The small town of Marvão (3750 inhabitants) in the Northern Alentejo (Alto Alentejo) Region, close to the frontier with Spain, is one of the most amazing fortified villages in Portugal.
Huddled atop a mountain 860 meters (2,820 feet ) tall, the main attraction of this medieval town is the Castle of Marvão, which dates back to the 9th century, where the knight of Islam, named Ibn Maruan, sheltered himself in this castle and gave birth to the name of the town. It was later conquered by Christians, which substantially improved the fortifications.
The Castle, with its thick walls, battlements and towers, has an ample view over the mountainous landscape and the sun-baked plains of the Alentejo.
What makes this experience unique is walking through the tangle of cobblestone streets, and discovering the alleys and corners in silence, with just a handful of tourists wondering around. If you want some noise, go to the echoing cistern of the castle and recite out loud your ideal list of qualities (I’m handsome, smart, in love with a beautiful gal/guy, and always have more money than I can spend, etc…). It surely will do good to your ego, provided that there is nobody standing outside, decided to go visit the cistern.
Besides the historical village which is inserted in the Natural Park of São Mamede, this region has vestiges from the Paleolithic age including dolmens, menhirs and rupestral paints and also has marks of the Roman occupation. Considering that Marvão is a low traffic, 2 ½ hour drive from Lisbon, it is surely worth visiting, as you can verify in the pictures below.