As capital of the Beira Baixa, CASTELO BRANCO has an air of prosperity compared to many of the nearby villages. Various frontier wars have robbed the town of much of its age-old history, save the sixteenth-century former town hall, a few handsome mansions, and some castle ruins at the top of town, where a garden miradouro offers sweeping views. Otherwise, it’s a pleasant enough, predominantly modern place of sweeping boulevards, squares and parks, with a broad, leafy central avenue that’s been opened up for pedestrians – there’s also a daily market at the Mercado Municipal, down Avenida 1° de Maio, near the turismo. That said, you don’t have to head very far out of town for some peace, quiet and natural beauty, with a string of stunning viewpoints and ancient villages within easy reach.

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