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Visiting Marvao.

Visiting Marvao.

Marvao is one of the prettiest medieval towns in Portugal, settled on a mountain top overlooking Spain. Visiting Marvao is like stepping in to another century.

Marvao is in the middle of nowhere these days. It has not always been like this though. For centuries, it has served as a border town to Spain and the fortified town has withstood many battles with the Spanish troops. But the wars with Spain are luckily over these days and the border between Portugal and Spain is not a big deal anymore. So Marvao is sitting on a mountaintop, representing the past these days.

The city gate to Marvao.

The city gate to Marvao.

Marvao is a very impressive town. Thick walls surround it and a large castle is sitting on top. The streets are rather empty these days though, as the town is far away from any urban areas and there is little work in the area, apart from the jobs that tourism creates. At least the tourism crates some work there and the town is considered world heritage by UNESCO.

Marvao used to defend Portugal against Spain.

Marvao used to defend Portugal against Spain.

UNESCO has in many ways helped the town survive. Without the financial support to keep the old buildings in perfect condition, many of them would probably have fallen in to disarray, because of the lack of economy in the region. But these days, Marvao stands intact and reminds the visitors of the past. Marvao is a little out of the way, but it’s worth going there. The drive to Marvao is in itself an experience, with cork oaks, olive trees and stork nests lining the road as you head to what used to be Portugal’s eagles nest. Fortunately I am visiting Marvao fairly frequently and i love the combination of history and the perfect view of Alentejo on one side and Spain on the other.

Portugal's Eagles nest.

Portugal’s Eagles nest.

You have a small handful of options when it comes to staying overnight in Marvao and there are restaurants there too. I would recommend staying overnight, as you will almost have this historic place to yourself in the evening and early morning.

Visiting Marvao is wonderful.

Visiting Marvao is very quiet, but wonderful.

Marvao might be a bit of a museum town these days, but it’s a damn nice museum in a damn nice setting.

The streets of Marvao.

The streets of Marvao.

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