“From Marvão you can see the whole land”, phrase by José Saramago in his book Viagem a Portugal. At an altitude of 873 meters, at the top of the Serra do Sapoio and a quartzite crest with a stunning 360º view, it is possible to see for example a large part of the Serra de São Mamede, Spanish lands or the Serra da Estrela. Both the Castle and the Village were founded by Ibn Marwan (a natural Muslim from the Iberian Peninsula) who in one of his many revolts against the Emir led him to settle on top of this rocky crest and to start his construction between 876 and 877. Today , once a year, the Islamic festival called Al Mossassa takes place, which celebrates its founder and which becomes a unique opportunity to “return” to the 9th century. Here you can visit the castle, the town walls, the Porta de Ródão, the Porta da Vila, the Torre de Menagem, the Cisterna Grande, the garden, the Municipal Museum of Marvão in the Church of Santa Maria and the Convent and Church of Nª . Mr. da Estrela. Inside the village you can enjoy great restaurants and local shops. Stop by the Mercearia de Marvão to get to know and buy some of the great products that are produced here. Today, in its walled town, the International Music Festival of Marvão (FIMM) is held once a year, a classical music festival at the highest artistic level in a scenario of high natural and cultural beauty. Also once a year you can participate in the International Film Festival of Marvão Periferias where you can watch cinema outdoors in unique settings. Through São Martinho (11th of November) it is possible to visit the fair of the Chestnut, an event that takes place in the village of Marvão and where you can taste the products of the land, of the local artisans, and all the gastronomy involving the chestnut. Chestnut production in the region is quite common, this being the southernmost point in the country where it is produced. It is in Porto da Espada where you can see some of the centenary chestnut trees, authentically sculptural.
The village and rugged mountains have been inscribed on the UNESCO list of candidates for World Heritage since 2000.
Leave Vila de Marvão and go to Beirã where you can visit the old Marvão-Beirã train station, a building consisting of a passenger platform and railways, buildings for commercial use. The cover of the passenger platform is based on granite pillars, the main façade is composed of panels of polychrome tiles, by the painter Jorge Colaço, alluding to several national monuments, the regional costumes of Marvão and the beaches of Figueira da Foz and the Nazaré. Since you are here, venture into a unique experience of cycling over the railway lines on a bicycle / car through the “Rail Bike Marvão” and thus discover part of the line between the landscapes of the Serra de São Mamede Natural Park.
At Portagem you can visit the Roman bridge through which the River Sever passes. It is a 16th century bridge that will have been built using materials from a primitive Roman bridge based on round arches. It is estimated to date from the 16th century. At about 20m from the bridge you will see the Tower of the Tollgate, here being the place of collection for merchants who passed daily with their products. Also in this place you can enjoy the fluvial pool of natural water of the river Sever where in the summer there is a fantastic space to be and take a dip in fresh water. One of the most interesting walking tours in the region is the Calçada Medieval de Marvão which connects the Convent of Nossa Senhora da Estrela and the Portagem. It is an excellent area for the practice of Geocashing. It is on the EN246-1 that you can see the Freixo painted with white lime strips, there are about 1.1km of 250 Freixo side by side with the road that create a memorable effect of your passage, commonly called Alameda dos Freixos.
One of the most important legacies left by the Roman empire in its passage through Portugal is, without a doubt, the Roman city of Ammaia. Here it is possible to visit the ruins, the museum with an immense collection collected in the works of archaeological excavation and view the documentary “Ammaia, a roman town in Lusitânia” to get a sense of what this urban settlement was.
Caleiras da Escusa is an excellent point of visit, it consists of 19 lime kilns in the area of Escusa, between Castelo de Vide and Portagem, of which 9 are located about 1km southeast of the village. They were used to manufacture one of the most important and typical construction materials in Alentejo. These ovens were in use until just a few decades ago. At Quinta do Barrieiro we use lime to coat the walls and because it is considered an excellent protector, preventing the appearance of fungi and bacteria. Relatively close you can also find the natural rock climbing wall, excellent for the practice of the activity.