Beja tour

A tour through the heart of Alentejo, among vineyards, medieval castles and archaeological sites, via Alvito, Viana do Alentejo and Portel.

Start this tour in Beja, at the roundabout to the northwest of the city, at the confluence of IP8 (Ferreira do Alentejo) and IP2 (Évora or Castro Verde). Head south by IP8, turning, about 5 km later onto São Brissos, to a secondary road, via Trigaches and Faro do Alentejo, that will take you to Cuba. Proceed towards of Alvito, via Vila Ruiva. Alvito is a town with a most interesting heritage, being worth a stop and a walk. The medieval castle, featuring more as a palace than as a fortress, was converted in 1990 into a Portugal Inn. Continue to Viana do Alentejo, well known for the frescos in the interior of its churches, and also for its famous sausages. On the outskirts of town is the Santuário de Nossa Senhora de Aires, perhaps the most visited in the Alentejo, where an amazing collection of ex-votos has been kept, dating from the nineteenth century to the times of the colonial war. Go now eastward, towards Portel, looking at the large reservoir of Alvito. Portel is situated on the southern slope of the Portel mountain range that separates Alto from Baixo Alentejo. The town was protected by a strong castle, from which a large part of the walled perimeter still remains. It's worth climbing the walkway around and admire the houses and the plain.

 

 

 

On your way to Vidigueira, instead of following the IP2, shift further to the east and go through the network of secondary roads that will pass a number of interesting villages, from Vera Cruz de Marmelar to Alcaria da Serra, where you should stop. Finally, arrive at Vidigueira, the land where Vasco da Gama came to live after its trip to India. It is a picturesque village, where you will feel tempted to give a walk, around the clock tower and the parish church, surmounted by a curious wrought iron weathervane. Next door, you will find Vila de Frades and the most important monument in the region, the Roman ruins of São Cucufate. Here once existed a Roman 'villa', and, later, a small monastery, whose builders reused the previous structures. It is also a land of great wines, which you should take the opportunity to taste. Finally, and now through IP2, return to Beja, in order to complete this tour by lands of Baixo Alentejo.

 

Access: By IP2 or IP8 to Beja.

To have into account: Check with the local tourism offices to confirm the dates of festivals, fairs and other events, from the festival of Nossa Senhora de Aires (Viana do Alentejo) to the "Açordas" Congress, in Portel.

Length: Some 110 km.

Meals: A Esquina (T. 284389238) and A Pipa (T. 284327043), in Beja; Adega da Lua (T. 284412200), in Cuba.

Other spots to visit: Mértola, Mina de São Domingos, Pomarão, Serpa.

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