The inner plains of Alentejo, Alentejo Alto and Central have the most beautiful villages in Portugal. These are villages full of beauty and history and surrounded by nature. If you like to travel by car and then discover wonderful places on foot, these are three places you need to know. Rent a car at one of our branches in Lisbon, Porto or Faro and venture into Portugal’s largest region.
The stately walled town of Marvão is 238 kilometers from Lisbon, built on a steep mountain more than 850 meters above sea level. This quiet village is located in the Serra de São Mamede region, district of Portalegre, a few kilometers from Castelo de Vide and the Spanish border.
It is a small town with a mystical atmosphere, beautiful surrounding landscapes and sinuous alleys that you can see in a few hours. The best way to explore this place is on foot. Those who like adventures can go on walking tours and horseback riding through the Serra de São Mamede natural park.
If you fancy cultural themes, visit the Municipal Museum, located in the old Church of Santa Maria, in Largo de Santa Maria. Walk round the walls of the Medieval Castle, the landmark of the town. The fortress, with two towers and the Torre de Menagem, is in an optimum state of conservation and houses an archaeological weapons museum.
Castelo de Vide
Surrounded by 2.5 km of walls, Castelo de Vide is located in the district of Portalegre (Alto Alentejo). The town is known by many as the Sintra of the Alentejo. Castelo de Vide is 225 kilometers from Lisbon and 290 from Porto.
The fountains, the gardens, the old churches and the Gothic portals give the citadel a special charm. With a strong historical and cultural heritage, the town is home to one of the best preserved Jewish quarters in Portugal; a good example are the Rua da Judaria and the Rua Nova in the historic center. Get to know the Jewish quarter starting with the Fonte da Vila square, passing through the old synagogue, now converted into a museum. Improve your health visiting the historic Fonte da Vila, built in the sixteenth century, whose water has mineral-medicinal properties. The Medieval Castle, classified as a national monument since 1910, is one of Castelo de Vide main attractions.
In the area, you can visit the Nossa Senhora da Penha Chapel, in the Serra de São Paulo, 3.5 kilometers from Castelo de Vide. From the small 16th-century church you can enjoy a 360º view over the Alentejo village.
Monsaraz is part of the municipality of Reguengos de Monsaraz and belongs to the district of Evora. It is located 185 kilometers from Lisbon and 230 from Faro. The visit to the castle is the high point of the trip to this historic city. An example of military architecture, this imposing fortress erected on Mount Monsaraz contains medieval and seventeenth-century elements.
Less than a minute walk from the Castle, you will reach the emblematic D. Nuno Álvares Pereira square. The main church of Nossa Senhora da Lagoa, the allegorical Pelourinho de Monsaraz, the Museo del Fresco, the Misericordia Church and the Casa Monsaraz are located in this historic area, as well as, in one of the parallel streets, the Ervideira Winery, where you can taste Alentejo wines of excellent quality. And if you want to also taste the oil in addition to wine, do not miss the Herdade do Esporão, one of the most famous vineyards in the region, only 18 kilometers from Monsaraz.
Last but not least, go for a stroll and discover the natural wonders of the Albufeira do Alqueva and the vastness of this body of water. It is the largest artificial lake in Europe and the right destination for nature lovers. You can take boat trips, relax on the islets and river beaches, fly hot air balloons and go for walking tours, among other activities.