PR1 VVC – Exploring the Royal Road (Vila Viçosa)
This adventure started very early with the first rays of sun in Florbela Espanca hometown. We are in the middle of summer and walking with temperatures as high as those seen in the last few days in Alentejo wouldn’t be advisable at all, especially with children. So, in the cool twilight I left the hotel, leaving the family to rest a little longer, to walk through the fresh air exploring the Royal Road in Vila Viçosa.
A region where marble shapes the heritage beauty and the urban landscape merges with a rural territory of olive groves and cork oak forests, in richly pasture lands delimited by watercourses.
Known as “Princess of Alentejo”, its name is due to the fertility of the soils and the beauty of its territory, and this museum-village is also considered one of the most precious pearls of Alentejo. Here, history is also fertile and, more than past, is present in every corner, in the heritage and in its people. This is a region where marble shapes the heritage beauty and the urban landscape merges with a rural territory of olive groves and cork oak forests, in richly pasture lands delimited by watercourses.
This circular trail with more than 8km length starts at the Municipal Market where we can find the boad witk the map. I walk along “Dr. António José de Almeida” Street towards “Praça da Republica” (Republic Square). On one side the Church of São João Evangelista, an imposing baroque temple, and on the other side the Castle to which I was headed. In this urban landscape beginning, I didn’t find many signs of the marked trail, so I used the GPS to follow the right path.
A few dozen meters further on, I find the bust of Florbela Espanca, a daughter of the land, poetess and author of magnificent works of art in our literature and precursor of the feminist movement in Portugal. Next to it, there is a cinema-theater named after the poetess, which unfortunately has been closed for some years, awaiting the conclusion of the rehabilitation works.
I turn left to the pillory and there, on the right, I walk around the castle on the trail along its moats. Classified as a National Monument, the castle was built in 1297 by D. Dinis as a royal residence and to use the hunting grounds around the village.
Hidden behind the clouds, the first rays of sun already paint the sky in orange tones. Upon reaching Capuchos Street, I take the left towards “Praça de Touros” (Bulls Arena) and Capuchos Convent. Here, the “cruzeiro” and a bandstand are also highlighted in a large open square in front of the convent.
Following the “Caminho do Paraíso” (Paradise Path), always on asphalt, between cultivated land and old olive groves, further on, you will find the wall of “Tapada Real”, the immense property of Casa de Bragança Foundation. With an area of over 1500ha, it became the largest walled space in the country for recreational hunting purposes. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see any deer that usualy feed here, just a herd of sheep that took advantage of the morning light to feast on the lush pasture that grew along the way. I went through them trying not to bother too much.
At a fork further on I didn’t find the PR1 VVC marks so the GPS was again a great help to keep me on the trail.
I arrived at Vale da Rabaça Fountain, near to the Municipal Road that would take me back to the town center and the Municipal Market.
Points of Interest:
Vila Viçosa, São João Evangelista Church, Castle and Capuchos Convent.
- Do not throw garbage on the floor.
- There are restaurants and cafés where you can boost your energy.
Not accessibleto stroller
234melevation gain uphill
274melevation gain downhill
(Sign up for the newsletter to receive the next hiking trail by email)