Disconnect from the routine and rush of city life in the tranquility of Alter do Chão, in the heart of Alto Alentejo.
In the heart of Alentejo, just over two hours away from bustling Lisbon, we find peace and tranquility in Alter do Chão?? Rich in extensive green landscapes, in tradition and history, this village is the refuge you are looking for to escape the stress of everyday life.
The seat of the municipality, its origins date back to Roman times, and which are still visible today in the thermal baths and on the Vila bridge, two of the main points of interest in the town.
abelterium, as it was called in its origins, expanded from the 14th century around the castle, built in 1359 by D. Pedro l. Located in Praça da República, the main point of the village, the castle is still one of the main centers of attraction in Alter do Chão.
Get to know a little more of what the heritage of Alter do Chão has to offer, because this town is not just about history!
What not to miss in Alter do Chão
Alter do Chao Castle
The origin of the Castle dates back to the need to build a fort on the roads that linked Lisbon to Mérida. In 1359, the town charter was reformulated by D. Pedro I, who ordered the construction of the castle where the ruins of the fortification are believed to be.
Due to the reformulation of the charter, King Fernando I gave the village’s domains to the Constable D. Nuno Álvares Pereira, and later, the castle of Alter do Chão would pass to the daughter of D. Nuno Álvares Pereira, who married the Duke of Bragança. The Castle then came to belong to the domains of this house.
It is currently in the possession of the Casa de Bragança Foundation, but classified as a National Monument.
Built on a quadrangular plan, it features schist and granite walls, reinforced by six towers, and its architecture leaves no one indifferent.
Alter Stud Farm
Founded in 1748, this former Royal Stud Farm was intended to prepare horses for the Royal Picaria.
It features 800 hectares dedicated to the Lusitano nobility, one of the ex??libris in the region, where you can take the opportunity to take riding lessons or ride in horse carriages.
If you prefer to give up the practice, take the opportunity to see the foals and mares grazing. You can also visit the riding stables, the stables or the Museum, full of information about the breeding of national horses.
You also don’t want to miss the emblematic “exit of the eguada”, a daily moment when all the mares go out to pasture.
Classified as a Property of Public Interest in 1982, the space of the Roman ruins of the Archaeological Station of Ferragial d’El Rei was discovered in 1954, during the construction work of the municipal football field.
Archaeological interventions revealed part of a thermal building, a Roman house and a necropolis dating from Late Antiquity.
However, these structures represent only a small part of the urban agglomeration that constituted abelterium??
Herdade do Monte Barrão
The Monte Barrão estate has been owned by the family since the 14th century.
Today with 600 hectares of agriculture and livestock, the estate has benefited from numerous investments and has important productions of grapes, melons and watermelon, olives, cereals and fodder.
There is no shortage of spaces and scenarios for country picnics, mountain biking, walking, horseback riding, horse-drawn carriage, balloon, boat rides, or even for modalities in its two dams, including jet-ski, water ski and canoeing.
The dams allow the practice of sport fishing and the observation of different animals, guaranteeing visitors a few days well spent.
And after exploring all the history that Alter do Chão has to offer, it’s time to delight in the best gastronomy the town has to offer.
Here you will be able to delight in typical dishes, regional sweets, DOC wines, DOP products, regional honey, and regional gastronomy specialties.
Every year, the saffron gastronomic week takes place, where this product is the protagonist. The bastard saffron serves as the basis for the preparation of the tasty Yellow Rice that accompanies the lamb stew, a mandatory dish in the region.
And as those who pass through Alter do Chão say that it is «delight yourself and come back», we couldn’t agree more. Explore the little wonders this region has to offer, while resting and enriching your soul.