was extinct in 1878, in 1911 it was converted into a barracks, between 1932 and 1961 served as facilities for the Municipal Museum of Portalegre, in the early 1980s it served as facilities for the National Guard School Republican. The great attractions of the Monastery of São Bernardo are the imposing beauty of the Monastery and the fact that it is the site of the largest and most sumptuous tomb in Portugal, the tomb of D Jorge de Melo, former Bishop of Guarda.
The Convento de São Bernardo is known as one of the main confectionary convents, along with the Convent of Santa Clara. The confectionery originating in the Convent of Santa Clara is made up of the Toucinho do Céu, the egg sweets, the abbess’s french toast, the sweet batters of São Bernardo, the rotten convent cake, the real egg torrão, the sweet sarrabulho, the soup sweet of São Bernardo, and the Pastels of bacon from the sky.
5. Santa Clara Convent
Santa Clara Convent: it is a 14th-century convent, founded by Queen D Leonor Teles. The cloister of the convent is the only cloister of fernandine architecture in Portugal.
The Santa Clara Convent is known as one of the main confectionary convents, along with the São Bernardo Convent. The confectionery originating in the Santa Clara Convent is composed of the Golden Cheese, the Almond Jam, the Toucinho do Céu, the Manjar white, the Santa Clara Pastels, the Sweet Ham, the Marzipan and Almond Lamprey, the Seraph Milk, the Recipe of abundant, the Comfort Cake and the Pasties of mimo.
The municipal library of Portalegre is located in the Convent of Santa Clara.
6. José Régio House-Museum
Casa-Museu José Régio: it is a museum installed in the old house of the professor and writer José Maria dos Reis Pereira, known as José Régio. The house is dated to the end of the 17th century, where we can visit the works and collections of José Régio, with exhibitions of sculpture, painting, earthenware, religious art, pastoral works, and textiles. José Régio was a great collector of sacred art, folk art, and handicrafts. The main attractions are the objects of sacred art, the images of Christ Crucified, and the Barros de Portalegre.
7. Portalegre Tapestry Museum Guy Fino
Portalegre Guy Fino Tapestry Museum: it is a museum dedicated to Portalegre Tapestry, a decorative wall tapestry that consists of a totally manual tapestry technique inspired by original works by painters, namely replica tapestry of paintings by the artists: Almada Negreiros , Anna Christina Dryselius, António Charrua, António DaCosta, Armando Alves, Barbara Walraven, Bruno Munari, Carlos Botelho, Carlos Carreiro, Carlos Santos, Cláudia Lima, Costa Pinheiro, Cruzeiro Seixas, Danielle Moser, David Adickes, Eduardo Nery, Emília Nadal, Eugénio Granell, Figueiredo Sobral, Gilberto Pereira, Graça Morais, Guilherme Camarinha, Joana Vasconcelos, John Olsen, Jorge Martins, José de Guimarães, José Nuno da Câmara Pereira, José Sousa Lara, Júlio (Saul Dias), Júlio Resende, Lourdes Castro, Luís Filipe de Abreu, Luís Pinto-Coelho, Manuel Amado, Manuel Cargaleiro, Marcello Moraes, Maria João Franco, Matégot, Menez, Nadiz Afonso, Otto Nielsen, Paul Mathieu, Renato Torres, Rigo 23, Roger Kathy, Rogério Ribeiro Rui Moreira, Sérgio Telles, Tom Phillips, Vieira da Silva, and Vitor Pomar.
The Portalegre Guy Fino Tapestry Museum is housed in an 18th-century palace, organized on the ground floor with a history of manufacturing Portalegre tapestries, and on the first floor with works by a tapestry in chronological order from the 1940s to the present.
