One key feature of Borba is the remains of the medieval perimeter walls. Throughout history, they have defended the town over many battles. The first mention of fortifications here dates back to King D. Afonso II who took the town from the Moors in 1217. For a time, Borba was a frontier town within Portugal's expanding territories. The task of defending these new boundaries against the Arabs fell to the Benedictine monastic and military order of São Bento de Avis. The ramparts lie on a quadrangular contraction, common for its time. Its thick outer walls are topped with Gothic merlons, a wide parapet running along its perimeter and a very pronounced moat.
In 1297 Portugal's borders were finally established by the Treaty of Alcanices, and Borba found itself once again a frontier town. This time however it was frontiered to the increasingly powerful Kingdom of Castile. In 1303 it became necessary to reaffirm this new line of defence. Orders came from king D. Dinis to strengthen Portugal's fortifications. These works are recorded in an inscription found on the south façade written in archaic Portuguese.
The modifications made at Borba proved valuable later during the War of Restoration when in 1665 AD the decisive battle in this war was fought in the immediate vicinity at the battle of Montes Claros. It was to nature that the walls finally succumbed. The earthquake of 1755 demolished much of the structure. What remains today include two gates, Porta do Celeiro (the Granary Gate) and Porta de Estremoz, along with Torre do Relógio (Clock Tower and Keep) and long sections of the wall.
A series of four chapels representing the four stations of the cross used in ceremonial processions designed to contemplate the Passion of Christ. They date from the mid-18th century. Their façades are carved from local marble. The work was designed by architect José Francisco de Abreu under the instruction of the Brotherhood of the Lord Jesus of the Steps of Borba. The four chapels found are the Passo dos Terceiros, Passo Alto da Praça, Passo da Rua da Aramenha and Passo da Rua Marquês de Marialva, which are the largest of such processional steps in Portugal, however, they're not the first. They follow a tradition that started in Évora in 1719 and is also found in vila Viçosa and Estremoz.
Located within the Praça da Republic gardens this magnificent sculptured fountain is one of Borba's most iconic monuments. Crafted in 1781 out of local marble to supply the local population water via the mouths of five lion-headed spouts protruding out of the stone. The pond at the rear of the fountain is there to water livestock. It also contains the busts of D. Maria I and D. Pedro III to mark their royal visit to the town. The front is decorated by four pillars topped with garlands above which there is a conical roof containing the royal coat of arms.
Rua das Casas Novas, 7150-106, Borba, Portugal. | 38° 48′ 25.3″ N | 07° 26′ 49.6″ W
This large convent was built in the 17th Century and once belonged to the Order of St. Clare. From the outside takes on a sombre appearance in a style known in Portugal as "plain architecture". Inside its single nave and sidewalls are festooned with patterned azulejo panels topped by a ceiling adorned with fresco paintings. Above one of the doorposts is a marble cartouche in the transitional baroque-rococo style, placed there in homage to one of the abbesses, Dona Isabel da Natividade, and the royal coat of arms of D. João V. The high altar, situated at a much higher level than the rest of the church, has an interesting Mannerist altarpiece, in which the wood carving is in perfect harmony with the paintings.
The cloisters are on two levels and one of the largest found in Portugal. In the centre is an interesting fountain decorated with azulejo tiles. Annexed to the church is the Capela da Ordem Terceira de São Francisco (Chapel of the Third Order of St. Francis) founded in 1676. Its façade is interestingly clad with two-tone chequered mosaics.
Terreiro das Servas, 7150 Borba, Portugal. | 38° 48′ 25.0″ N | 07° 27′ 37.2″ W
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The Battle of Montes Claros was fought on 17 June 1665, four kilometres (2.5 miles) southwest of Borba. The battle was the defining moment in the Portuguese Restoration War when Portugal regained independence from Spain. It was a bloody victory against the vast number of Spanish cavalry who met against Portuguese artillery fire. After seven hours of savage fighting, the Portuguese and their British allies were able to counterattack, forcing the Spanish to retreat to Badajoz. Three years later, the Spanish the Treaty of Lisbon and acknowledged the House of Braganza as Portugal's new ruling dynasty.
The National Monument of Montes Claros is made of local white marble and has a Doric column bearing the royal crown. It stands on a tall plinth that is inscribed with the events that took place. The monument is located just north of the village of Bencatel on a back road surrounded by vineyards.
