Serpa: Travel and tourism

Clock Museum: women pocket watches (19th century)
Clock Museum: women pocket watches (19th century)
The contrast between golden plains of wheat and dark green olive groves and the impressive walls, topped by an arched aqueduct, surrounding the town of Serpa never ceases to surprise visitors.

Rising on a region inhabited since remote Pre-historic times, Serpa has a long history of conflicts and disputes due to its proximity to the border, having been conquered to the Moors in 1295 and known a brief period of Spanish occupation in 1707.

The castle of Moorish origin, rebuilt in the 13th century, dominates the streets of whitewashed houses and the fortified walls have preserved two gates, Porta de Beja and the monumental Porta de Moura. Nearby, an ancient Arab water wheel may still be admired.

Among many churches and monuments, it is worth visiting the Clock Tower (former keep), the Gothic Mother Church, the churches of Salvador and Santa Maria, from the 14th century, the Misericord church, with 18th-century decorated tiles, and the Convent of Saint Francis (16th century), besides the local archaeological and ethnographic museums.

On the other hand, the wonderful natural sceneries of rolling plains and hills covered with rosemary and broom in Spring offer excellent opportunities for walks, bicycle rides, hunting or fishing at the river Guadiana and several streams.

At table, Serpa boasts of an excellent ewe's-milk cheese, known across the country, and of typical dishes of the Alentejo region, such as ensopado de borrego (a stew of young lamb with bread), grãos com alho e louro (chickpeas with laurel and garlic), açorda (bread and coriander dish) and several game specialities, besides fine red wines and traditional sweets, namely folhados de gila (sugared squash pastries) and queijadas de requeijão (a sort of small cheesecakes).
Albergaria Bética Albergaria Bética
Pias, Serpa
$$$ (50 to 100 euros)

Take refuge in this small charming hotel and discover the village of Pias and the Alqueva Dam. The air-conditioned guestrooms are equipped with WC, hairdryer, TV and telephone.

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