CITYTRIP TO ABRANTES, PORTUGAL
If you have decided to take the roadtrip to the center of Portugal and still have one spare night, let me give you the suggestion of a citytrip to Abrantes, which is a very picturesque town located in the region of Ribatejo. It is also known as the flower capital of Portugal. It is a really small and beautiful town, ideal for a 1-day trip starting from the Unesco sites of Coimbra and Tomar halfway between Porto and Lisbon.
After travelling in time and having explored some of Portugal’s most iconic Unesco heritage sites at Coimbra and Tomar , I have decided to head towards the city of Abrantes in the region of Ribatejo, which for me was a great surprise. In this city you will find an unique architectonic beauty, wonderful landscapes and an incredible gastronomic and scenery variety. In sum, the necessary ingredients for a memorable stay which will please all kinds of travelers, even the demanding fancy ones.
Ribatejo is a very sunny and green region which has some of the highest UV indexes in Portugal. The Tagus valley prevails as the main background and will provide you pure relaxation moments. It is an ideal destination for all kinds of travelers, but also a favourite option for a citytrip with families, friends or even on your own.
Main sights/activities in Abrantes to visit/do during your citytrip:
This castle-fortress in the city of Abrantes is of military origin and its ex-libris. The origin still remains a mystery and is a great starting point for your stroll throughout this town, from where you can contemplate the astonishing Tagus valley panorama.
On the left side of this castle-fortress you may enjoy a drink on the sweet terrace of the bar while experiencing an unique sunset.
Igreja da Misericórdia (Misericórdia Church)
Set in the highest part of the town and in the heart of its historic center, while you walk from the castle-fortress in direction to the main streets of the historic center of Abrantes, this beautiful church built in the 16th century and its Renaissance door cannot go unnoticed.
Observe the typical architecture of Ribatejo region while walking down its main streets, such as Rua Grande, Travessa do Pacheco, Rua D. Miguel de Almeida
I can guarantee it will be impossible not to lose track of time while contemplating the typical architecture of Ribatejo, which in fact has been one of the most impressive aspects I have encountered in this small citytrip. In Abrantes, its typical houses are painted with the main white colour contrasting with more vibrant colours, such as yellow, emerald green or ocean blue, conveying right from the beginning a complete sense of joy and liveliness.
Speaking of architecture, Abrantes is a flowery town and we can see flowers are a predominant element both in the decoration of balconies, as well as in gardens and in the outdoors of churches.
It is no coincidence this city has been named as flower town since 1916 in honour of the gardener Simão António Vieira, who built and developed its gardens. In fact, the city of Abrantes has even ranked on 3rd place at European level and won the first place at national level during the European Council of Flowery Towns.
Where to eat in Abrantes during your citytrip:
I can truly recommend Restaurante Santa Isabel , which is listed under the Michelin Guide and the Portuguese Guide Boa Cama Boa Mesa.
It is located in a small street in the historic center, occupying a very traditional house from this region.
Once we enter Restaurante Santa Isabel in Abrantes, it feels like going back to our grandparents home with the ancient wooden furniture pieces and the very typical Portuguese azulejos decorating the walls.
For dinner I took veal steak, whose quality impressed me (very tender and juicy) and was perfectly seasoned. If you prefer fish plates, the waiter had also recommended me octopus fried fillet.
Typical sweets from the city of Abrantes:
Your visit could never be complete without trying the most typical pastry of Abrantes – palha de Abrantes. It is made of egg threads and egg cream (check the picture below).
Its origin dates back to the 14th century. It is believed to have been created based on the association made with the picture of Alentejo’s straw passing through Abrantes on the way to Lisbon’s stables.
Other typical pastry from Abrantes includes Tigelada, which resembles a CD in yellow colour and whose texture is similar to a pudding.
Where to sleep in Abrantes:
4* Luna Hotel Turismo
4* Luna Hotel Turismo in Abrantes is a boutique hotel that has been recently awarded the Clean and Safe label. Some examples of the hygienic measures currently in place include booking breakfast time already at the check-in.
It is centrally-located, only 10 minutes on foot from the castle-fortress. Given that is situated on a hill with a superb panorama, you will be able to admire an unique sunset. The hotel’s restaurant – Restaurante Panorama – has absolutely memorable views, given its localization.
Rooms are elegantly-decorated in nude and wine colour. Moreover, I found the rooms quite spacious and their king size beds are very comfortable.
My favourite spot in the hotel was the Lounge Bar. Beyond its fancy style, its windows also work as doors, allowing you to have access to the balcony, which overlooks the city and the Tagus valley.
The hotel does also feature a spa, swimming pool and health club. These are all great options if you look for relaxing peaceful moments in your short citytrip.
Even though I have only stayed one night, it was definitely not a goodbye to Abrantes. This picturesque town was a complete surprise! Be it its peaceful and tranquility atmosphere, the breathtaking views or the very typical Ribatejo architecture, Abrantes is definitely worth stopping by on a roadtrip throughout Portugal.
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