I love the wideness and openness of the beautiful Alentejo countryside – rolling hills, olive and cork oak trees, and myriads of flowers in the springtime. In the east there are also numerous castles on top of the hills, protecting the border with Spain for hundreds of years. This was a day outing from Vila Viçosa in 2017 when one of those variable days was forecast and countryside walking didn’t seem sensible.
Portel The Castle was built in the 13C as part of King Dinis’ border fortification programme. It was modified in later centuries and rescued from total ruin late in the 20C. On our visit it was closed (!) but might repay a visit at opening times.
The Town Hall is an impressive building, with a crest, but I can’t find anything about its history, which is odd. Dom Nuno Alvares Pereira, Constable of Portugal, was clearly an extraordinary man, born in Flor da Rosa, and remembered with a statue in front of the Town Hall in Portel, amongst other places.
There are many more places to visit in Portel but we were running out of time and we set off again, through beautiful Alentejo countryside. I had noticed a castle symbol on the map and was determined to find it – somewhere near Montoito. We drove out of Montoito on the CM1095 to find the Castle of Valongo.
The Castle of Valongo seems to date from the 13C and is now in private ownership.
And so back to Vila Viçosa.
Interesting blog on Portel with good photographs
Fascinating website – the World of Castles
Hiking Trails around Portel
Historical notes on Portel
Tour of Alentejo Castles – a listing of castles worth seeing