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Alcácer do Sal

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Alcácer do Sal
Santiago do Cacém
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Driving from Setúbal to Alcácer do Sal, the road is lined by great stretches of pine forest but the first cork oaks are already a sign that the typical countryside of the Alentejo is near.

The ancient town of Alcácer do Sal (al-kasr, from the Arab word for «castle», and do sal from its history of trade in salt), overlooking the river Sado, is dominated by the hilltop castle built on the site of a fortified construction dating from as early as the 6th century BC. It was used as a stronghold by the Romans and later rebuilt by the Moors, who took the town in 715.

Alcácer has a peaceful atmosphere, with pleasant cafés along the riverside, houses with triangular frontons and volutes and several interesting churches. The small Church of the Holy Spirit now lodges the local Archaeological Museum.

Between the Tróia peninsula and Alcácer, Carrasqueira is an old fishing village where there are still traditional houses with thatched walls and roofs.

The Sado valley and estuary is a true ornithological paradise, sheltering many species (black-winged stilt, purple heron, marsh harriers, pratincoles, among others).

On the county's limits, at about 19 kilometres from Alcácer, the enchanting village of Torrão has a parish church which is a national monument and quaint white houses almost overwhelmed by enormous chimneys.

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