Pousada de Alcácer do Sal
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- Number of rooms: 35
- Air conditioning
- Disabled facilities
- 24-hour reception
- Free internet (public areas)
- Outdoor pool (seasonal)
- Room service
- Business centre
- Conference room
- Golf course nearby
- Airport (75km)
Pousada de Alcácer do Sal – Medieval Moorish Castle
The Pousada Dom. Alfonso II is named after King Afonso II who seized the town for the Portuguese crown in 1217 after his father’s (D. Afonso Henriques, first King of Portugal) failure to do so in 1158. No longer serving as a military base, the castle was used by royalty for many years, and was the site of King Manuel I of Portugal’s marriage to the Spanish King’s daughter, Infanta Dona Maria in 1500. In the 16th century it was converted into the Carmelita de Aracoeli convent, whose foundations form the key structures of the property, such as the cloisters surrounding the courtyard.
Since opening as a hotel and joining the Pousada network in 1998, the Pousada de Alcácer do Sal has been popular with tourists who are interested in the historical importance of the castle and surrounding areas, whilst relaxing in a luxury setting. Guests can marvel at the way in which the 16th century architecture blends in with the remaining castellated walls and towers of the original Arab structure. Touches like the convent cloisters, ancient stonework, oriental rugs, and Baroque coats of arms never fail to remind guests of the history surrounding the property. The Pousada even has a museum area dedicated to exhibiting some of the site’s original foundations, and the pre-historic discoveries made in subsequent years.
Situated high up and overlooking the broad green valley of the River Sado, the Pousada Dom Alfonso II benefits from incredible panoramic views. The Pousada’s 35 bedrooms are comfortably furnished with large windows, many of which look over the estuary. Some have even retained the original convent windows, further alluding to their history.
The public areas are stylishly decorated, with contemporary furniture creating a fascinating contrast against the classical architecture, yet another feature that adds to the uniqueness of this Pousada.
The addition of the large outdoor pool and sunbathing area makes this Pousada the perfect spot to relax and absorb the incredible scenery.
The Pousada de Alcácer do Sal’s restaurant looks out onto the old fortified walls of the original Moorish citadel. Guests can enjoy the surroundings whilst tasting some of the area’s finest dishes such as Fried Cuttlefish, Codfish Cakes, Roasted Leg of Lamb, and Alcácer do Sal Convent Cake. The large terrace provides a welcoming space for guests to relax in the afternoon with a coffee and sample the region’s famous Pine Nut Tart.
The Pousada has free exterior parking.
The ancient town of Alcácer do Sal, situated 90km south of Lisbon, derives its name from the impressive Moorish citadel that dominates the town and is home to the Pousada Dom Alfonso II. Alcácer is widely considered one of the oldest cities in Europe, dating back to pre-historic (Neolithic, Chalcolithic, and Bronze Age) periods. Since then it has been under Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Visigoth, Arab, and Christian occupation, and the influence of each of these passing communities can be seen in the town’s architecture and historical surroundings. The settlement even minted its own coins during the 1st century with the inscription ‘Imperatoria Salacia’ and, according to some historians, changed its name to Salacia during the period it controlled the connection of the estuary to the River Tagus. During Arab occupation in the 8th century, the settlementwas fortified and its defences reinforced, and it was during this occupation that the castle received the Arabic name al qasr.
Once crowned ‘The Emperor’s City of Salt’ (A Cidade do Sal si Imperador) Alcácer do Sal has long been considered one of the most important ports on the Atlantic coast. Its biggest exports being cork, rice, and pine nuts which all grow locally and are used in some of the area’s most popular dishes including the Pine Nut Tart which is served at the Pousada Dom Afonso II’s restaurant. Each June the Pimel Festival celebrates the region’s home-grown delicacies with a festival dedicated to pine nuts and honey.
Alcácer is an ideal location for nature lovers, situated close to the Estuário do Sado Nature Reserve, with activities such as bird-watching, hiking, hot air balloon rides, and even archery all on offer. Its proximity to the estuary provides many waterside activities such as fishing, water sports, beach visits, and even dolphin watching excursions.
