Castelo Branco - Castelo de Vide - Portalegre

16 august 2016 

What to see in Castelo Branco? What to see in Castelo de Vide? What to see in Portalegre? These three towns are conveniently located along the road from Lisbon to south-eastern Portugal and can be visited in a couple of days, perhaps taking advantage of a few hours stops during your travel throughout the country

Castelo Branco is a town known mainly for its gardens, museums and for the medieval old town. Since our itinerary in Portugal includes visiting Castelo de Vide and Portalegre on the same day, we spent the little time available in Castelo Branco staying in the magnificent gardens of the Episcopal Park where, at the entrance, some azulejos decorate a wall and a fountain.
Jardim do Paco Episcopal Gardens of the Episcopal Park
Castelo Branco
The Gardens of Episcopal Park in Castelo Branco (Jardim do Paco Episcopal) have some fountains and pools, among a real labyrinth of box hedges carefully trimmed to obtain the desired shapes.
Statues of the Saints Statue of the seasons
Some statues of the Episcopal Park of Castelo Branco represent the saints, the seasons, the virtues, the months and the continents.
Hedges of boxwood Castelo Branco gardens
The hedges of boxwood modeled with mastery and the fountains of the Episcopal Park of Castelo Branco. There is more to see in Castelo Branco, but due to our tight schedule for today, with two more towns to be visited, we have to proceed quickly for the next stop.
Castelo de Vide
The next stop of the day is Castelo de Vide, a delightful village among the most beautiful and least known of Portugal, perched on the top of a hill. Between the three towns of today's itinerary, Castelo de Vide was certainly the most interesting and that where we spent more time.
D. Pedro V square
The excursion to Castelo de Vide starts from the central D. Pedro V square, which overlooks the church of Santa Maria da Devesa.
Most of the houses and buildings in Castelo de Vide have a white-painted facade, while the tower of the castle dominates the entire village from the top of a hill.
Santa Maria da Devesa Church of Santa Maria da Devesa
The church of Santa Maria da Devesa in Castelo de Vide was built from 1789 and finished almost a century later: it is one of the largest churches in this whole region of Portugal and shows a predominantly Baroque and Corinthian style.
Fonte de Vila
In the historic center of Castelo de Vide there is a delightful marble fountain, Fonte da Vila, built in the 16th century, from where an excellent mineral water flows
Marble fountain
The beautiful Fonte da Vila fountain. The marble has been particularly polished by time, given that, as already mentioned, the structure dates back to the 16th century.
Alley in Castelo de Vide
The alleys in Castelo de Vide old town.
Castle of Castelo de Vide Castelo de Vide - Portugal
A winding narrow road leads to the top of a hill where there is a fortified castle, from which visitors can admire the entire town.
Entrance to the castle
To reach the courtyard of the castle, visitors will have to cross a gloomy corridor.
The castle was built between 1280 and 1365, and its oldest structure is represented by a 12 meters high tower.
A narrow staircase leads to the roof of the tower, from where visitors can admire a splendid panorama, as we will soon see.
Tower of the castle
Castelo de Vide Panorama from the tower
The beautiful view over the town of Castelo de Vide and onto surrounding countryside, from the roof of the tower.

A district of Castelo de Vide stands directly behind the imposing walls of the castle and is the oldest part of the town.
Church of Nossa Senhora da Alegria Azulejos
In the same district stands the church of Nossa Senhora da Alegria, dating back to the 17th century, with a facade adorned by azulejos (ceramic tiles).
Castelo de Vide
More photos of the oldest district of Castelo de Vide, with white-painted houses and cobbled streets.
Door between the walls
Another very picturesque and interesting district of Castelo de Vide is the Judiaria, an ancient Jewish neighborhood founded around the 12th century. In this photo, the original synagogue.
Judiaria - Portugal Old Jewish district in Castelo de Vide
Jewish district in Portugal Judiaria - Castelo de Vide
The Judiaria, the ancient Jewish district of Castelo de Vide, reached its maximum expansion after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in the 15th century. Now the Judiaria is a narrow labyrinth of picturesque alleys, where it is very pleasant to get lost observing the countless views.
Portalegre cathedral
We finally visit Portalegre, last stop of this long day, a charming town with a 18th century main cathedral.
Church in Portalegre Azulejos
Portalegre Alleys in Portalegre
The historic center of Portalegre, a city not yet stormed by mass tourism, has a dense network of narrow streets with white houses enlivened by ocher lines. There are no particular tourist attractions, apart a few museums and a castle that has undergone a controversial restoration campaign.
Portalegre, Portugal
More photos of Portalegre, with its characteristic alleys.

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