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A Medieval castle dominates the small town of Portel, located at the heart of Alentejo and characterized by its white-washed houses, steep and winding streets and Gothic and Manueline portals.

The fortress, founded in the 13th century and rebuilt in 1510, exhibits a great square-shaped tower inside the fortified walls, from where visitors may admire a magnificent panoramic view.

It isn't the only site of interest at the seat of the county, where the religious patrimony is particularly interesting: it is worth visiting the Mother Church (18th century), the 17th-century churches of Miserichord and of Our Lady of Relief (at the former Convent of Saint Paul) or the Chapel of Saint Brás, with mural paintings from the 17th century, among other temples.

Another impressive church rises at the ancient village of Vera Cruz, where the Order of Malta founded a monastery in the 13th century.

Besides these historical sites, the county's tourism offer includes alternatives of a different kind, for Portel gives access to the Alqueva Dam, where an immense artificial lake is becoming a popular site for leisure and recreation in close contact with Nature, and also to the Alvito Dam, offering excellent conditions to practice water sports, fishing and other open-air activities in a beautiful natural setting.

At table, Portel preserves the traditions of Alentejo and serves different versions of the typical açorda (mashed bread dish): with garlic, fish, purslane, tomato, fried meat...

Pork, young lamb and game dishes are also part of the county's traditional gastronomy, together with an excellent olive-oil, cheeses made with goat and ewe's milk and the local honey.

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