Culture-seekers can find plenty of interesting sights in this historical town. The Onze Mil Virgens Chapel and Santiago Church are particularly beautiful examples of Christian architecture, whereas a visit to the ‘salt galleons’ on the Sado, the ancient boats used to transport salt when it was regarded as amongst the most valuable commodities, is a sure way to learn more about the area’s fascinating history.
Restaurant meal times & typical dishes
Lunch is served from 13.00 to 15.00
Dinner is served from 19.30 to 22.30
- Fried Cuttlefish Strips, Eels, Codfishor Codfish Cakes garnished with Malandrinho Rice
- Soaked Eels
- Roasted Lamb Leg with Beans
- Pine Nut Tart
- Alcácer do Sal Convent Cake
How to get there
From Alcacer do Sal train station:
1. Head southeast on Estr. da Estação (36 m)
2. Turn left to stay on Estr. da Estação (0.64 km)
3. Take a left onto Estr. de Santa Luzia (0.32 km)
4. Take a sharp left onto R. Sr. dos Mártires (0.80 km)
5. Continue onto R. Bom Jesus dos Mártires (0.32 km)
6. Turn right (0.16 km) and then turn left and you will find the Pousada is located to the left (48 m).
Torrao - 35 Km
Setubal - 40 Km
Palmela - 48Km
Lisbon Airport - 75 Km
Region & Cuisine
One of the largest of mainland Portugal’s five official Regions, the Alentejo occupies much of the south- central region of the country extending south from the River Tagus and bordering Spain to the east, the Algarve Region in the south and the Atlantic coast in the west.
The countryside of this essentially rural region varies considerably with fertile grasslands along the banks of the Tagus to the north-west, and numerous beautiful little villages and towns in the hills to the north-east – the land of many medieval castles. Further south the Alentejo becomes warmer and flatter and here are some of the most attractive towns in the region such as Évora, Vila Viçosa, Estremoz and Arraiolos.
Continuing south, rolling plains with huge numbers of olive and cork-oak trees – rich, fertile soil making this Portugal’s centre for agriculture, livestock and wood. And in the west, south of Lisbon, is the unspoilt coastline of the Atlantic with its magnificent long, sandy beaches and, in places, high sheer cliffs sheltering tiny coves. The climate in the Alentejo is mild overall but with regional variations – the temperature in winter in the north-east can go down to around 5ºC while mid-summer temperatures reach 33ºC or more in the south.
The two principal cities in the Alentejo are Évora and Beja. Évora – a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal – is a museum city: walls surround the centre where the major landmark is the Roman Temple of Diana, and there are many splendid aristocratic houses here displaying carved doors and windows and the famous glazed tiles of Portugal – the ‘azulejos’.Beja, further south, is a fascinating city: it received its name from the occupying Moors in the 6th century, and a variety of cultures have influenced the city and its region since pre-historic times. The ‘Museu Regional da Rainha Dona Leonor’ contains a wealth of items reflecting these cultures.
Other smaller towns in the Alentejo well worth visiting are Alvito, with pre-Roman origins and whose 15th century castle is now the Pousada; Estremoz, another historic town with a 14th century castle, also now the Pousada; Vila Viçosa, best known for the production of marble of the highest quality and whose palace was an official residence of the Dukes of Bragança the last Portuguese royal family; and Arraiolos, famous for its hand-woven rugs and tapestries.
But the Alentejo is inherently rural, and this is reflected in the cuisine of this region –honest, varied and full of flavour. Particularly good are ‘ensopados de cabrito’ (kid stews), ‘carne de porco Alentejana’ (pork with coriander and clams), hare or rabbit with red beans and numerous lamb dishes. As this is Portugal there is an enormous variety of cakes and pastries; fruit, particularly melon, is of very high quality and the region produces several excellent cheeses, notably from Nisa, Serpa and Évora.The Alentejo is also an important wine-producing region – principally red wine – both in terms of its traditional full-bodied ‘earthy’ wines and latterly a newer style with intense aromas of fruit and more ‘new world’ in character.
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