The sleepy but highly appealing walled market town of ESTREMOZ lies in the centre of a district rich in marble quarries – so much so that the material is used extensively in the most commonplace surroundings, as you’ll see when you wander its marble-clad streets and squares. It was once an important border settlement where Dom Dinis, an early monarch who set about fortifying Portugal’s frontiers, chose to locate his hilltop palace. Meanwhile, down in the lower town, the vast main square known as the Rossio – properly, the Rossio Marquês de Pombal – has long been the site of one of Portugal’s finest markets, held every Saturday. It starts and finishes early, so it pays to stay over in town on Friday night if you can. The Rossio also hosts Estremoz’s annual festival (first weekend in Sept), as well as the huge five-day agricultural shindig in April known as the Feira Internacional de Agricultura e Pecuária, which mixes cattle shows, concerts and handicrafts.

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