Portalegre's old town is characterised by a mish-mash of narrow cobbled streets with crumbling whitewashed buildings and the remnants of medieval fortifications. At the heart of the old town sitting on the highest elevation are the ruins of a 13th-century castle. During medieval times Portalegre had great strategic importance as a frontier town to neighbouring Spain and was thus heavily fortified.
During the war with Napoleon the castle served as a barracks for British troops however by the mid-eighteenth century, Portalegre's focus shifted from defence to commerce. An economic boom resulting from its fabric and silk trades has left a legacy of fine late Renaissance and Baroque buildings in the city, from grand mercantile palaces to fine churches and elegant squares. Much of the city's fortifications were removed to make way for a new street layout or integrated into new buildings. Today there's a contemporary vistor centre constructed from glass, slate and wood located in the castle courtyard. Spread over three floors the building allows insight into the original structure and tantalising views from some of the windows. The visitor centre incororates a Temporary Exhibition Gallery and a walkway to the keep.
Tuesday – Sunday: 9h30 – 13h00/14h30 – 18h00, Monday: CLOSED | FREE
Rua Luís Barahona, Portalegre, Alentejo, Portugal. | 39° 17' 25.7" N | 07° 25' 50.7" W
+351 245 307 540 | email@example.com
The pyramidal bell towers of the Cathedral (Sé) dominate Portalegre's skyline and lies on the west side of the Praça do Município. The Cathedral dates from 1556 when the first foundation stones were laid over the remains of the church of Santa Maria do Castelo on the behest of king João III. Work was finally completed in 1575 when the Cathedral was dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption, the town’s patron saint.
The building's original late Renaissance style has undergone many alterations over the aeons, most dramatically the Baroque styling of the main portal and façade and the domineering bell towers added in the 18th century.
Its ripple-aisled Renaissance interior houses an altarpiece of eight panels featuring 96 mainly Mannerist paintings, the largest collection in Portugal. The walls are adorned with remarkable 16th-century azulejo tiles. On display, there are several artworks and sculptures by prominent artists such as Francisco Venegas, Gaspar Coelho, Fernão Gomes, Diogo Teixeira, Pedro Álvares Pereira and Simão Rodrigues.
Tuesday: 08h15 – 12h00, Wednesday – Sunday: 08h15 – 12h00/14h30 – 18h00, Monday: CLOSED | FREE
Praça do Município, 7300-110 Portalegre, Portugal. | 39° 17' 28.4" N | 07° 26' 01.1" W
+351 245 309 480
Alongside the cathedral is an eighteenth-century mansion which was once an old Diocesan Seminary and now houses the Museu Municipal. The building dates back to the late 16th century but was remodelled in 1765 by bishop João de Azevedo, whose coat of arms is emblazoned on the main façade. The museum's collection consists of religious artefacts sourced from the convents of Portalegre, in particular, the Convents of São Bernardo and Santa Clara in addition to private collections donated to the Museum. The most notable collections come from Dr Cayola Zagallo, who founded the museum in the 1960s, a curious selection of snuff boxes and Chinese porcelain donated by José de Andrade Sequeira, a Naval Medical Captain, who collected while on his voyages. The religious artefacts on display include a 16th-century Renaissance-style Italian armoire, the low-relief 15th-century gothic "Piety", the Italian 18th-century ivory high-reliefs, the Indo-Portuguese Our Lady of Conception from the 17th century and the 16th-century painting of Our Lady of Patience, in which Christ sits in contemplation.
Tuesday – Sunday: 09h00 – 13h00/14h30 – 17h00, Monday: CLOSED | FREE
Rua José Maria da Rosa, 7300-256 Portalegre, Portugal. | 39° 17' 29.0" N | 07° 26' 01.2" W
+351 245 307 525 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Website
The Convento de São Bernardo is one of Portalegre's seven convents and is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. The convent has an assortment of architectural styles varying from 16th-century Manueline, from the time of construction, to 18th-century Baroque. Today the convent serves no religious purpose following the dissolution of the monasteries in 1834. However, when it was built in 1572, the convent housed "maidens without dowry" who would serve as nuns. Following a period of functioning as the city's museum, the convent became a training college for the Republican Guard (GNR: Guarda Nacional Republicana) in 1911. Certain areas of the convent are open to the public, such as the cloisters, chapterhouse, chapel and corridors and are well worth your time and effort.