8. Portalegre Municipal Museum
Portalegre Municipal Museum: it is a museum opened in 1918, installed in a noble house from the 16th century, located next to the Cathedral. At the Portalegre Municipal Museum, we can visit a collection of sacred art from the Portalegre convents, Portuguese faience from the 17th century to the beginning of the 20th century, furniture from D. João V, D. José styles, and Renaissance, paintings by artists Portuguese, Santos António’s collection, silver snuff boxes, and the first car that circulated in Portalegre.
9. Chapel of Calvary
Capela do Calvário: is a chapel of mannerist architecture from the 18th century, located in Portalegre.
10. Portalegre Castle
Castelo de Portalegre: it is a 13th-century castle of Gothic architecture classified as National Heritage since 1946. The castle of Portalegre was one of the most important fortifications, part of the defensive system of Alto Alentejo. With recent renovations, the castle has been transformed into medieval castle ruins with a mix of contemporary architecture.
On the castle walls around Portalegre, we find the Portas do Postigo,
Portas de Alegrete, Portas de Elvas, Portas da Deveza, Portas do Espírito Santo, Portas do Bispo, Portas de São Francisco, and the Portas de Évora.
11. Miradouro da Serra
Miradouro da Serra: is a viewpoint located in the Serra de Portalegre, at an approximate altitude of 670 meters, providing a panoramic view over the city of Portalegre.
12. Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Penha
Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Penha: it is a chapel classified as a Property of Public Interest, located on the top of a hill in Serra da Penha at an altitude of approximately 628 meters, next to Estrada Nacional 18, near Portalegre. Outside the chapel, we find the Miradouro da Penha, from where we can enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.
13. The palaces and stately homes of Portalegre
- Palácio dos Tavares Falcões, 16th century
- Palácio dos Caldeira Castelo-Branco, 16th-17th centuries
- Episcopal Palace, 16th-17th centuries
- Town Hall, 17th century
- Yellow Palace, 17th century
- Andrade e Sousa Palace, 17th century
- Achioli Palace, 17th century
- 18th century Avilez Palace
- Palace Caldeira de Castel-Branco Barahona, or Palace
- Barahona, 18th century
- Póvoas Palace, 18th century
- Solar dos Viscondes de Portalegre
- Solar das Avencas
14. The sources of Portalegre
- Fonte do Outeiro, with the coat of arms of the city
- Corro Fountains
- Fountain of Três Bicas, topped with a balcony
- Fonte da Concha
- Fonte da Boneca, made in lyso
- Fonte do Mergulho, supplied the Santa Clara Convent
- Fountain of Mercy
- Fonte Nova, by sculptor Augusto Desirat
- Rossio Fountain
- Fountain of the Neptune
Other places to visit in the Portalegre district
Castelo de Marvão: it is a castle located in the Natural Park of São Mamede, with the construction of the castle started in the 12th century and completed in the 13th century. It was important as the country’s first line of defense in the War of Restoration and during the French invasions of the 19th century. The castle’s main attractions are the keep, a restaurant, an interpretive center of Portalegre, and an exhibition hall.
- Marvão: is a Portuguese village with approximately 500 inhabitants located close to the border between Portugal and Spain. Marvão is located at the top of Serra do Sapoio, with the castle wall protecting the entire village. Marvão is one of the 21 Wonders of Portugal.
The outstanding heritage in Marvão includes the Castelo de Marvão, the Chapel of Espírito Santo, the Casa da Cultura, the Convent of Nossa Senhora da Estrela, the Municipal Museum, the Roman City of Ammaia, the Lagar / Museu António Picado Nunes, Quinta Pedagógica das Avelãs and Torre da Portagem.
Integrated in the Natural Park of Serra de São Mamede, Marvão is a municipality marked by nature, with emphasis on the river Sever and the Serra de São Mamede. Marvão is the capital of the municipality, with the parishes of Beirã, Santa Maria de Marvão, Santo António das Areias, and São Salvador da Aramenha.
