By the Guadiana riverside
A tour between Vila Real de Santo António and Alcoutim, via Castro Marim, and taking the right bank of the Guadiana as a fundamental reference.Vila Real de Santo António is the only city in Algarve with a clear mark of Pombaline architecture in its centre - in fact its building from scratch was ordered by the Marquis of Pombal, between 1773 and 1775.
Exit towards north by EN122 in the direction of Castro Marim. This is a much older town and it is located on a strategic point of the border. It has two fortifications, a medieval one and another from the sixteenth century (Forte de São Sebastião), each one on a different hill. Since 2007, the castle houses a renovated museum that seeks to enhance the archaeological heritage of the county. Adjacent to it, the peaceful landscapes of the marsh, protected by the status of natural reserve.
Gone are the days when the most southern section of EN122 was a hell of curves. The route was amended and it presents now an excellent condition along the dams of Beliche and Odeleite. In the latter one, exit by the right and follow signs to Guerreiros do Rio, going down to meet the right bank of the Guadiana river and along the picturesque coastal road that leads to Alcoutim. There is always the possibility of renting a boat for a stroll by the river or visit a small but interesting museums that show how, since ancient times, successive settlers took advantage of the richness of the waters of this river. This is the case of the Museum of the River, at the village of Guerreiros do Rio, which evokes the history of the Guadiana and the local memory. Moreover, the town is picturesque and its riverside landscapes are very beautiful.
You cannot miss to visit Alcoutim, with houses climbing the hill up to the symbolic protection of the walls of a medieval castle, From here, you will enjoy fantastic views, including, on the other side, the village historic partner for business or skirmishes, San Lucar. There are some options to consider with regard to accommodation and meals (ask at the tourist office). The place has a specific, appealing quietness. Yet you may have rather to go on for a few more kilometers. That being the case, drive northwards to visit the town-museum of Mértola (35 km). Another possibility is to turn left and take the EN124 in the direction of Martim Longo, to visit villages such as Giões or Vaqueiros.
Access By Via do Infante till the junction of Castro Marim
To have into account You can extend the tour westward from Alcoutim, linking to Martim Longo
When Spring or Summer
Length Some 50 km
Meals Caves do Guadiana (T. 281544498), Pizza 2 (T. 281543157), in Vila Real de Santo António
In the vicinity Mértola, Martim Longo