3 Oct 2016


Marvão is a fortified village in eastern Portugal very close to the Spanish border. It has been called the prettiest village in Portugal.  As it is three hours drive from Lisbon it is not inundated with daytrippers like Obidos near the coast.
It is a beautifully preserved and spectacular place without the tourist tat shops you find in other locations. If you stay there as I did you can drive into the village through the outer wall -see first photo below-and up very narrow streets to hopefully park somewhere near your lodgings.
The castle which towers above the village has been extensively renovated (paid for with EU grants) and you can climb up into the towers and ramparts it- I would not recommend taking small children or if you have a fear of heights. The nanny state has not reached deepest Portugal-indeed most of Portugal-so there are no safety barriers,warning notices or other impediments to falling to your death easily. A slight stumble and you would be on your way to finding out if there is an afterlife.
It costs €1.50 to enter the castle but the ticket office shuts at 5.00 and there is no gate so after that you can walk in anyway which is how I was able to get right up onto the ramparts at dawn. 
There is a standard tourist shot from the castle - see below. I ventured out in the dark with a torch to climb up onto the ramparts to take the dawn shot. It was well worth the effort as it is one of the most beautiful scenes I have experienced and photographed. Whilst I was fumbling around in the dark I was surprised by the appearance of a keen Portugese lady photographer-hi Silvia.
The village is still a thriving community but after the day trippers have gone in the evening it is very quiet.  My visit coincided with the village's annual Saint's day so late in the afternoon I saw the effigy of the Virgin and child being carried through the narrow and steep streets at the head of a procession of villagers.  After the procession they dispensed with the solemnity and there was a town party and dancing in the village square.

Entrance to the village - the walls get much closer further on

Standard tourist shot

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