Near Marvão we find the Medieval Tower of Portagem, a quadrangular tower, probably from the 14th century, intended for the surveillance of the Roman Bridge of Portagem, a bridge built over the River Sever at the end of 16th century, early 17th century with granite stones reused from a primitive Roman bridge. Here we find the Praia Fluvial de Portagem, a river beach with water from the Saver river.
- Ammaia: these are the ruins of an ancient Roman city from the end of the 1st century BC, located in the Serra de São Mamede Natural Park, classified as a National Monument since 1949.
Castle of Elvas
Castelo de Elvas: it is a 13th-century castle classified as World Heritage, National Monument, located in a dominant position over the village of Elvas and the Guadiana River. The castle of Elvas is part of the Military Tourism project, which presents historical itineraries intending to make known the Military History of Portugal.
- Elvas: is a Portuguese city with approximately 20 thousand inhabitants located near the border with Spain. Elvas was populated by Visigoths, Celts, Romans, and Arabs until the Reconquest in 1229. The historic center of the city of Elvas is protected by the largest set of bastioned fortifications in the world, with a perimeter of eight to ten km, in an area of approximately 300 hectares.
Part of the city of Elvas was classified as a World Heritage Site, namely, the historic city center, the bastioned walls of the 17th century, the Forte de Santa Luzia, the Forte da Graça, the Aqueduto da Amoreira with the 843 arches that make it up, the São Pedro fort, the São Mamede fort, and Fortim de São Domingos. The heritage of Elvas also includes the João Carpinteiro Municipal Museum of Photography, the Military Museum of Santa Luzia Fort, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Rural Museum, and the Archeology Museum.
Elvas has a great prominence in equestrian tourism, namely through the São Brás Equestrian Center, and the Parque e Clube de Tiro e Caça de Elvas.
The gastronomy of Elvas, a typical Alentejo cuisine, features specialties such as bread soups, roasted lamb, golden cod, coriander Migas, Elvas olives, and Elvas plums.
- Aqueduto da Amoreira: it is a magnificent aqueduct from the 16th and 17th century, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, part of the “Border and Garrison City of Elvas and its Fortifications, National Monument, considered the largest aqueduct in the Iberian Peninsula. , with 8.5 kilometers in length, 843 arches with more than five arches, and towers that rise to 31 meters in height.
- Fort of Nossa Senhora da Graça: or Fort Conde de Lippe, is a spectacular fortification from the 18th century, with a citadel, classified World Heritage by UNESCO, National Monument, situated on the top do Monte da Graça, part of the “Fronteiriça and Guarnição de Elvas City and its Fortifications. The Fort of Nossa Senhora da Graça is a large, well-preserved space that requires some time to explore. The Fort consists of three defensive lines considered a work of art of military architecture. The Fort of Nossa Senhora da Graça was the fortress that allowed to complete the defensive circuit of the city of Elvas.
- Fort of Santa Luzia: it is a fort of 1648 classified World Heritage by UNESCO, National Monument, designed with star plan, designed to defend the southern front of the city of Elvas.
- Elvas Military Museum:
Natural Monument of Portas de Ródão
Portas de Ródão Natural Monument: known as Portas de Rodão, it is a peaceful place created by a rock formation between 170 meter high escarpments that simulate two doors with the Tagus River in the center, creating a natural landscape of great attraction. After the Portas de Rodão there is a large lake, which testifies that the Portao de Rodão were originated from the erosion of millions of years. At the top of Portas de Rodão we can visit the castle of Rei Wamba, the Paleolithic village of Vilas Ruivas. This is an excellent place for bird watching, with regular sightings of vultures, birds of prey and other species. The Portas de Rodão is one of the geosites of the Geopark Naturtejo da Meseta Meridional is part of the World Geoparks Network, created by UNESCO and covers an area comprising the municipalities of Castelo Branco, Idanha-a-Nova, Nisa, Oleiros, Proença -a-Nova and Vila Velha de Ródão.
