Marvão: the pearl of northern Alentejo
If I had to choose one word to define my country, Portugal, I would probably choose ‘picturesque’. In fact, in Portugal, everything is picturesque, from tiny villages to big cities. And I think that this word describes Marvão as no other.
Marvão is a small town perched on a (vertiginous) granite crag of Serra de São Mamede Natural Park, in the northern part of Alentejo, a vast and peaceful region beyond the Tagus, just a few minutes away from the spanish border. The town was founded many hundreds of years ago, however, it seems that its medieval walls and gates, its white-washed houses and churches and its cobblestoned alleys exist there since the beginning of times.
The highlight of the town is, without any doubt, its castle, known during centuries as the toughest fortification in the entire country, the one that was totally impossible to be conquered by the spanish, and, once there, it’s easy to see why. It is also said that the views you can get from the top of its towers are the best in the entire Alentejo once it was built in its highest peak. Unfortunately, I’m not able to confirm this once I visited Marvão on a foggy winter morning, what didn’t allowed be to appreciate the surounding landscapes how I would like to, but, at least, I had the opportunity to explore an enchanting town built above the clouds, a peaceful and cosy place that seems to be lost in time where every local that passes by you on the narrow alleys always salutes you with an warm ‘Bom dia!’, so good to be eard on our days, when people care less and less about others.
So that, based on my own experiece, I highly recommend a stop in Marvão for those road tripping along Portugal and for those that are looking for a relaxing getaway from the ustle and bustle of Lisbon and Oporto. If you don’t trust in this beginner blogger, notice that this place was included in the #1 New York Times bestselling book ‘1000 Places To See Before You Die’, as well as in the UNESCO World Heritage Potential Sites List.
Have you ever been in Marvão? Do you want to share more off the beaten path places in Portugal? If so, join the conversation in the comment section bellow.