Below is a short round-up of the highlights of the region:
Arraiolos : Here the craftspeople have perfected the art of their traditional hand made wool carpets and these are displayed throughout its twisting streets. Some of these 17 th and 18 th century inspired designs might make the trip home like many a traveller through the ages. Some even hang in London’s prestigious Albert and Victoria Museum. As well, close by is the nature reserve and if you can fit in just one more castle, the town’s own 14 th Century fortress still has its Gothic arches and Manuelin clocktower all in working order.
Lisbon (Lisboa in Portuguese) - Enjoying Atlantic breezes from its shores, this capital of Portugal since its conquest from the Moors in 1147, was supposedly founded by Ulysess. Wander the old city quarters of Alfama and enjoy riding the Funicular elevator up these steep narrow streets. A lively city, you can always enjoy fado, the mournful national song at many a cozy night place or hit the wonderful array of museums that crowd Lisbon. Built on seven hills, exploring it will get the heart rate going but it will definitely be worth it.
Redondo : A lovely little town with the ruins of a 14th century castle hovering above, and almost like an even higher star floats the church of the Misericórdia.
Monsaraz : Lying close to the Iberian border, this enchanting town could make you believe you are living in another time, so medieval is the place. The steep city walls secure this history and date from the 16 th century. Here is a place to wander and the Gothic church and Palace of Justice are real treats to the architecture buff as is the 14 th century castle that looms above.
Evora: Once the residence of kings, Evora is a real tapestry of Roman, Moorish and Baroque influence, all of which has been wonderfully preserved in this UNESCO heritage city. The pretty narrow lanes spilling flowers are a delight to explore and the curved arched entrance takes one back to its Arabic heritage and you almost might wish you brought your toga when you explore the Roman temple.
Vila Viçosa: Resting on the orchard filled hillsides of this most fertile area; this town spreads out below its castle. So pretty is it that it was even given as a wedding present to Dona Brites, the wife of King Afonso IV. Here the former residences of the dukes and kings are furnished in this area’s marble and they are a delight to visit.
Estremoz: Due to its admirable strategic position in the area, the country’s monarchs flocked here to reign in safety and probably to take advantage of the warm sunlight that floods the area as well.
An interesting town with old fashioned houses and open plazas.