Castelo de Vide
- Castelo de Vide: is a Portuguese village located on a hill in the Serra de São Mamede with approximately 3400 inhabitants. Castelo de Vide is considered by many to be “Sintra do Alentejo”, an Alentejo village of unique peculiarities, with whitewashed houses, sloping streets, surrounded by walls. In Castelo de Vide we can visit an important and vast heritage, namely: the Medieval Castle of Vide, the Jewry of Castelo de Vide, a Jewish neighborhood that includes a Synagogue, Praça D Pedro V, the São João Batista Church, the Mother Church, and the stately homes, which we find all over the village. Near the village of Castelo de Vide we find Monte da Pena, a place where the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Pena is located, with a viewpoint to Castelo de Vide. The modern area of Castelo de Vide has municipal swimming pools, swimming pools with slides, a municipal pavilion, an athletics track, and a football field. The most important festivals in Castelo de Vide are the Carnaval Trapalhão, which takes place annually in February, the Semana Santa, which takes place annually in April, and the Medieval Market, which takes place held annually in August and September. The Festival Andanças – International Festival of Music and Traditional Dance, which takes place annually in August has been gaining importance in recent years.
- Castelo Medieval de Vide: it is a 14th-century castle, classified as a National Monument, located on the top of the hill of the São Mamede mountain range. The Medieval Castle of Vide is one of the major attractions of the Portalegre district. Within the walls, we find the medieval village, the Jewish quarter, and the synagogue.
- Anta da Melriça: located near the village of Castelo de Vide, it consists of a megalithic monument of erected rock, which used to be a funerary function.
Belver Castle in Gavião
Castelo de Belver is a 13th-century castle, considered one of the most complete castles of Portuguese medieval military architecture, situated in a dominant position over the confluence of the Belver stream with the right bank of the Tagus river.
Gavião: is a village with approximately 3200 inhabitants, deeply marked by the surrounding natural beauty. In the municipality of Gavião, it is worth visiting the Castelo de Belver, the bridge over the Tagus de Belver river, the Outeirinho viewpoint, the Pintalgaio viewpoint, the chapel Nossa Senhora do Pilar, the Belver Castle Interpretation Center, the Fonte Velha path, the Gavião Mother Church, the Sabão Museum, the Vine and Wine Museum, the Mantas and Tapestries Museum Belver, Alamal River Beach, Avifauna Observatory and Ribeira da Venda.
- Praia Fluvial de Ortiga: it is a fluvial sandy beach on the Tagus river next to the Belver dam, where we find the Ortiga campsite. Nearby we can take some paths close to nature, where we find the natural viewpoint of Cova, the GEOSSITIO Terrace with Paleolithic material, and the village of Ortiga.
- Anta do Penedo Gordo: a megalithic monument located north of the Belver dam.
Castle of Alegrete
Castelo de Alegrete: is a small castle of Gothic architecture built in the Middle Ages, located in the village of Alegrete, Portalegre. From the castle, we have a panoramic view of the village and the surrounding mountain landscape. Due to its location, it was one of the most important fortifications in Alto Alentejo.
Fluviário de Mora
Fluviário de Mora: is a fluviary located in the Ecological Park of Gameiro, in the parish of Cabecção. The Fluviário de Mora is composed of a set of aquariums dedicated to freshwater ecosystems, with the exposure of habitats representative of the course of an Iberian river, from the source, through the mouth, to the sea. Fluviário de Mora has scientific and pedagogical programs presented along several themes, namely Lontrário, the Saramugo room, the Monstros do Rio room, the Multimedia Exhibition room, the classroom, an auditorium, and the Exotic Habitats room, with Amazon River and African Great Lakes species. It is a special attraction for families and children, a special place to learn about nature. Near the Fluviário de Mora we can visit the village of Mora, where we find:
- Interactive Museum of Megalithism: it is a museum located in the old train station of Mora, awarded with the prize “Best Public Project”, where we can know the megalithic heritage of the Municipality of Mora through three spaces representative of the daily lives of the populations, dedicated to the theme: “Life, Death, and Contemplation” through a 3D video that depicts life in a Neolithic village.
