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
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.
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.
Some statues of the Episcopal Park of Castelo Branco represent the saints, the seasons, the virtues, the months and the continents.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
in Castelo de Vide old town.
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.
To reach the courtyard of the castle, visitors will have to cross a gloomy corridor.
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.
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.
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).
More photos of the oldest district of Castelo de Vide, with white-painted houses and cobbled streets.
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.
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.
We finally visit Portalegre
, last stop of this long day, a charming town with a 18th century main cathedral.
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.
More photos of Portalegre
, with its characteristic alleys.