Michael and Pam's Travels Our European Motorhome Adventures and other Travels

Mértola, Portugal 🇵🇹 2019

Date: 28th August 2019

Travelled: 132 kms from Évora to Mértola

Visited: Mértola

Stayed: Mértola riverside car-park, free + W+B

Budget: 80 days @ €76 per day

It was late morning by the time we departed Évora, making our way south along the IP2. The road is excellent. We stop at Beja finding a shady spot and have lunch and a rest for a couple of hours.

The IP2 comes to a holt, eventually we see some horses and cart and fear the worst. But it appeared one of the horses decided enough was enough and sat down.
We could see this tall structure from 20 kms away. Thinking it was some Castelo or Cathedral, but no it’s just a set of silo.

We refuel at the Intermarché (which also has a service point) in Beja then continue south for some 20 kms before turning south-east for Mértola. It has become noticeably hotter than the previous day or two.

Center map

Map of Mertola, giving reference to its position in Portugal.

Our data-base shows a couple of parking spots in Mértola but one on the Rio Guadiana has our attention and we drive down the steep cobbled road until we find it.

At this stage I was hoping it was one way, but it wasn’t.

We still manage a reasonable sleep with the help of our fan. Another day in the high 30’s is predicted, so we make an effort to start our exploring a little earlier than usual. Spot the Hymers (2) photo opportunity.

The story of Mértola is not unfamiliar to us now. Established by Phoenician traders, assumed by the Carthaginians, who in turn were driven out by the Romans. On the collapse of the empire, the Moors held Mértola and the rest of southern Spain and Portugal until they we driven out by the Knights of the Order of Santiago in 1238.

Hence Mértola has some Roman ruins, the remains of an Islamic village and a very unique church that was originally a mosque. To top it off there is a large Castelo on the hill, built by Dom Sancho II (Zoro’s offsider from memory) in the 13th century.

Another view of the Igreja Matriz. It is almost square in shape, topped with conical decoration. Built a thousand years ago it was reconsecrated as a church in the 13th century.

Next door to the church there is an excavation site and display museum. The exhibitions overlap somewhat between the Roman and Moorish times.

The next excavation is that of an Islamic village. This is the ruin of one of several houses they have found.

Thought you may find this photo of the village cemetery interesting. Not sure of the pecking order in here.

Finally at the top of the hill we enter the Castelo and spent 10 minutes walking the parapets taking in the views around Mértola.

The weather app tells us another 39 degree day in Mértola is on its way. So it’s time to retreat to the Hymer and make for the coast and hopefully a coolish breeze. We set the GPS for Odemira and head west.

Although it looks like Coolamon in the Riverina, its just outside João Serra in central Portugal.

Michael and Pam

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