Gameiro Ecological Park
Parque Ecológico do Gameiro: it is a natural park that involves the Fluviário de Mora in Vila de Cabecção, where we find a river beach, camping site, picnic area, children’s playground, bar/cafeteria, Gameiro wooden walkways along with the Ribeira da Raia, playground and Environmental Interpretation Center. The Gameiro Ecological Park is a great place to enjoy a day in nature, with a football field, coffee shop, showers, plenty of shade, in a clean and careful environment.
Alter do Chão Castle
Alter do Chão Castle: it is a castle of medieval architecture, built in the 14th century, with walls in schist and granite, reinforced by six towers. Alter do Chão Castle is an ancient defense of the Alentejo region, located in the Portuguese village of Alter do Chão, a village located in the district of Portalegre with approximately 3100 inhabitants. Alter do Chão was founded in 204 A.D. with the name of Elteri under Roman occupation. Here we can visit the Alter do Chão Castle, the Church of Nosso Senhor Jesus do Outeiro, the Misericórdia Church, the Chapel of Santana, and the Stud Farm founded in 1748 by the Portuguese king D João V, to create Lusitano horses for the Royal Riding Arena.
Military Museum of Elvas
Military Museum of Elvas: it is a museum located within the walls of the city of Elvas, in the building of the Convento de São Domingos and the Igreja de São Domingos. In the military museum of Elvas, we can see the elements of animal traction and military harness, the health service in the different military medical specialties, the Collection of military vehicles, namely, a military tank present at the entrance to the museum, the M42-AI Stuart battle tank, model from 1942, the M47 Patton and Unimog 411 vehicles, used in Portuguese colonial campaigns, the military communications, the Elvas Heritage Interpretation Center, and the Equestrian Animation and Training Center of Elvas
Castle of Campo Maior
Castelo de Campo Maior: it is a castle of military architecture built by D. Dinis in 1310, classified as a National Monument, located in the Alentejo village of Campo Maior. Campo Maior became the most important military center in Portugal, after Elvas. It had the function of border defense, which is why it was increased in the 15th century with a set of walls that housed the entire urban perimeter. Within the walls of the village we can visit other attractions, namely the Lagar Museu do Palácio Visconde d ‘Olivã, the Chapel of Bones of Campo Maior, the Igreja Matriz, Igreja de São João Batista, the Open Museum of Campo Maior to Praça da República where we find the Pillory of Campo Maior and the City Hall, and on the edge of the old town with the expansion of the new town of Campo Larger we find the Municipal Garden, with green areas, terraces, and the statue of Comendador Nabeiro, a businessman from the region who has contributed to local development through job creation with the coffee industry. The natural heritage of Campo Maior deserves to be highlighted, namely the dam of the river Caia and the dam of Abrilongo. Campo Maior is known for the People’s Festivals, which are held annually in September. During these parties, the village is “dressed” in paper flowers and transformed into a huge garden
- Science and Café Center: it is a space created by industrial Comendador Rui Nabeiro, in a building with a total area of 3426 m2, where we can visit and learn about the history, the transformation process and everything related like the world of coffee, through exhibitions and interactivity. The Science and Coffee Center belongs to the Nabeiro group, creator of the Portuguese brand Delta Café since 1961. A place to visit …
Adega Mayor: it is a winery designed by the architect Siza Vieira, wherein a field of 350 hectares a winery was created, overlooking the vineyard, an olive grove, Spain, and the Serra de Portalegre. Here we can experience workshops, guided tours of the world of wine aromas produced in this estate, tasting of gastronomic products from the region, and a tour of the Adega Mayor estate.
