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Vila Viçosa: Tranquility in Alentejo

For us, any excuse is good to visit the Alentejo and get to know more about this area of Portugal. This time we were invited by Alentejo Marmòris Hotel & Spa, in Vila Viçosa, and it was the perfect excuse to enjoy a weekend away from the city.

Vila Viçosa is a village in the central region of Alentejo and belongs to the district of Évora. Historically, this village was invaded constantly by the Romans and the Muslims and was taken by the kingdom of Castile for some time but, after the battle of Aljubarrota and the following stampede, the village was recovered.

Due to its history, the cultural and architectural heritage of the village is very vast, being the perfect place for those who enjoy exploring these interests while traveling. It was in this city that the writer Florbela Espanca was born. In addition, as in all Alentejo, gastronomy has a very strong weight in the city and you will certainly have the possibility of experiencing many delicacies that are also very related to the history of Vila Viçosa.

In the time we spent in Vila Viçosa, besides taking advantage of the Hotel to rest, we also explored the village, the gastronomy and the surrounding area.

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How to get to Vila Viçosa

The best way to get to Vila Viçosa is by car. The highway network in Portugal allows you to get to the village quickly and easily. If you want to go more calmly and enjoy the landscapes of the Alentejo you can opt for the national roads which, besides being free, are of good quality.

Alternatively, if you do not have the opportunity to rent a car, you can use the buses from Rede de Expressos to get to the area. There are direct connections from Lisbon.

You can check more information in Rede de Expressos page.

Where to stay in Vila Viçosa

There are several hotels in the village, however, there is one that has long aroused our curiosity and desire to visit, the Alentejo Marmòris Hotel & Spa. This is a 5-star hotel that is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World and was imagined to celebrate the quality of the Portuguese marble.

When we are in the hotel we feel a lot of tranquility and comfort, which together with the cultural and gastronomic experience offer a unique stay.

In Alentejo Marmòris Hotel & Spa you can find several types of rooms, the Classics, Deluxe, Superior and Suites. All of them have a contemporary design and the attention to the details makes each one of them unique. The bathrooms use the raw material that gives the theme to the hotel, the marble, with unique pieces carved in it.

Check here more information about Alentejo Marmòris & Spa and make your reservation here.

The hotel’s restaurant, Narcissus Fernandesii, serves dishes based on the flavors of the fields and gardens of Vila Viçosa through the culinary art of Chef Pedro Mendes. We had the opportunity to dine at the hotel and the meal was delicious, not only for the flavors but also for the quality and the excellent service and friendliness.

Check here more information about Narcissus Fernandesii.

The Stone SPA offers a variety of treatments, Hammam, whirlpool tanks, heated indoor and outdoor pools and a gym. The atmosphere is very relaxing and professional. These facilities, together with the architecture dominated by the marble creates in the Spa the ideal conditions to relax, rejuvenate and to make an immersion of senses in this serene and peaceful atmosphere. If you are visiting the hotel as a couple, we recommend that you make a couple’s massage. We tried it and we loved it.

Check more information about Stone SPA here.

What to see and do in Vila Viçosa

  • Feel the times of the dukes in the Ducal Palace and Museum of Vila Viçosa
  • Visit the Matos Azambuja Palace
  • Relive medieval times in the Castle of Vila Viçosa
  • View the Walls of Vila Viçosa
  • Learn more about marble extraction at the Marble Museum
  • See the house of the writer Florbela Espanca
  • Visit the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Conceição
  • See part of the coach collection in the National Coach Museum – Núcleo de Vila Viçosa
  • Visit the Chagas Convent
  • See sacred art at the Museum of Sacred Art Dom Manuel Mendes da Cruz

Where to eat in Vila Viçosa

As in the rest of the Alentejo region, Vila Viçosa is also a place where the Alentejo delicacies reach their maximum exponent.

The typical dishes that stand out are: cold gazpacho, hot açordas, various types of migas, tomato or dogfish soups, and an excellent selection of sausages and cheeses, all washed down with the excellent olive oil produced in the region. To complement all these dishes, there are always many typical egg-based desserts with a lot of sugar, which make the delights of anyone, such as the tibornas of almond or gila, the sericáia and other flavors of conventual origin.

In Vila Viçosa there are a lot of restaurant options, where you can find the best delicacies in the area. We did not get a chance to try all these restaurants, but this would be our choice for several meals in the village.

  • Narcissus Fernandesii

The restaurant of Chef Pedro Mendes in Alentejo Marmòris Hotel & Spa has a 5-star attentive and distinguished service and the high gastronomy make it unique in the village. The menu has typical products of the region, telling the history and traditions of Alentejo like the acorn, which is a typical ingredient of the chef. In addition to the chosen dishes, the chef offers appetizers that are delicious and surprising. The atmosphere is cozy and has piano music played live.

  • Restaurant A Bolota
  • Taverna dos Conjurados
  • Restaurant Safari
  • Adega 7160

This restaurant has a very cozy atmosphere. Inside, there are several barrels where previously wine was produced, forming part of an eclectic decoration. The menu is based on traditional cuisine with an innovative touch.

  • Os Cucos
  • Craft BBS

If you are looking for a dish outside of Alentejo gastronomy or a quicker meal, we leave the option of a restaurant that we really enjoyed visiting.

This restaurant is not just a simple burger house, but a place where you can find locally produced craft beers, draught gin and various snacks and burgers in innovative combinations with the typical products of the region. The place is welcoming and the prices are affordable.

If you still have time…

If you have the opportunity to extend your visit to this area for some time, we recommend:

Visit Elvas

Elvas is an Alentejo village with a lot of historical and cultural interest. You can see more information in our post about what to do in Elvas.

Visit Évora

Évora is a city with many cultural and historical points of interest. In addition to the Roman temple, it is possible to visit the chapel of the bones and the cathedral. The gastronomy of this area is very interesting also with typical flavors of Alentejo.

Temple of Diana, Évora
Temple of Diana, Évora

Visit Campo Maior

You can enjoy visiting wine production, as well as taking a guided tour of a winery to learn more about the process. We also recommend that you make a wine tasting and know more about coffee production. A place that allows you to combine these activities, is the Nabeiro Group complex, where you can find the Adega Mayor and the Coffee Science Center.

Campo Maior Vineyards
Campo Maior Vineyards

Planning your trip to Vila Viçosa?

If you are planning a trip, check our resources page.

Activities at Vila Viçosa

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