Vila Viçosa: Travel and tourism

Chagas Convent
Chagas Convent
Chosen in the 15th century to become the seat of the Dukes of Bragança (the 8th Duke became King João IV), it lodges their magnificent palace which stretches for 110 metres and has 23 windows in sucession on each floor of the impressive façade lined with marble.

Guided tours take visitors to the royal rooms on the ground and first floors, including the vast kitchen, the library with its precious collections, the chapel, the armouries and splendid spaces such as Sala da Cabra-Cega, used to play blind man's buff, or the opulent Sala dos Duques, among many others.

The visit also includes the formal gardens and the Carriage Museum. In front of the palace, a bronze equestrian statue of King João IV stands at the centre of the square.

Vila Viçosa is a scrupulously clean town, full of flowers and streets lined with orange-trees and proud of its monuments (such as the 13th-century castle, the Agostinhos Church or the Renaissance Chagas Convent, now a pousada) and of its stately houses decorated with marble, the local «white gold».

The beauty of the scenery can also be admired at the splendid walled Tapada Real, the former royal hunting grounds, which stretch for 18 kilometres, with a Manueline portal, a 15th-century manor with three chapels, brooks and fountains, and where wild boar and deer still run free.

The local gastronomy includes many of the Alentejo specialities, such as gaspacho (cold tomato soup with garlic and cucumber), açorda com ovos (bread and coriander dish with eggs) or pézinhos de coentrada (pig's trotters with coriander sauce), but Vila Viçosa is specially known for its cakes and sweets, namely the tibornas, made with eggs, sugar, almonds and squash.

Handicrafts include beautiful works in pewter and marble.
Pousada de Dom João IV Pousada de Dom João IV
Vila Viçosa
$$$$$ (>150 euros)

Set in the former Convent of Chagas de Cristo, in the heart of this historical town. Very unique, with its intricate themed rooms, full of legends and tales, it has kept intact the convent cells, the retreats and the oratories built by the nuns.

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