Castle of Amieira do Tejo
Castle of Amieira do Tejo: is a castle of Gothic architecture from the 14th century, which integrated the line of defense of the border between Portugal and Spain, located in the village of Amieira do Tejo. The Castle of Amieira is small in good condition.
Museu do Sabão: it is a museum installed in the old primary school of Belver, which preserves the culture of the soap industry since the 16th century, which happened mainly in the Alto Alentejo and Castelo Branco areas. The economic and social importance in the village of Belver derived from the soap industry was notable for the presence of several artisanal producers and the Royal Soap Factory. The Soap Museum is a museum with a lot of information on the manufacture, history, and use of soap, which aims to disseminate the knowledge acquired by the ancestors and to honor the memory of the soap makers in Belver.
Center of Interpretation of the Battle of Atoleiros
Interpretation Center of the Battle of Atoleiros: it is a museum that represents a reconstruction, through multimedia means, of the Battle of Atoleiros waged on April 6, 1384, near the village of Fronteira.
Rail Bike Marvão
Rail Bike Marvão: is an experience with two routes in a pedal car, which slides over the old Marvão train line, between the historical stations in the Serra de São Mamede Natural Park, allowing you to observe nature and living wild, a bridge 30 m high, and panoramic views over the Castle of Marvão and the historic village of Castelo de Vide. This experience requires physical effort.
Menhir de Meada
Menhir de Meada: is a menhir from the Neo-Chalcolithic period 2500-3500 BC, located in Castelo de Vide, classified as the largest Menhir in the Iberian Peninsula, with approximately 4 meters in height, classified as a National Monument. The menhir area is surrounded by smaller menhirs and cork oak trees.
Tapir of Pavia
Tapir of Pavia: it is a tapir dating from the 4th or 3rd millennium BC and transformed into the chapel of São Dinis in the 17th century, located in the center of the small village of Paiva.
Bridge of Nossa Senhora da Ajuda
Nossa Senhora da Ajuda Bridge: it is a sixteenth-century bridge three hundred and eighty meters long and five and a half meters wide, supported by nineteen arches, creating a fantastic landscape over the Guadiana River.
Monastery of Flor da Rosa
Flor da Rosa Monastery: or Monastery of the Order of the Hospital da Flor da Rosa, is a fortified monastery of the 14th century classified as a National Monument, transformed in 1995 into a hotel unit of Pousadas de Portugal. At the convent church, we currently find the Medieval Sculpture Center of the National Museum of Ancient Art and a sculpture exhibition by João Cutileiro.
- Anta da Aldeia da Mata: it is a well-preserved megalithic monument, located near the Flor da Rosa Monastery, located in a private estate surrounded by pasture and cork oak trees, a typical Alentejo landscape. To visit the Tapir of Aldeia da Mata we need to go through the property gate. Inside the private property, there are cattle, and caution with animals is advised.
Castelo de Avis: is a castle is a 13th-century castle located in the village of Avis, a Portuguese village located at an altitude of 201 meters with approximately 4200 inhabitants. The village of Avis was the seat of the Order of Avis, one of the most important Military Orders in Portugal. The village breathes history, especially the historic center, the Castelo de Avis, the Igreja Matriz, the Igreja de Ervedal, the Museu do Campo Alentejano, the Centro Interpretativo da Ordem de Avis, and the convent of São Bento da Order of Avis. Avis has places for the practice of outdoor sports and rural tourism, namely the camping site of the Maranhão reservoir, and the Avis nautical club complex, with a river beach, pools, restaurant, and green areas. The most important festivals and pilgrimages in Avis are the Medieval Iberian Fair that takes place in May, and the Feira Franca de Avis, which takes place in July.
Municipal Museum of Photography João Carpinteiro
João Carpinteiro Municipal Museum of Photography: it is a museum installed in the building of the old Cinema Central, where we can learn about the history of photography, a collection of cameras by Dr. João Carpinteiro, how a laboratory for photographic development works, a library, and an image bank.