The walls of the arched corridors are adorned with beautiful 18th-century azulejo panels depicting scenes from St Bernardo's life. There are two cloisters, one Manueline and the other Renaissance. The larger of the two incorporates a beautiful marble fountain at its centre. There is also a small chapel which houses the fine 16th-century marble pulpit crafted by French sculptor, Nicolau de Chantereine, with its decorative gargoyles. The chapel is also the resting place of the bishop who founded the convent, Jorge de Melo. It is said his marble tomb is one of the largest and most sumptuous in all of Portugal. It was once described by King Philip II of Spain as "such a great cage for such a small bird".
Daily: 09h00 – 12h30/14h00 – 19h00 | FREE
Avenida George Robinson, 7300-070, Portalegre, Portugal. | 39° 17' 44.6" N | 07° 25' 37.2" W
+351 245 307 400
Portalegre's prominent tapestry factory, the last of the town's huge textile industry whose heyday was during the 17th and 18th centuries, occupies the Jesuit Cológio de São Sebastião monastery. The building has been tastefully restored and now serves as council offices. Since 2001 this fine building is also home to the Museu da Tapeçaria de Portalegre Guy Fino or Gui Fino Tapestry Museum, named after its founder. The museum outlines the history of Portalegre's famous tapestry tradition incorporating examples of antique looms and samples of 5000 colours of wool used. Each tapestry is individually crafted using a hand loom technique that allows the gradations and shades of a painting or a drawing to be perfectly reproduced. Manufacture continues and each tapestry is hand signed by the artist and is extremely valuable.
Tuesday – Sunday: 09h00 – 13h00/14h30 – 18h00, Monday: CLOSED | Adult: €2.10, Child: €1.00
9 Rua da Figueira, 7300-231 Portalegre, Portugal. | 39° 17' 33.4" N | 07° 25' 58.3" W
+351 245 307 530 | email@example.com | Website
A winding road takes you to the summit of the Serra de São Mamede where Marvão awaits to reward your efforts with amazing panoramas. The border town of Marvão feels remote and lost in a former epoch. Enclosed within the seventeenth-century walls are a hodge-podge of narrow cobbled roads that haven't changed for hundreds of years. The age-old buildings are whitewashed with granite window and door frames. The Castle in the village is built on top of a 13th-century original, which in places, was built into the living rock. There are a couple of museums to get a more in-depth insight into the town's history and a few craft shops to find a gift to take home. If you decide to stay more than a day you'll have Marvão more or less to yourself at night. Marvão does make a great base to spend a few days exploring the treasures found in the surrounding area.
[ More About ► ]
| Castelo de Vide
Twenty kilometres (12mi) north of Portalegre, the small town of Castelo de Vide is one of the gems of the Alto Alentejo. The town's castle sits majestically on the tallest peak for miles around and the picturesque white-washed town surrounds it. The streets are narrow and cobbled. There's a large Judiaria (Jewish quarter) here and the synagogue dates from the 13th century. Vibrant colours burst out of flower boxes and climbing vines. Small quaint squares and shaded gardens kept cool with age-old water fountains. Castelo de Vide has preserved its medieval layout and architecture and oozes old-timey charm. Spend a day aimlessly wandering the warren of streets or stay a couple of days to explore the surrounding area that's full of megalithic monuments, vestiges of Roman occupation and time-defiant castles. [ More About ► ]
Located in the heart of historical Portalegre, Rossio Hotel is a themed eco-friendly, boutique hotel. It features solar panels, UTA units in the rooms and reuses rainwater for several purposes. The hotel comes with a sun terrace overlooking the city and mountain ranges. Each spacious room is equipped with a flat-screen cable TV, a sofa and a minibar. The private bathroom comes with free toiletries. Some rooms also come with a spa bath, which guests can use along with bath salts, at an extra cost.
Daily, guests can enjoy a buffet breakfast in the well-glazed dining room that provides extensive natural light. There are several cafés, bars and restaurants within a five-minute walk which offer regional and national regional fare. There is a 24-Hour Front Desk.
Portalegre Castle and Museu José Régio are a ten minute walk away. Guests can exercise in the fitness centre or relax in the spa bath. The tour desk can help to organise a day of sightseeing, hiking and day trips.
