Why dazzling Estremoz is Portugal’s most underrated town


Though perhaps not quite well-accoutred enough for a longer stay, what Estremoz was able to offer seemed perfectly calibrated for a low-key weekend break. There was a clutch of museums, good for a morning mooch, best of which was the huge Berardo collection of azulejos (tiles) splendidly displayed in the baroque Palácio Tocha. 

On my strolls around town I had fun spotting the local marble in ever more surprising guises, from benches to bathtubs, sinks to staircases, cups to cobbles. A particular pleasure was Estremoz’s legion of bric-à-brac shops – among them Casbablanca, a hole-in-the-wall locale where French interior-design maven Aurèle Lefaucheux held court, mixing and matching Alentejano crafts with mid-century vintage pieces and Moroccan carpets. 

On Sunday morning, I walked through the battlements into the alleys of a fortified upper town where orange trees hung over whitewashed walls, their branches laden with ripe fruit. An occasional car rattled by on the undulating cobbles. In a patch of rough ground within the castle walls, a donkey brayed. 

From the top of the picture-book medieval tower crowning the town, built (of course) entirely in bright white marble, I looked out over a modest urban sprawl which fizzled out into a gentle landscape of olive groves and vineyards.    

Late at night, through my bathroom window at Casa do Gadanha, I caught another beatific vision: the citadel where I’d stood and gazed that morning, shining in the moonlight with a strange neon glow. 


Paul Richardson was a guest of Casa do Gadanha (00 351 268 249 790; casadogadanha.pt), which has double rooms from £120, including breakfast.    

TAP Portugal (flytap.com) flies from London and Manchester to Lisbon from £97 return.  

Share post:


More like this

I stayed at the UK’s ‘worst’ hotel chain – I couldn’t believe what I got for £99

I have stayed in all kinds of hotels and...

Popular holiday destination is so crowded people feel like sardines

New York is one of the world’s top holiday...

Beautiful tiny island off UK coast where bikes are banned for key reason

A tiny island, just 80 miles from the UK,...

Will Southern Illinois cover the spread vs. Evansville? Betting Trends, Record ATS

The Evansville Purple Aces (15-13, 6-11 MVC) are 3.5-point...