Top things to do

Palace in Vila Viçosa

Paço Ducal

The dukes of Bragança built their palace in the early 16th century when the fourth duke, Dom Jaime, decided he had had enough of his uncomfortable hilltop castle. The wealthy Bragança family, originally from Braganç…
Portuguese in Vila Viçosa

Taverna dos Conjurados

More upmarket than the average taverna, this inviting eatery serves excellent regional cooking. The attentive host is proud of his classic Portuguese dishes, with some recipes going back to the Dukes’ times (complet…
Museum in Vila Viçosa

Museu de Arqueologia & Museu de Caça

Inside the historic castelo looming above Vila Viçosa, you’ll find an intriguing collection of relics from days past, as well as some less appealing animal skins and assorted other taxidermy. Nevertheless, a visit t…
Castle in Vila Viçosa

Castelo

The fascinating Dom Dinis walled hilltop castle was where the Bragança family lived before Paço Ducal was built. Part of it has been transformed into the Museu de Arqueologia and Museu de Caça – a must-visit. Surrou…
Church in Vila Viçosa

Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Conceição

Within the castle walls is this brilliantly tiled 15th-century church. It is also known as Solar da Padroeira, Home of the Patron Saint – the Virgin’s image is within. It was here that in 1646 Dom João IV offered th…
Portuguese in Vila Viçosa

Os Cucos

Hidden in the pretty gardens near the mercado municipal, this is the pick for quality food and shady location. It has an airy, semicircular interior, and you can eat snacks at garden tables. The changing specials – …
Cafe in Vila Viçosa

Tertúlia Perfeita

Inside the castle walls, and a few steps from the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Conceição, Tertúlia Perfeita has a terrace that makes a fine spot for an afternoon pick-me-up or a cocktail later in the evening. On weeke…
Portuguese in Vila Viçosa

Cafe Restauração

Facing the main plaza in town, this local favourite draws a garrulous crowd of young families, old-timers and out-of-towners, who come for drinks and snacks at the well-placed outdoor tables. The food is fairly stan…
Plaza in Vila Viçosa

Terreiro do Paço

The palace square covers 16,000 sq metres, and is ringed by the Paço Ducal, an enormous palace, the heavy-fronted Agostinhos Convent and graceful Chagas Nunnery. In the centre is a statue of Dom João IV.
Portuguese in Vila Viçosa

Safari

A short stroll from the Paço Ducal, Safari serves a meat-loving menu of classic Alentejan cooking (grilled lamb chops, pork with clams, suckling pig rissoles) in a cosy, brick-vaulted space.