6 Rua 31 de Janeiro, 7300-211 Portalegre, Portugal. | 39° 17' 42.3" N | 07° 25' 47.3" W
Situated three kilometres from Portalegre, Quinta Altamira features accommodation with free WiFi and free private parking. There is also a kitchen in some of the units equipped with a fridge, a microwave, and a stovetop. Guests at the apartment can enjoy a continental breakfast each morning. Quinta Altamira has a terrace so guests can enjoy the impressive views. You can also swim in the outdoor swimming pool, go hiking or fishing or simply relax in the garden.
55 Estrada da Serra, Quinta de Altamira, 7300-085 Portalegre, Portugal. | 39° 18' 42.1" N | 07° 25' 26.1" W
Located in the heart of São Mamede Natural Park, Quinta da Dourada offers a tranquil retreat for nature lovers. This environment-friendly farmhouse has won the Green Key and offers spacious gardens and country-style accommodation. The main farmhouse of the property offers rooms and suites with LCD TV and wooden furnishings. The communal dining area includes a fireplace and there is also a communal lounge where you can relax with other guests. Quinta da Dourada has a seasonal outdoor pool, a children’s playground and table tennis. Guests can enjoy their scenic surroundings with a walk.
Parque Natural Da Serra de S.Mamede-Ribeira de Niza, 7300-409 Portalegre, Portugal. | 39° 18' 55.2" N | 07° 23' 45.8" W
A welcoming family orientated restaurant offering traditional Alentejan cuisine using only the best ingredients the region can offer. Chicken and fish are grilled to perfection. The choice of dishes on offer can be paired by a choice of local wines or regional craft beers.
Tuesday – Sunday: 09h30 – 21h30, Monday: CLOSED | 15 Praca da Republica 9, Portalegre 7300-109, Portugal.
39° 17' 24.5" N | 07° 25' 49.8" W
+351 245 201 862 | firstname.lastname@example.org
The team at Tomba Lobos care greatly about your dining experience. The extensive menu is packed with traditional dishes of the Alentejo, all cooked with a creative twist and thoughtfully presented. Only the best local ingredients are used and the chef at Tomba Lobos makes the most of what is in season. The staff are warm, friendly and attentive. A sommelier expertly pairs your meal with a local wine suggestion. This atmospheric restaurant is located in the old town of Portalegre. The dining area is found behind a bar area and the tables lie under a vaulted ceiling. A final treat arrives at the end of the meal with the surprisingly great value of the bill.
Wednesday – Saturday: 12h30 – 15h00/19h30 – 22h00, Sunday: 12h30 – 15h00, Monday & Tuesday: CLOSED
2 Rua 19 de Junho, Portalegre, 7300-126, Portugal. | 39° 17' 25.1" N | 07° 25' 51.8" W
+351 282 457 077 | email@example.com
This hidden gem tucked away down a long narrow cobbled street in Portalegre's old town is well worth any effort to locate it. Over the centuries the establishment has been an inn, a butcher’s shop, a grocer and a tavern until 2001 when it was transformed it into a restaurant of traditional Portuguese cuisine with a strong regional influence. The restaurant's main focus is the tradition of bullfighting and the meat from the bull is much prized here. Other Alentejan traditional dishes are also expertly prepared and served here, including cozido à Portuguesa (served on Thursdays), ox tail with chickpeas, pork kidney from the Alentejo black pig roasted in the oven, pork shoulder, wild veal cheeks and leg of pork.
The unassuming façade is deceptive and the small dining area within lies beneath brick arches. The décor alludes to the "festa brava" when the bull is let loose through the streets. The tables sport traditional Alentejo chairs made from bulrush, cloth tablecloths and fine glasses and cutlery.
Monday – Friday: 12h30 – 15h30/19h30 – 22h30, Saturday: 12h30 – 22h3o, Sunday: CLOSED
14 Rua Candido dos Reis, Portalegre, 7300-129, Portugal. | 39° 17' 26.7" N | 07° 25' 46.1" W
+351 245 330 866 | firstname.lastname@example.org
196km (122 miles) east of Lisbon Airport Website
GET A GREAT DEAL ON FLIGHTS:
Follow the A6 and IP2 Weest from Lisbon 225km (140 miles). Latitude - 37º 17" 47.4' | Longitude - 07º 25" 42.4'
GET A GREAT DEAL ON CAR HIRE:
Two trains run to Portalegre from Entrocamento per day with conections from Porto, Aveiro, Porto and Lisbon. Portalegres train station (Estação de Comboios de Portalegre) is twelve kilometres (10 mi) south of the city. A shuttle bus between the two is a 15 minute journey.