Trip to North Alentejo – day 1

DAY 1 (15th March 2014) – Castelo de Vide and Marvão
Accommodation: Varanda do Alentejo (Marvão) – 42€/double room (breakfast included)
Dinner: Varanda do Alentejo (Marvão) – 13€/pax
Pastry: “Boleimas da Maçã” – 0.80€/unit
DAY 2 (16th March 2014) – Marvão, Portalegre and Elvas
Accommodation: D. Dinis (Elvas) – 47€/double room (breakfast included)
Dinner: O Lagar (Elvas) – 13€/pax
Museums/Monuments: Roman Villa of Ammaia – 2€/pax
DAY 3 (17th March 2014) – Elvas
Pastry: Sericaia – 8€

JB and I went on a 3 days trip to North Alentejo, in the South of Portugal.
We left home early in the morning of 15th March 2014, Saturday. As we avoided toll roads, we took the whole morning to arrive to our destination – Castelo de Vide. However, before going to Castelo de Vide, we made a small detour to see a dolmen that is located nearby Castelo de Vide – “Anta do Sobral”. During that stop we also ate the sandwiches we had brought for lunch.

"Fonte da Vila"

“Fonte da Vila”

We initiated the visit to Castelo de Vide near the “Parque São João José da Luz” (Park of St. John Joseph of the Light), where we found the first geocache of this trip. Then, we looked for the “Casa de Chá Belmira” (Belmira’s Tea House), where we bought delicious “boleimas de maçã” (apple boleimas), which are traditional pastries. We spent there some time talking with Mrs Belmira. Despite her age, she makes the pastries she sells, all by herself. Before we leave, she gave us one pastry – “queijada de requeijão”(cottage cheese cheesecake).

We continued our walk, going towards the Castle. On the way, we passed by the “Fonte da Vila” (Town’s Fountain), a beautiful marble fountain from the 16th century. We learned later that the water from that fountain is claimed to have health benefits for people who suffer from Putes and from hypertension.

There’s a synagogue near the fountain that is now converted into a museum. Unfortunately, it was closed at the time we passed there.

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The Castle of Castelo de Vide and its middle age walls were built in the 13th and 14th centuries, during the reigns of D. Dinis and D. Afonso IV.

We explored the castle, enjoyed the view from the keep tower and we found the “Centro de Interpretação do Megalitismo” (Interpretation Center of Megalithism). We were invited by the nice man who was at the entrance to visit the Interpretation Centre and then he told us about some of the several megalithic monuments located in the municipality of Castelo de Vide, about other interesting places to visit, some historical facts, some curiosities… It was a pleasant and educational moment. We learned that North Alentejo is the Portuguese region where we find the higher concentration of megalithic sites, including the biggest menhir in the entire Iberian Peninsula discovered so far – Meada Menhir. It is 4 meters high (from the ground) and has a maximum diameter of 1,25 meters.

Viewpoint of Monteiro Cliff

Viewpoint of Monteiro Cliff

Next, we visited the medieval town, where the “Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Alegria” (Church of Our Lady of Happiness) is located. We made a short stop to enjoy one of the pastries we had bought at “Casa de Chá Belmira” . Hmm… Delicious!

Then we went to “Jardim Miradouro Penedo Monteiro” (Garden Viewpoint of Monteiro Cliff) to look for some geocaches, went back to the medieval town and we returned to the town center.
We walked through “Praça D. Pedro V” (D. Pedro V Square), the square that houses the main church – “Igreja de Santa Maria da Devesa” (Church of Saint Maria da Devesa) and the Town Hall, as well as a statue of King Pedro V.

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Before we left Castelo de Vide, we visited another fountain, the “Fonte da Mealhada” (Mealhada Fountain), this one being claimed to be good for people who suffer from gastric problems.

Our next goal was to follow the “Percurso Pedestre das Carreiras” (Carreiras Pedestrian Route). However, due to the late hour, we decided to walk just a part of that trail, the one that includes the medieval path. Which meant we had to go and return by the same route.

We parked the car in the village of Carreiras and then we looked for the beginning of the medieval path. It starts next to a shrine. As the beginning of the path is a bit steep and it was a bit damaged by the rain water flowing down there, we had to walk carefully and to pay attention to where we put our feet. At the end of the slope we crossed a small brook, next to which there was a cute donkey that let us pat it. We arrived to a paved road just a few meters ahead. But it ended quickly to give place to another medieval path, this one larger and better preserved than the previous one.

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We passed by the “Fonte do Mergulho” (Diving Fountain), a fountain that has an animal drinker and where we saw several frogs. We started looking for some geocaches at that point of the trail. We spent some time looking for the one that was hidden near the fountain, but we just found it in the second attempt, when we were returning to the village.

We walked for a few minutes more and decided to return when we reached the point where the 3rd geocache of this trail was hidden. On the way back, we found a group of cows and we were “greeted” again by the donkey.

"Estrada das Árvores Fechadas"

“Estrada das Árvores Fechadas”

We spent almost 2 hours in this beautiful trail and then we stopped next to the shrine to have a snack.

Our final destination for that day was Marvão, but we made one more stop before that. We visited the village of Portagem, namely the “Estrada das Árvores Fechadas” (Road of the Closed Trees), which is a long road flanked by trees that have a white stripe painted on their trunks, and the Old Bridge that crosses Sever River.

It was already night when we arrived to Marvão. It was easy to find “Varanda do Alentejo”, the place where we spent the night. It was a former house converted into a hotel.
We went to our room, which was very cozy, we accommodated ourselves, took a bath and then we crossed the street to go to Varanda do Alentejo restaurant to have dinner. I ordered “alhada de cação” (dogfish dish) while JB ordered a soup and “ensopado de borrego” (lamb stew). We had to wait quite some time for the food to be served, but it was worth the waiting. The food was delicious! And I loved the bread.

We went for a small walk in the village and then we went to our rooms for a good night of rest.

Castelo de Vide

Carreiras Pedestrian Route

Portagem and Marvão

2 Responses to “Trip to North Alentejo – day 1

  1. Pingback: Trip to North Alentejo – day 2 | Backpack Tourist

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