Parque Natural da Serra de São Mamede
In the Serra de São Mamede we encounter an unexpected Alentejo, constituted by high mountains instead of rolling plains, where it's possible to discover vestiges of human presence from various historical periods.
The highest point in the Park, at 1025m above sea level (the highest peak south of the river Tagus offers an exceptional belvedere). The mountain range functions as a barrier to condensation, creating a microclimate with levels of precipitation and humidity that are higher than the surrounding zones, thus originating a rich and diversified vegetation cover. In the northern section of the Park, oak and chestnut trees predominate, while to the south, traditional cork oak and holm oak groves are found.
In order to discover the many treasures of this protected area, the Park proposes five pedestrian trails, by means of which it is possible to appreciate the varied vegetation and observe rare birds of prey such as the vulture, kite or Bonelli eagle - the symbol of the Park. With a bit of luck, you might see a wild boar or deer, that are now returning to the Serra de São Mamede, after an effort made to reconstitute their habitats.
If you're more interested in archaeological heritage, make sure to visit the mediaeval towns of Castelo de Vide, Alegrete and Marvão or the city of Portalegre, the regional capital, that has many manor houses and convents which give it an aristocratic air, and is also the headquarters of the Manufactura das Tapeçarias company, where many genuine works of tapestry art are produced. In order to restore your energies, enjoy the many tasty regional specialities - lamb stew, roasted kid, and desserts such as Boleima cake or Sericaia pudding with plums from Elvas.
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