Alter do Chao in Portugal’s Alentejo

We had visited Alter Pedroso and Seda on a very cold, wet, and windy day and needed a coffee, so we retreated gratefully into the first smoky bar we found in nearby Alter do Chão. This quiet town is adjacent to a Roman settlement, Abelterium, which was on one of the three main roads connecting Lisbon with Merida – the Roman bridge at Seda is an obvious and lasting sign of Roman presence. There is an archaeological dig at one end of the town with a remarkable and unique mosaic but sadly we have never found it open.

We parked under the Castle built by Pedro I in 1359 and walked round the town with a map from the Tourist Office on the main square.

The 14C Castle in Alter do Chao

The 14C Castle in Alter do Chao

The Church of Senhor Jesus do Outeiro, 17C

The Church of Senhor Jesus do Outeiro, 17C

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The gardens next to the Tourist Office in the main square are interesting but this year they are ‘under renovation’ – I could only peer through the railings – and I look forward to visiting again when they are reopened.

The formal gardens in Alter do Chao

The formal gardens in Alter do Chao

Finally the clouds parted and we drove back to Flor de Rosa, past the Coudelaria de Alter, on the M524, a small back road through the most amazing outcrops of granite, crossing the gorge of the Seda River, and pausing to inspect yet another river in flood, and finally passing the Anta de Tapadao just before the Pousada at Flor de Rosa – an amazing day despite initially unpromising weather.

Granite outcrops on the M524, Alentejo

Granite outcrops on the M524, Alentejo

Granite outcrops on the M524, Alentejo

Granite outcrops on the M524, Alentejo

Granite outcrops on the M524, Alentejo

Granite outcrops on the M524, Alentejo

The Alentejo along the M524

The Alentejo along the M524

A flooded river along the M524

A flooded river along the M524

Anta do Tapadao

Anta do Tapadao