The Parque Natural da Serra de Sao Mamede in which the cottage sits is a protected nature reserve of some 31000 hectares in the north eastern tip of Alentejo on the border of Portugal and Spain. Much overlooked but easy to reach from the new Lisbon to Madrid highway.
The 44km long park was created in 1989 with the aim of protecting wildlife and unusual plants and preserving local traditional life.
The park contrasts with the rolling plains of grain and oak that typify the Alentejo because it comprises a higher area provided by granite, quartzite and schist more characteristic of the Iberian plateau that covers the northern parts of Spain. Within this protected region the mountain range known as the Serra de Sao Mamede at 1025 metres overlooks the vast plains of the Alentejo and into Extremadura in Spain.
Marvao was built by the Moors and then fell to the Christians in 1166 before being rebuilt in 1229, from the castle walls which encircle the village you can see far reaching views into Spain and also the snowcapped Serra da Estrela in central Portugal in winter. Marvao has a number of festivals including a classical music festival, a recreation of the Moorish beginnings and a chestnut festival where more than 5000 people visit the village to eat roast chestnuts.
Castelo de Vide
Nearby Marvao this beautiful lively village is perfect to wander around losing yourself in its quiet whitewashed winding streets, it has a small market every friday and an alternative market most saturdays and in August nearby has a large friendly dance festival showcasing over 50 different types of world dance.