Welcome to Vila Real De Santo António
Perched on the edge of wide Rio Guadiana, low-key but pleasant Vila Real de Santo António stares across into Spanish eyes. Its small pedestrian centre is architecturally impressive: within five months in 1774, the Marquês de Pombal stamped the town with his hallmark gleaming grid pattern of streets (like Lisbon’s Baixa district) after it was destroyed by floods. The town's square named in his honour – Praça Marquês de Pombal – is the lively focal point of the centre, cobbles radiating out from a statue of King Don José I, who was on the throne at the time of Pombal's efforts. The impressive fortress of Castro Marim lies just to the north and the large, sandy Monte Gordo beach is 4km away.