A warren of cobbled lanes and grey houses huddled inside a ring of mighty 13th-century walls, Trancoso makes a charming retreat from the modern world. Now a sleepy little place, it was once an important fortress town and it was here that Dom Dinis married the saintly Dona Isabel of Aragon in 1282.
The town’s favourite son is Bandarra, a lowly 16th-century shoemaker and fortune-teller who put official noses out of joint by foretelling the end of the Portuguese monarchy. Sure enough, shortly after Bandarra’s death, the young Dom Sebastião died, heirless, in the disastrous Battle of Alcácer-Quibir in 1558. Soon afterwards, Portugal fell under Spanish rule.