Monday, May 24, 2010

Setúbal's guide: Travel to Álcacer do Sal

This is the first article of the new Setúbal guide. Over the next weeks we'll be explaining a little more of each location of the region of Setúbal and we start with the beautiful city of Álcacer do Sal.

Álcacer do Sal is a
dramatic medieval hill-top city located in the South of the Setúbal region, with a population around 6000 inhabitants. Wrought-iron balconies look out over the river and underneath them dwell a variety of cafés and restaurants.

Here is located the beautiful natural Sado river reserve named
Reserva Natural do Estuário do Sado and it's also here where the river Sado quietly meets the ocean. It's a city full of history with its medieval and charming streets and a castle at the top. The town’s name comes from the Moorish al qasr meaning ‘the castle’, and the Sal refers to the age-old production of salt in this area.

Besides walking down the medieval cobbled streets and feelings its ancient history, other things to do in Álcacer do sal include:
  • Walking tour inside the city seeing many examples of the remarkable Renaissance architecture in Portugal, like the Church of Santiago or the 16th century Convent of Santo Antonio,
  • Sailing, Windsurfing and Fishing at the Gaio dam,
  • Balloon sightseeing tours,
  • Boat trips alongside the estuary,
  • Visit to the castle, where mighty ramparts and towers remind us of times when the city played an important part in territorial battles,
  • Bird watching in the estuary where you can see many diferent species of birds all year round,
  • Going on a walking tour around the region (called Passeio dos Negros),
  • Enjoying the sun and sea at the stunning white sandy beaches at Comporta,
  • Horseback riding,
  • Visiting several small villages around the city where you can see many pieces of Arqueology like the Roman remains,
  • And of course, enjoying the many typical Portuguese cuisine and wines of this region in one of its many restaurants. Álcacer do Sal has also a tradition of desserts which recipes have been secretly hidden for decades and are just delicious. Amongst others are: pinhoada, bolo de mel e pastéis de feijão e amêndoa.
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