Thirty kilometres southwest of Moura, and the same again east of Beja, the small market town of SERPA offers the classic Alentejan attractions – a walled centre, a castle, and narrow, whitewashed streets of handsome bougainvillea-clad houses and lush gardens. The town has at various times been occupied by Celts, Romans and Moors, and its highest point is capped by the remnants of its Castelo. Beyond these few attractions, the delight of Serpa is in wandering its quiet, little-visited streets that spread for just a few hundred metres within the encircling walls. Centre of the settlement is the Praça da República, with its appealing cafés, while arched gates provide access to the more modern town beyond. To the south, the leafy public gardens provide shade in the hottest part of the day. The town’s annual feira takes place on the closest weekend to Aug 24, and there are big celebrations each Easter in honour of Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe.

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