Marvão, Portugal

Discover how is Marvão, one of the Portuguese villages which best preserve its Arabic essence.

Marvão, Portugal
Marvão, Portugal
© Vítor Oliveira

The Medieval fortified village of Mãrvao is set up at great height over a rock surrounded by a Portuguese countryside landscape region of Alentejo, nearby the Spanish border.


Marvão, Alentejo
Marvão, Alentejo
© Celestino Manuel
Castillo de Marvão
Castillo de Marvão
© Celestino Manuel

Mãrvao was an important stronghold in the defense of Portugal against Castilla, especially during the Portuguese Restoration War (17th century). However, in the 18th century went into decline and ceased to have an army, which allowed the preservation of many of its buildings of the 15th and 16th centuries.

Nowadays, this Portuguese village is characterized by its imposing walls, which are perfectly integrated in the landscape, even being confused with the summit of the rock.

Mãrvao is a nice quiet village, which turns out to be an ideal place to lose touch with everyday life, especially during the sunset and the sunrise, since it offers exceptional panoramic views of the plains and the Serra de São Mamede.

Its streets are narrow and its houses have picturesque roofs. The city is full of colorful flowers and enjoys wonderful views, a magnificent castle, some guest houses and good restaurants.

Marvão is a village to walk calmly. A good itinerary is the one starting in the Portas de Vila towards the Praça do Pelourinho (Pillory Square), where there are located the Paços do Concelho (Council House), the Prison, the Relógio Tower, and the Pelourinho (16th century). This route goes on by the rua do Espírito Santo Street, where it raises the Governor’s House (17th century), and in a small square, the chapel of the same dedication and the Concelho Fountain (17th century) to continue by the rua do Castelo Street until you reach the Mãrvao Castle, which entry is free.

Once you have seen the castle, the itinerary keeps going through the high side of the vilage to visit the Igreja Santa Maria Church (13th-14th centuries), in which inside is hosted the Municipal Museum, with sections about archaeology, epigraphy, ethnography, armory and sacred art.

From the Largo de Santa Maria you access the Santiago one, where you will find the Gothic Temple of Santiago (15th century). On the opposite end of the caste, the Largo do Calvário has an exits through the Santiago’s wicket. From here you can go back to the starting point.

The Marvão village and its mountain ranges are part of the Serra de São Mamede Natural Park. From the village departs an interesting hiking route of 7.5 kilometres which arrives to Portagem going through Abegoa and Fonte Souto, following the stone paved Medieval route.

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