Rio de Moinhos, 7150, Portugal.
38° 45' 50.6" N | 07° 28' 19.2" W
The Adega COOP Borba is one of Portugal's most respected and appreciated co-operatives. Known for producing the famous Borba full-bodied reds and mature whites and rosé wines. Founded in 1955 by a group of dynamic winegrowers whose intention was to market and maximise demand for the wine made by small local producers.
For the past few years, Adega de Borba has been creating infrastructure dedicated to welcome wine tourists. These include have a spacious tasting room, an auditorium for 60 people and a room for 150 people. These spaces are used to organise business gatherings, seminars, training sessions and wine tasting courses. During the visit, you will discover the winery. A short film explains the history of the winery and the highlights throughout the year. You will then walk through the vinification centre, cellar, bottling zone before finally tasting some of the wines. You can buy wine at the Adega's large shop. Tastings and other activities should be booked in advance by using the contact details below.
Monday – Saturday: 09h30 – 07h00, Sunday: CLOSED
Largo Gafa Coutinho e Sacadura Cabral 25, Apartado 20, 7151-913, Borba, Portugal.
38° 42' 45.3" N | 09° 08' 39.2" W | +351 268 891 660
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Ideally located in the centre of Borba this former 18th century palace is an idyllic choice when staying within the area, This guest house has been tactfully restored for your comfort and contains many pieces of classical furniture and original furnishings. Each room is fully fitted with a private bathroom and TV. There's also a swimming pool on site at your disposal and a garden.
Rua da Cruz 5, Borba 7150-125, Portugal.
38º 48" 15.8' N | 07º 27"16.9' W
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Quinta do Barreiro offers a garden and free WiFi. All units feature air conditioning and a flat-screen TV. Guests at the farm stay can enjoy a continental breakfast. A terrace is available for guests to use at Quinta do Barreiro.
7150-231 Borba, Portugal.
38° 48' 07.4" N | 07° 27' 37.4" W
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Set in Borba, Alojamento L&R (Quartos) has a restaurant, bar, garden, and free WiFi throughout the property. Boasting room service, this property also provides guests with a terrace. Private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. All guest rooms in the capsule hotel are fitted with a coffee machine. At Alojamento L&R (Quartos) all rooms have a private bathroom. Guests at the accommodation can enjoy a buffet breakfast.
Monte Novo da Carrascosa, 7150-246 Borba, Portugal.
38° 48' 24.6" N | 07° 27' 29.7" W
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Located in a rural setting a couple of miles out of Borba in Alcaraviça which offers a pleasant environment to enjoy your meal. During peak season you can sit on a terrace and watch the animals stroll past or enjoy the sunset. The food is local cuisine cooked to to a high stand yet the prices are happily great value for money. The staff are friendly and welcoming. All in all eating here is a pleasant experience.
Tuesday - Sunday: 10h00 – 02h00, Monday: CLOSED
Monte das Naves de Cima, 7150, Alcaraviça, Borba, Portugal.
38º 42' 16.9" N | 09º 10' 09.17" W | +351 268 891 069
Located close to the Adgea Borba COOP the O Serrote restaurant is easy to miss due to the lack of signage yet a little time hunting down this restaurant is worth the effort. A small family run establishment with a homely atmosphere. The dishes are local cuisine, well cooked and presented. Portions are large yet prices are small.
Daily: 07h00 – 24h00, Tuesday: CLOSED
Rua Dr. Ramos de Abreu 21, 7150-158, Borba, Portugal.
38º 48' 20.9" N | 07º 27' 26.0" W | +351 2268 894 780
House specifies include octopus with rice, their house style bacalhau amongst other regional and national classics. You'll be warmly received and be awarded a prompt and friendly service. The food is top notch and portions are belly busting.
Tuesday - Sunday: 12h00 – 16h00/19h00 – 221h00, Monday: CLOSED
Rua Mateus Pais 31, Borba, 7150-136, Portugal.
38º 48' 13.8" N | 07º 27' 24.7" W | +351 268 894 332
Lisbon airport is 178 km (110 miles) West of Borba:
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Borba can be reached from Lisbon alang the A6 which runs east towards Spain.
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