It is easy to wander around the town and find views in Portalegre. The town is full of layers of time, on top of a hill, and close to the substantial hills in the Sao Mamede Park. It is a delightful town to visit and repays many visits.
The Cathedral was built in the 1500s-1600s and is a fine building on top of one of the hills, set in an open square and surrounded by imposing mansions. Fortunately it was open and we had a quick look inside, but a service was imminent and we didn’t linger.
Castle and Walls
Portalegre is close to the Spanish border and so would have been important for the defence and safeguarding of Portugal. To find a walled town with a castle is therefore not surprising.
The castle dates from the 13th century and was reinforced in the 15th the 16th centuries. Today there is a small museum in the castle but that was firmly closed when we passed – pity. There were once twelve towers and seven gates in the walls so it was a substantial fortification.
Sights in Portalegre
The cobbled streets are narrow and quiet in the old town, and the hill is very steep indeed – how do people live here? There are many grand palaces and I love the practice of statues in the streets. We also saw this in Spain, and I particularly remember Oviedo.
The Jardim da Corredoura is a large park which is rather hidden away but it was good to walk along the avenue of London plane trees and just enjoy slightly warmer weather.
The covered market was of course spotlessly clean!
Cross-country to Flor da Rosa
And then it was time to meander back to the Pousada, slowly and cross-country. It allowed time to follow sheep, and stop and look at a river, and picture flowers!
Portalegre is a lovely town in which to spend a day, enjoying the views, visiting sites which are open, and generally just easing off before returning to reality. A definite must-visit!