Dam of Póvoa
Póvoa Dam: it is a dam near Castelo de Vide, which forms the small reservoir of the Póvoa e Meadas dam. It is a place surrounded by nature, sought after for outdoor sports and picnics.
Vila Formosa Bridge
Ponte de Vila Formosa: it is an ancient Roman bridge from the 1st or 2nd century, with 6 arches divided into 100 meters in length over the Seda stream, located at km 8 of the EN. 369. The bridge is part of the old Roman road that connected Lisbon to Mérida in Spain. Due to its good condition, it is still used for car circulation. The Vila Formosa Bridge is classified as a National Monument.
Barragem do Caia: is the dam with the largest reservoir in the district of Portalegre, supplied by the river Caia. The dam is sought after for water sports, namely windsurfing, kitesurfing, canoeing, stand up paddle, mountain biking, and nature sports, namely birdwatching, hiking, and fishing.
Convent of Nossa Senhora da Estrela
Nossa Senhora da Estrela Convent: it is a 15th century convent located in the village of Santa Maria de Marvão, classified as a Public Interest Building.
Vila de Arronches
- Arronches: is a Portuguese village located close to the border with approximately 2800 inhabitants. Arronches is located in the Natural Park of Serra de São Mamede, making it possible to practice outdoor sports activities and walks in the middle of nature. In the village of Arronches we highlight the Castle of Arronches, the Mother Church, the Church of Misericórdia, the Church of Nossa Senhora da Luz, the medieval tower and the Passeio do Vassalo.
Vila de Fronteira
- Fronteira: is a traditional Portuguese village with approximately 3000 inhabitants, founded by the Portuguese king D Dinis in the 13th century. Near Fronteira we find Atoleiros, the place where D Nuno Álvares Pereira defeated the Castilians in 1384, guaranteeing the independence of Portugal. In the village of Fronteira, the Igreja Matriz, the Igreja dos Senhor dos Mártires, the Paços do Concelho building, the train station with tile panels depicting the lifestyle of the region, the stately palaces from the 18th century, the Interpretation Center of the Battle of Atoleiros, the Termas da Sulfúrea, the viewpoint of the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora de Vila Velha, and the River Beach of Ribeira Grande.
The most important festivals and pilgrimages in Fronteira are: the Honor Parties of Nossa Senhora da Vila Velha that take place annually in August, the Commemoration of the Battle of Atoleiros, a municipal holiday that takes place annually in April, the Medieval Fair, which takes place annually in April, and the festival in honor of Nossa Senhora das Candeias, which takes place annually in February.
Vila de Monforte
- Monforte: is a village with 3000 inhabitants located in the district of Portalegre. Monforte is known for being the place of origin of the Serra d’Aires dog and the Alentejo rafeiro. In Monforte, we highlight the Rafeiro Alentejano Reproduction Center, Tauromatic Interpretive Center, Herdade do Perdigão, Calvário Church, Nossa Senhora da Conceição Church, São João Batista Church, Municipal Museum, the old bridge of Monforte, the ruins of Palma, Torre das Figueiras and Torre do Frade.
Ponte de Sor
- Ponte de Sor: is a city and municipality in the district of Portalegre with approximately 15000 inhabitants. In the municipality of Ponte de Sor we can visit the Center of Arts and Culture, the Mother Church of Ponte de Sor, the Albufeira de Montargil, the six chapels of Galveias, the water park Oásis Parque, the rotating water mills, the Megalithic Nucleus de Montargil, the Necropolis of Santo André, and the riverside area of Ponte de Sor.
The most important festivals and pilgrimages in Ponte de Sor are the Salgueirinha festival that takes place annually on Easter Monday, the Centrum Sete Sois Sete Luas festival, which takes place annually between July and September, the October fair, which takes place annually in October, and the International Hot Air Balloon Festival which takes place annually in November. Ponte de Sor is served by the Municipal Aerodrome of Ponte de Sor, with Glider flights, and higher courses related to aeronautics/aerospace, taught at the Campus Universitário building.
