Portugal's City Travel Guide: Alpiarça
The population of Alpiarça is presently a little less than 12,000.
Alpiarça is located close to the River Tejo (Tagus) and the surrounding area is mainly agricultural.
The main attraction in Alpiarça is the Casa dos Patudos, a sumptuous house (now the Casa dos Patudos Museu de Alpiarça) built for José Relvas (1858-1929), a diplomat and government minister and the man who proclaimed the Portuguese Republic from the Camera Municipal in Lisbon on 5th October, 1910.
The Casa dos Patudos Museu de Alpiarça, which opened in 1960, contains Relvas' collection of fine paintings, furniture, ceramics and silk tapestries with later architectural features added to the residence by the prolific Portuguese architect Raul Lino (1879-1974).
Other points of interest in Alpiarça include the The Reserva Natural do Cavalo do Sorraia set in an area of 40 hectares including woodland and lakes and dedicated to the conservation and development of the Iberian horse, an endangered species popularly known as Sorraia. Visitors can admire the animals grazing freely in a natural environment and ride a horse within the reserve accompanied by a qualified guide.
The Reserva Natural do Cavalo do Sorraia provides a variety of cultural and recreational activities such as riding lessons, equestrian tours, and falconry shows, allowing visitors to get to know the other animals that live in this space, such as aquatic birds, donkeys, goats and Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs.
The reserve also has a picnic space, a children's playground and a restaurant serving traditional food.
Albufeira dos Patudos is another natural attraction close to Alpiarça. Set around a large lake popular with anglers, the Albufeira dos Patudos can be enjoyed on foot, by bicycle or on horseback.
As well as fishing, the lake is popular with other water sports enthusiasts such as canoeists.
There are also facilities for football, basketball, tennis, swimming and petanque.
Local gastronomic specialities include Carneiro à Moda de Alpiarça and Miga Fervida com Bacalhau Assado. For those with a sweet tooth and a love of Portugal's confectioneries the choice is rich and diverse: Broas, Pão-de-Ló de Alpiarça, Patudos, Quadradinhos and the Esses de Amêndoa.
Alpiarça also lays claim to the best melon in Portugal.
For wine lovers, the historic Quinta da Lagoalva is about 2km from Alpiarça and can arrange tours of the winery and tastings of the estate's excellent wine and olive oil. For further details visit www.lagoalva.pt
Many of Alpiarça's delicacies can be sampled during the lively Feira Agricola e Comercial (Agricultural Fair) held in the town in early September.
Accommodation in Alpiarça
Places to stay in Alpiarça include the centrally-located Casa da Barragem, the 3-star Hotel Rural Quinta Da Torre and the 3 bedroom villa Quinta das Laranjeiras. See here for a full listing of accommodation in the Ribatejo region of Portugal.