Last year we enjoyed a visit to Portalegre and afterwards drove back to the Pousada at Flor de Rosa via the scenic route – through the countryside behind Portalegre – the Sao Mamede Park. It was May and the yellow and white brooms were flowering everywhere – it was gorgeously beautiful!
The coffee break was in Alegrete, a peaceful hilltop village in the middle of the Park, and close to the Spanish border. As a result of its location it is walled, with a castle. One story tells that this was a Moorish castle, reconquered by a Portuguese King in the 12C; another says it was built (or rebuilt) in the 13C by the Portuguese.
Over the years we have dipped in and out of the Sao Mamede Park but I think it would be a good area to stay in a holiday house because there is a lot to see and do in the area. Way back in 2013 we visited the Roman site of Ammaia, founded as a city in 1C and a lot more archaeological work may have taken place since then. In the 5C-9C the city declined and the Moors moved up the mountain, into Marvão.
I haven’t been back to Marvão for several years, during which time several international festivals have been created in the town. José Saramago wrote a wonderful book ‘Journey to Portugal’, in which he says: ‘..From Marvão one can see the entire land. It is understandable that from this place, high up in the keep at Marvão Castle, visitors may respectfully murmur, ‘How great is the world.’ ..’.
An interesting walk starts at the bottom of the hill, in Portagem, the PR1 in the Sao Mamede Park.
Another lovely walk sets out from Galegos – the Coffee Smugglers Route, which I wrote about in 2016. And every year, if possible, we walk on the Mediaeval Road out of Carreiras – post to come!
Walks in Portugal