Here, Portugal’s History comes forward in majestic castles like Montemor-o-Novo and in traditions that carry on like the iconic tapestries of Arraiolos.
To discover Alentejo Central is to explore a countryside Alentejo, immersed in the charms of Nature, as it happens in Mora and its picturesque parishes of Brotas, Cabeção, and Pavia.
As always, this side of Alentejo also comes through at the table. Amongst the many local specialities you can’t miss, the Vendas Novas “bifana” (pork steak sandwich) is the gastronomic “landmark” you must try.
South of Lisbon, in Alentejo Central, Vendas Novas is a must-stop on the way to inland Alentejo. It has always been so throughout History. Over the centuries, several members of the royal family spent the night here. The old Palácio Real (Royal Palace), built by King João V, now houses the Escola Prática de Artilharia (Artillery Practice School) and a military museum.
One of the city’s symbols is the “bifana” sandwich: a slightly toasted wheat bun with a slice of pork meat. Many road trippers take the detour to Vendas Novas just to eat at one of the several cafes and restaurants that compete for the title of the best “bifana” in town.
Going inland, we reach Montemor-o-Novo. The Montemor-o-Novo Castle, rising in one of the city’s hillsides, overpowers the landscape. It’s believed it was taken back from the Moors by King Afonso Henriques around 1166. Since then, it was the setting for some of the most critical episodes of Portugal's History. Going up to the Porta da Vila (Town Gate) we come across different significant buildings such as the Torre do Relógio (Clock Tower) and the Convento da Saudação convent.
Since then, it was the setting for some of the most critical episodes of Portugal's History.
Arraiolos is a little over 20 km from Montemor-o-Novo. At the town centre, several stores roll out one of the oldest symbols of Portuguese handicrafts: the Arraiolos tapestry. The Arraiolos Castle marks the landscape, one of the few round-shaped castles in the world. The local cuisine is rich in Alentejo soups and pork dishes, but the Arraiolos pies are the town’s most iconic delicacy.
Lastly, no itinerary of Alentejo is complete without visiting the county of Mora. The four parishes of the county -- Brotas, Cabeção, Pavia, and Mora -- are worth a visit for their natural heritage and landscapes, with rivers and brooks that are perfect for relaxing and fishing, and for the public aquarium that’s dedicated to those freshwater ecosystems: Fluviário de Mora.
Brotas was a historical destination for pilgrims visiting the Santuário de Nossa Senhora de Brotas (Sanctuary of Our Lady of Brotas), surrounded by the Casas de Confraria, houses that gave shelter to the pilgrims along the Rua da Igreja (Igreja street). In Cabeção, the river beach Praia Fluvial do Parque Ecológico do Gameiro is an invitation to a cooling swim in Alentejo’s hotter days.
Herdade da Amendoeira
The Mediterranean on the Atlantic coast
Things to do (3)
Herdade da Amendoeira
Azenhas da Seda
Monte da Ravasqueira
Waters of the Alentejo Coast
Fun in Alqueva
Exploring Alentejo’s Outdoors
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