On the way to Marvão, the travel plan is simple: set out for the hills and contemplate. But, much like happiness, it is the journey that counts, not (just) the destination, with the beautiful national road between Castelo de Vide and Marvão ahead of you. This road is also known as the “Tunnel of Trees”, or “Alameda dos Freixos” (Promenade of Ash Trees), and many consider it to be the most beautiful road in Portugal. Seen in the distance, the Marvão Fortress shapes the landscape into an impressive scenery. Built to fend off invaders, it is clear from its privileged position why it was so very successful as the first defensive line in Portuguese territory. Upon reaching your destination, outside the fortress village and right in the middle of Serra of São Mamede, it is time to leave the car behind and take a walk and enjoy Nature from a privileged view. As José Saramago wrote in his non-fiction book “Journey to Portugal”, it is not surprising then that, from the Tower of the Castle of Marvão, every traveller murmurs respectfully:“How wide is the world.” Throughout the territory there is a respectful relationship between people and Nature. Land of good wine, oil, chestnuts and honey, you can find shops where you can savour and buy some local products. Follow the suggestions by All About Portugal and set aside a weekend to get to know this charming village.
Arrival in Marvão
Forget the car and embark on this adventure on foot. After crossing the Gates of Ródão (significant geological formation), immerse yourself in the tranquil atmosphere of this place, as you walk along Rua de Cima and enjoy the medieval settlement of Marvão. Along the alleys, one can find arched doors and many stairs, which give access to some cafés and restaurants with inviting terraces, from where you can enjoy the mountain landscape.
Castle of Marvão
It is the main destination of this trip. So, once you are inside the medieval walls, head towards the Castle of Marvão, whose construction is thought to have started in 1299, and admire the magnificent 360-degree view of the area. Also from this place Saramago, Nobel Prize for Literature, wrote for posterity: “From Marvão you can see almost the whole land”.
Viewpoint of Marvão
Along the walls of Marvão, any spot is a potential viewpoint over the land and the never ending horizon. But there are some specific points that, due to the absence of obstacles, turn out to be the perfect backdrop for your photographs. This one in particular is one of the most appreciated by tourists.
Garden of Marvão
The concern with creating gardens and leisure spaces has been obvious. But the garden at Largo de Santa Maria is one of the most beautiful and labyrinthine. In addition, it is an ideal space to explore with the family, as children love it, without losing sight of the castle and the magnificent landscape while strolling through the paths. An unparalleled experience of contact with Nature and its surroundings.
There is no travel guide about Marvão that does not mention the village of Portagem. Even local people suggest this location as a reference for lunch or dinner. If it is hot, we suggest a lunch on the terrace of the Sever Restaurant, under a refreshing canopy of shade trees. You can also stroll along the banks of the River Sever, towards the Roman Bridge. Along the way, you will find a Natural Pool, where you can take a dip in the summer.
Railway Station of Marvão-Beirã
Just 10 kilometres from Marvão, the borough of Beirã certainly deserves a visit. This is where the old Railway Station of Marvão-Beirã is located. The train no longer passes here, but part of the station building was, in 2013, converted into a nice accommodation, the Train Spot Guesthouse, which preserved the building's 19th century design.
Rail Bike Marvão
Precisely at the old Marvão-Beirã train station, Rail Bike Marvão created an innovative idea: exploring the region by pedalling on the train tracks. It is a kind of roller cart or soapbox, but on top of rails. This is undoubtedly a fun and sustainable way to get to know the region. With a capacity for two people, you can choose between two routes: “A Ponte” (The Bridge) and “Castelo de Vide” (Castle of Vide), both circular. Suggestion: although you can enjoy this experience at any time during the day, choose to do it in the morning if you would like to avoid high temperatures. With luck, you’ll be just in time to delight in the song of the swallows that make the station their "home".
Walk through the Serra de São Mamede Natural Park
A vast and extensive territory, the Serra de São Mamede invites you to go hiking, where you can find streams and green meadows, unlike what happens in other regions of the Alentejo, usually drier and more arid. Venture out and discover the natural wonders of this park.
Roman City of Ammaia
If you are a history buff, don't miss the opportunity to visit the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Ammaia, located in São Salvador de Aramenha. Numerous archaeological excavations have been carried out on this site, which you can find at the “Museum-city” of Ammaia. It is a fitting last stop, as it anticipates the end of this journey, when the warrior can finally rest.