The Gastronomy of Portalegre
The typical dishes of Portalegre are:
- Grain stew
- Fried quail
- Crato Stew
- Lamb stew
- Roasted Lacon
- Hare with white beans
- Hare with rice
- Marheiros à Belverense
- Marinated partridge
- Pastels from Santa Clara
- Portalegre Queijadas
- Nisa cheese
The craft of Portalegre
The ex-libris of the city’s handicrafts is the art of tapestry, considered the best tapestry in Portugal and one of the best in the world. Portalegre’s handicrafts also include the traditions of blacksmithing and tinwork.
History of Portalegre
Portalegre was founded in the period of Roman occupation, being called Portus Alacer or Porto Alegre. Portalegre served as a shelter for travelers passing through the region. Portalegre was fortified due to the proximity of the border with Spain, and in 1290 a castle was built with twelve towers and seven doors that protected the village from access by outsiders. Portalegre was elevated to the category of a city in 1550. In the 17th century, the Real Fábrica de Lanificios was inaugurated, which contributed to the development of the city. In the 19th century, the Robinson Factory was built, dedicated to the preparation and transformation of cork. On July 18, 1835, Portalegre was designated district capital.
The Economy of Portalegre
Agriculture represents the greatest importance in the economy of the Portalegre district, with the production of cereals, olive oil, nuts, and wine; livestock, with the creation of cattle, goats, pigs, and horses; the bakery industry, the milk, coffee and tea industry, the production of cork, and tourism. The district of Portalegre has the largest townhouse spot in Europe.
Tourism has grown in the interior Alentejo during the last decades, with the emergence of rural tourism enhanced with quality rural accommodation, nature tourism, wine tourism, nautical tourism associated with dams, tourism related to the cultural circuit and religious, gastronomy and wine tourism, health tourism related to the spa.
The business and industrial economy of the Portalegre district is supported and sustained by the existence of thirteen Industrial zones:
- Alter do Chão Industrial Zone
- Avis Industrial Zone
- Campo Maior Industrial Zone
- Castelo de Vide Industrial Area
- Crato Industrial Zone
- The industrial zone of Elvas
- Frontier Industrial Zone
- Gavião Industrial Zone
- Marvão Industrial Zone
- Monforte Industrial Zone
- Nisa Industrial Zone
- Portalegre Industrial Zone
- Sousel Industrial Zone
The geographic location of the district of Portalegre
Portalegre borders the district of Castelo Branco to the north, the district of Évora to the south, the district of Santarém to the west, and Spain to the east. The district of Portalegre has 69 parishes, divided by the 15 municipalities comprising the city of Elvas, the city of Portalegre, the city of Ponte de Sor, the village of Campo Maior, the village de Nisa, the village of Alter do Chão, the village of Castelo de Vide, the village of Fronteira, the village of Arronches, the village of Sousel, the village of Avis, the village of Crato, the village of Gavião, the village of Monforte, and the village of Marvão.
The most important rivers in the Portalegre district are the Avis river, the Caia river, the Guadiana river, the Sever river, and the Tagus river. The most important mountains in the Portalegre district are the Monte da Penha mountain range, the São Mamede mountain range, the Nisa mountain range, the Marvão mountain range, and the Portalegre mountain range.
Portalegre Parties and Pilgrimages
- Made in Portalegre: held in October, every two years;
- Portalegre JazzFest: held annually in February;
- Conventual Confectionery Fair: held annually in April;
- Low 500 off-road championship: held annually in October;
- International Theater Festival: held annually in November.
Portalegre Fast Facts
- City population: approximately 22 thousand inhabitants
- Foundation of the county: 1259
- Region: Alentejo
- Sub-Region: Alto-Alentejo
- District: Portalegre
- Municipal Holiday: May 23