Travel in the Alentejo plain
A train ride from Ponte de Sor and Elvas, enabling the quiet sightseeing of the Alentejo, via Crato and Portalegre.
You can start this route by train in Ponte de Sor or in Entroncamento, as you wish. The East Line follows the Beira Baixa Line till Abrantes, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the views of the Tagus River, especially the islet of Almourol castle. In Abrantes, the East Line goes south, crossing an area of oaks and fields of corn before reaching Ponte de Sor. Inaugurated in 1863, this was the first railway to make a connection abroad (through Elvas). Between Ponte de Sor and Torre das Vargens, this quiet travel amidst the fields, has no much to comment. Torre das Vargens was an important junction as from here was made the connection with the northeast branch of the Cáceres Line, another international link, through the Marvão-Beirã border, built in 1880. Leaving that trip for another day, we head southeast, amidst cork oaks and woods. After passing the desolate but beautiful Chança station, the train goes towards Crato, which medieval castle can be seen from afar. The station presents a pretty and well cared for look, as all of them should, indeed.
Proceeding towards the southeast, on the left one begins to see the São Mamede mountains. While stopped at the wide Portalegre station, take the opportunity to see the tiles. The city is at a 10km driving distance, as it is common in Alentejo, where railway station and town, though having the same name, are somehow distant from each other. This final phase of the journey takes place over a mostly flat plain, cut by a few outcrops of granite and irrigation ponds. After Santa Eulália, begins the approach to Elvas. One of the first things you see on the right, on top of a hill, is the mighty Forte da Graça that was part of the surrounding defensive stronghold. Considering the distance from the station, with its beautiful tiles by Leopoldo Battistini (1933), to the city, it would be advisable to take a cab.
Access: By the North Line until Entroncamento and by the East Line until Ponte de Sor (the train making this itinerary departs from Entroncamento); by road, Ponte de Sor is 30 km south of Abrantes (EN2) and 60 km northeast Coruche (IC13 e EN251).
To have into account: Refer to up-to-date schedules, as there are few connections per day and you may choose to make a round trip on the same day or in different days.
When: Spring or Autumn Other In the Torres das Vargens railway Station you may choose an alternative itinerary towards Castelo de Vide and Marvão.
Meals: O Pompílio (T. 268 611 133) and Pousada de Santa Luzia (T. 268622194), in Elvas.
Other spots to visit: Elvas Fortress, Strongholds of Graça and Santa Luzia.