Estremoz despite being in the Alentejo region of Portugal is really well connected with the rest of the country, as well as being just an hour to Badajoz, the nearest large city in Spain. So if you feel like taking a cheeky trip to Lisbon for a taste of big city culture, the Estremoz to Lisbon express bus run daily by Rede Expressos is just a two-hour trip away.
Due to its geographical position bordering Spain, and the animosity that existed between the two countries down the years, it seems that just about every town and village in the Alentejo has some kind of defensive remnants—and Juromenha right on the banks of the Guadiana River that divides Portugal and Spain is a fine example.
Once an important powerhouse, the fortress at Juromenha looks out across the peaceful river and beyond to the plains of Olivenza in Spain. Today, left in ruins, it is a shadow of it’s former self and when you visit it is hard to believe that it once played such an important role in the on going skirmishes with the Spanish.
I own a copy of a lovely coffee table book called ‘As Mais Belas Vilas e Aldeias de Portugal’ (Portugal’s Most Beautiful Towns and Villages), which I bought way back in the 1980s—and even though I have moved country a couple of times in the interim, I still have the book with me.
One of the most intriguing places that always stood out for me was the village of Pavia, in the Alentejo, and it makes sense that it was one of the first places that I wanted to visit when we moved here in 2020.
As most of Portugal is slowly coming out of lockdown, we decided it was time to venture out and explore the local countryside a little better. It was also our five-year anniversary and a good excuse to dust off Olive, our 1971 VW beetle, and enjoy a little bit of a road trip.