Best kept secret in Portugal!
The Northern Alentejo – Portalegre and Marvão district – is an almost mythical region, a region where time is time and space is space. The Alentejo province is a paradise for hiking, biking or driving around. Routes pass over smuggling paths, show old castles and go through endless kilometers of nature and tranquility. You will find endless plains and mountains, water that entertains and cures, great open spaces in the midst of nature or in those built by man both for ancient wars and for peace. Find out how our ancestors used the stones of the dolmens and menhirs. Enjoy the unique flavors generated in secret in the ancient convents and wineries, the festivals, the music, the dancing, and the local art, where tradition is maintained.
Since prehistoric times this corner of Portugal has been sought by mankind. Over half a hundred dolmens and menhirs – of which that Meada (Castelo de Vide), is the biggest of the Iberian Peninsula – give witness to the high spirits of the megalithic culture.
The Romans surprised the natives in their fortifications. They forced them out and built on the best lands of the valley and plains, the start of our civilization. The Roman town of Ammaia (Marvão) and the Roman villa of Torre de Palma (Monforte), with their beautiful mosaics, retell a little of the splendors of the Empire. Following the Barbarians, the Moors left their imprint on the language, the agriculture, the military architecture (Elvas, Marvão) that the Christians from the North were able to assimilate and transform into anchors of Portuguese nationality.
The castles and town walls of the Northern Alentejo – which form the country’s most important group of fortifications – as well as the headquarters of the powerful military religious orders (Crato, Avis) constitute the eternal documentation of those disturbed times of the fight for independence. They now form a countless heart of historic centers unmatched in Portugal: Marvão – World Heritage candidate – Castelo de Vide, Portalegre, Crato, Alter do Chão, Campo Maior and Elvas show