Portugal City Travel Guide: Estremoz
- Population 9,000.
- Known for its fine marble and earthenware.
- Walled upper town rises 420m from the Alentejo Plain.
- Situated south east of Lisbon, in the Alentejo between Evora and Elvas.
Estremoz, along with the nearby towns of Borba and Vila Viçosa, is the center of the marble quarrying area of the Alentejo Plain.
Located 48km from Evora, Estremoz is a relaxing town to wander and enjoy the beautiful marble buildings and the views of the plain below.
Estremoz is made up of upper and lower towns. The newer, Lower Town is surrounded by a 17th century wall and is centered on the huge Rossio Marquês de Pombal square, simply referred to as "Rossio" by the locals. The large Saturday market takes places around the square selling local pottery, goats cheese, pickled plums.
The 18th century Câmara Municipal (Town Hall) is on the south side of Rossio and was once a convent, though it now houses the police station; the Igreja de São Francisco (Church of St. Francis) is on the northern side of the square. A small Museu Rural displaying the famed local earthenware is on the east side of Rossio.
The Upper Town is enclosed by fine zigzagging fortifications and is the most historic part of Estremoz. At its center is the bare fortress-like palace built by Dom Dinis for his wife Isabel of Aragon in the 13th century. The building was restored in the 18th century and is now a high-end pousada - the Pousada de Santa Rainha with 33 rooms, a pool & garden and some beautiful views.
The palace was almost completely destroyed by an explosion in the arsenal in 1698 but the Torre das Três Coroas (Tower of Three Crowns) survived - the name refers to the hands of three kings in the tower's construction: Sancho II, Afonso III and Dom Dinis.
Opposite the tower is the Museu Municipal (Tel: 268 339 200) housed in a converted almshouse with displays of furniture, wooden figures and, of course, the celebrated Estremoz pottery.
The Capela de Santa Isabel (Chapel of Saint Isabel) dates from 1659 and was dedicated to Queen Isabel, who was known for her charity to the poor. The chapel is lined with beautiful azulejos depicting the Queen's life.
Estremoz Tourist Office
Largo da República 26 (tel. 268 333 541)
Getting to Estremoz
The railway no longer runs to Estremoz and the disused station is now the site of the bus station.
Around two hours plus by car from Lisbon on the A2 and the A6 highways. From Elvas or Spain (Badajoz), take the A6/E90.
The bus station is on Avenida 9 de Abril.
There are buses to Lisbon, Evora and Portalegre.
Pousada de Santa Rainha; 33 luxurious rooms in a converted palace
Book Hotel Accommodation in Estremoz
Pateo Dos Solares Hotel - upmarket hotel in a converted manor house.
Largo de D. Dinis, 11
Restored medieval inn
Tel. 268 333 345
There are many decent cafes and bars surrounding Rossio for good-value food and drinks.
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There are places to get online around Rossio.
The average high June temperatures for Portugal is between 22 degrees Centigrade and 26 degrees Centigrade.
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