The Shades of Marble Route - 3 days itinerary - Vila Viçosa, Borba, Estremoz and Sousel

This itinerary can be implemented with the support of Spira - Revitalizacao Patrimonial.

Introduction to the itinerary

Be in the vast Alentejo’s “montado” (the unique cork tree forest), in the picturesque rural houses or in the monumental regional architecture, one common element dominates the landscape and gives it a unique and extraordinary beauty - the marble.

This 3-day route offers you a rich and diversified experience, which brings perfectly together the five sides of the material and immaterial heritage: industrial, historical, cultural, gastronomy and the landscape.

The following itinerary is available for groups all year round. Meeting and departure point organized in accordance to group interest. Schedule can be adjusted to groups' interest and availability. Weather limitations may occur regarding outdoor visits to quarries.

DAY 1 (Vila Viçosa)

The Shades of Marble Route invites you then to start by devoting an entire exciting day in the Lands of Vila Viçosa. The area has been inhabited since Antiquity, been the site of a small settlement in Roman times, and in 1461 it came to the hands of the House of Bragança, one of the most important houses of nobility of Portugal. This event was crucial in the history of the village, which became the main base of the Dukes of Bragança in the next centuries. The Dukes had considerable wealth and greatly promoted the economic, urban and artistic development of the village, where marble was starring since the beginning of its exploration. During the day tour you’ll be visiting an impressive active quarry, taking a tour into a Marble factory, seeing how marble is applied to monuments and, obviously, enjoying a typical regional meal and the Alentejo exquisite wines in one of the most interesting restaurants in the area. The night is spent at an exceptional marble themed hotel & spa, comfortably involving you with the higher expression marble can provide.

> Morning

  • Visit to the quarry Marmetal
  • Visit to the Factory Marmetal
  • Observation of application of marble on the Frontage of the Ducal Palace

> Lunch

Taverna dos Conjurados Restaurant

> Afternoon

  • Visit to the Chagas Convent
  • Visit the Church of Santo António
  • Visit to the Convent of Hope

> Sleeping

Alentejo Marmòris Hotel & SPA

DAY 2 (Vila Viçosa - Borba)

The second day will start with a thrilling descent to a deep quarry followed by a climb to the Mouros quarry, which offers a privileged viewpoint to take pictures of the Estremoz Anticline. One of the highlights of the day comes after you sit down to eat the best dishes the traditional and renown gastronomy has to offer. Of course, we are now in Borba, one of the most important wine regions in Alentejo and in Portugal. In order to better digest the wonderful meal you just had, we’ll guide you through the historical centre of Borba, where visitors will have the opportunity to experience the peculiarities and beauty of the main ancient monuments. By the end of the day, what could be better than a guided tour to the Museum, followed by an wine tasting and an olive oil tasting, all at the Adega Cooperativa of Borba (cooperative winery).

> Morning (Vila Viçosa)

  • Descent to the Quarry Plácido Simões
  • Climbing to the Quarry of the Mouro
  • Marble Museum

> Lunch (Borba)

Dom Vinho Restaurant

> Afternoon (Borba)

  • Visit the Convent of the Servants of Christ
  • Visit to Saint Bartholomew Church
  • Tour in the historical centre of Borba
  • Visit to the Museum of Adega Coop. Borba with wine and olive oil tasting

> Sleeping (Borba)

Casa Terreiro do Poço

DAY 3 (Sousel - Estremoz)

On the last day, we will head for Sousel, visiting the gravel factory and enjoying a relaxing walk to the amazing “Lime Ovens”. We’re now leaving to Estremoz, where we’ll devote the rest of the day to visit its historical centre, some of the most iconic monuments, traditional shops and some of its culinary benchmarks. To finish the 3-day route, you’ll have the pleasure to spend the night in the marvelous Pousada Rainha Santa Isabel, a perfectly spotted historical building actually integrating an high quality hotel.

> Morning (Sousel)

  • Visit to the crushed stone factory (Const. Pragosa)
  • Pedestrian path by lime kilns

> Lunch (Estremoz)

São Rosas Restaurant

> Afternoon (Estremoz)

  • Visit to the Castle Donjon
  • Visit to Queen Santa Isabel Chapel
  • Visit to the Church of Santa Maria

> Sleeping (Estremoz)

Pousada Rainha Santa Isabel

Other information

The Route and all its itineraries can be enjoyed by all kinds of groups. Although, considering some of the activities related to the visiting of quarries, safety restrictions may apply to certain groups or ages.

In order to get to know conditions or other options of marbles routes operated by Spira, we suggest a visit to the webpage of the Shades of Marble Route.

It is always possible to organize tours including places previously selected by the groups.