Alto Alentejo tour
A circular tour, linking Portalegre to two towns filled with history, Castelo de Vide and Marvão, through the São Mamede mountain range and the Roman ruins of Ammaia.
Exit Portalegre towards Marvão, by a road that shortly afterwards becomes sinuous, and start climbing the foothills of the Sao Mamede Mountain (EN359). This first part of the way allows you to enjoy the features of this mountain, tall and green, an exception in a mostly flat and dry Alentejo. When the road begins to descend into the valley of Sever, you will sight up the rocky cliff crowned by the walls of Marvão. Strategic point of defense of the border, it has been inhabited since times immemorial. But to get there, you have to go through the village of Portagem, on the banks of that river. Here they used to charge a transit tax, the defense of the site being reinforced by a watchtower. At that time, access to the citadel was made by a sidewalk, still existing today, winding through chestnut and oak woods. Up there, visitors can only be touched by the fascinating maze of Marvão narrow streets, stairways and small squares. Inevitably all these tours culminate in the wall from where one can have the most superb views of Portugal and Spain. It's worth climbing to the highest point of the town, where the last stronghold of the castle was built.
In the path to Castelo de Vide, confirm the exact location of the Roman ruins of Ammaia, since the access is not one completely clear. The ruins have been excavated in recent decades, uncovering traces of an important Roman city that flourished here after the I century AD. A museum displays the bulk of the estate here exhumed. Castelo de Vide is a little more than ten minutes drive from Marvão (EN246-1). It's another town full of history, with medieval castle and remains of a Jewish quarter. During the early days of the persecutions of the Inquisition, in the Catholic Kings' Spain, many Jews could find here a temporary refuge. Nearby, climb the Ermida da Penha to have an overall view of Castelo de Vide and the surrounding region. Return to Portalegre by secondary road of Alagoas, or by EN246 (Carreiras), to take another view of the São Mamede mountain and its surroundings.
Access: By IP2, after A2 Estremoz node or A23 Gardete node.
To have into account: The ascent from Portagem to Marvão can be made on foot by the medieval sidewalk (30 to 45 minutes). Also in Marvão, considering the traffic restrictions, it is advisable to park outside the wall.
Length: Some 70 km, ending by the Malveira node of A8.
Meals: Sever (T. 245 993 318 ) and Mil Homens (T. 245 993 122), in Portagem/Marvão.
Other spots to visit: The tiles in Marvão-Beirã Station and Nisa.