Our second road trip in April 2024 took us north to Nisa and surroundings in upper Alentejo. We hadn’t set out to make a major trek but while visiting the tourist office we picked up a leaflet and map of PR9 Trilho da Mina de Ouro do Conhal (Hike of the Roman Gold Mines), which sets out from a little village called Arneiro close to the Rio Tejo that divides the Alentejo region from Beira Baixa.

For the first road-trip of the year in our van we didn’t want to venture too far from home. The weather was forecast to reach 30° and we were ready to try out camping in an ASA (service area for camper vans) rather than a costly campsite. So checking on the trusty Park4Night app within a 100km radius of Estremoz, we decided on the Viana do Alentejo area, and in particular Valverde and Alcáçovas. With just a little research online we soon found that we would be able to combine country hikes, nature, history, culture and good food in a short two-night stopover. Perfect!

We have passed this church many, many times on our way home from Estremoz and this week our curiosity finally got the better of us. So we stopped off to take a closer look…

The Chapel of Our Lady of Conceição dos Olivais is located at around two kilometres from the centre of Estremoz, on the road to São Bento do Ameixial. Built in the latter part of the 16th Century it sits on a slight hill surrounded by vineyards alongside the ancient ‘Pedra da Ronca’ dolmen – which loosely translates as ‘The Snoring Stone’…