Nisa: Travel and tourism

Nisa
Nisa
The traditional pottery of Nisa is well known in Portugal and deservedly so. It is different from others due to the white floral patterning on plain terracota. The process is simple but morose: little white chips of limestone are painstakingly applied in lacy and floral patterns to form a sort of embroidery. The most common objects made are jugs and flasks, both to keep water cool.

Other crafts are embroideries and lace (the so-called rendas de Nisa, or «Nisa lace», are really white embroideries, so intrincate that they ressemble lace), but now only a few women continue to practice this art.

Nisa lives essentially of agriculture and produces mainly ewe's milk cheese (more piquant than others of Alentejo) and a variety of sausages.

The castle was founded by King Dinis in 1290-1296 and it used to be surrounded by fortified walls and towers which encircled the town. Now, little more is left than two towers and pieces of the walls. Of the original six gates, it is still possible to observe Porta da Vila and Porta de Montalvão, both from the end of the 13th century.

Other sites of interest are the Chapel of Our Lady of Pleasures and the Medieval bridge over the stream of Figueiró, situated near the ruins of the ancient Nisa (about three kilometers from the present town).

At Montalvão, fishing and hunting are favourite sports due to the abundance of brushwood and to the lagoon at the dam built on the mouth of the river Sever.

Besides the local cheese and sausages, the gastronomy is varied and includes typical recipes such as the afogado («drowned», a rich stew of young lamb), sarapatel (haggis), migas (bread-soup) and cavacas, a light crisp kind of cake.
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Quinta dos Ribeiros Quinta dos Ribeiros
Alpalhão, Nisa
$$$ (50 to 100 euros)

Located 1 km away from Alpalhão, Quinta dos Ribeiros offers elegantly decorated accommodation. It features an outdoor pool and a sauna.

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