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Made of 86 parishes across 15 municipalities, the Portuguese district of Portalegre, meaning ‘cheerful port’, is part of the Portuguese interior that is the Alentejo. Covering an area of just over 6,000 km2 (2,300 sq mi), it borders Spain, with Castelo Branco to the north, Santarem to the West and Evora on its southern line.

A small population of around 127,000 ‘Portalegrense’ across this vast and delightful landscape produces a population density of just 21 people/km2 (54/sq mi) who bask in average annual sunshine of just under 3,000 hours.

There is much to explore in this area, not least the natural park of the Serra de São Marmede, which is home to the Ammaia Club de Golf do Marvão, one of the first golf courses in the North Alentejo region, designed by the Portuguese architect Jorge Santana da Silva. With its undulating greens, a large number of bunkers and four lakes it should certainly be on the wishlist of any aspiring golf fanatic.

‘Character’ is the best way to describe this unique region. A district that shares a rich history, mountain walks, national parks, watersports and local epicurean delicacies offered to tourists and settlers alike. A slightly eccentric Portalegre feature is the Baja 500 off-road rally competition, first run in 1987.

The Tapestry Museum showcasing four centuries of textiles and the Robinson Cork Factory, set up in the 1800s by an early English migrant offering guided tours and a range of cork products, are just two treasures on the Portalegre trail.

Still set in its original ancient walls, must-see Marvão gives you extensive and awe-inspiring views including the Spanish border just four miles away. The #1 New York Times bestselling book, '1000 Places to See Before You Die' written by the Nobel Prize-winning Portuguese author José Saramago contains the words: ‘It is understandable that from this place, high up in the keep at Marvão Castle, visitors may respectfully murmur, ‘How great is the world’’’.

An international film festival - Periferías, Al-Mossassa, a celebration of the town's Moorish past, held jointly with the Spanish city of Badajoz, and a major Chestnut Festival in early November are part of Marvão attraction too.

Castelo de Vide’s natural and curative spring waters warrant a visit, along with the town’s 13th-century synagogue that hides down labyrinthine cobbled alleyways. Other noteworthy elements of a tour through here should include the menhir of Meada, thought to be the Iberian Peninsula’s tallest at over 7 metres, one of around fifty ancient remains locally; fortified Aviz; Elvas’ castle and elaborate aqueduct, plus Alter do Chão, home of the Alter Real Lusitanian renowned horse breed with associated studs and schools.

Mild, relatively rainy winters and hot, sunny summers are anticipated. But in the district capital, at an altitude of 600 meters (2,000 ft), cold nights can be a feature too. Winter brings fog during periods of high pressure, and summer some intensely hot, 40 °C days. Rainfall ranges from 10 mm (0.4 in) in the driest summer months to 135 mm (5.3 in) in December. 

In terms of industry and livelihood, Campo Maior is the headquarters of Delta Cafés, the market leader of coffee distribution in Portugal, along with their coffee roasting and packaging enterprise. Not surprisingly, economic activity tends to centre around agriculture and livestock raising, with the Iberian pig (Porco Alentejano) a celebrated feature. Nisa municipality lends its name to a famous Portuguese sheep cheese that carries the ‘D.O.P.’ Certificate of Protected Origin. Ponte de Sor is one of Portugal’s main production areas for raw and transformed cork, for global export.

Access Portalegre internationally via Lisbon airport, roughly 200 km to the west, and bear in mind that this district is not rich in major roads, the IC13 being an exception linking Portalegre to Valencia de Alcántara in Spain. This is an essentially rural district, which may be a challenge to those seeking the best of medical and educational facilities, Portalegre does, however, have a Polytechnic Institute.

Property is plentiful here and not too highly-priced.

Expect to pay € 400 - 500 hundred per month to rent a three-bedroom apartment in the city and upwards of 75,000 to purchase one.

A District for those seeking a quieter lifestyle.

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Portalegre from Facebook

Portalegre Council (Câmara)

If you are planning a trip to view properties in this District and need help or guidance, get in touch Contact us and we will put you in touch with a property expert that speaks your language. 

For a detailed look at the area topography please click here

If you are planning a trip to view properties in this District and need help or guidance, get in touch Contact us and we will put you in touch with a property expert that speaks your language. 

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Municipalities Wikipedia/Additional Photos

Alter do Chão
Campo Maior
Castelo de Vide
Ponte de Sor
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