On the fertile plains of the Tagus River, Almerim is a provincial town near the city of Santarem. Equestrian and bullfighting are Almerín’s cultures, and every year at the Ascension Festival, there is an annual bullfight led by riders in classic uniforms on Lusitano mounts.
The countryside surrounding the town is awash with wine, and Almeirim has planned a wine route with eight stops at exquisite country estates and modern cooperatives. The town has pretty squares, tiled mansions and a handful of sights and attractions to pass the time.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Almerín:
1. Casa dos Patudos – Alpiarza Museum
At the beginning of the 20th century, author José Relvas commissioned architect Raul Lino to build him a beautiful Neo-Renaissance mansion with arcades and galleries.
This is in Alpiarça, not far from Almeirim, and Relvas bequeathed the property to the town, along with everything he has collected over the years.
If you are visiting a writers museum in Portugal this is the best option as the property is beautiful and full of antiques and art from all over the world.
Room after room decorated with tapestries, paintings, sculptures, fine furniture, china and enamels.
2. Igreja Matriz de Almeirim
The town’s main church, built in the mid-16th century, is worth a few minutes if you’re passing by.
It was originally a funeral chapel, and one of the earliest and most important tombs is that of Madame Henrique, a physician at the court of King Manuel I in the 16th century.
Other things to see inside are the 16th-century Holy Water font, the 18th-century “Senhor Jesus dos Paços” and the colorful statue of St. John the Baptist, and the sensational ceiling fresco card by a beloved turn-of-the-century painter Los Reis.
3. Jardim da República
Take a break in the garden near the town hall in the centre of Almerim.
The space is surrounded by elegant tiled townhouses and is actually the site of a royal palace that was demolished in the 1890s.
It then became a market square where stalls were set up until the 1930s when they moved to their current home in the Mercado Municipal.
When Almeirim started attracting tourists, the square was filled with lawns and trees and has been the town’s preferred meeting place ever since.
4. Almeirim Rota do Vinho
The fertile alluvial soils along the Tagus River and the warm climate of Almerín are ideal for Vienna, a town that is one of the sub-regions of the Ribatho DOC. The municipality has established a wine route for you to discover, taste and buy local white, red and rosé wines, as well as sweet and sparkling wine varieties.
The route features three partner wineries, such as the award-winning high-tech Adega Cooperativa de Almeirim, as well as family-run wineries such as Fiúza & Bright, and elegant old estates such as Quinta da Alorna and Quinta do Casal Branco.
There are eight stops in the city alone, so wine lovers will never be stuck.
Look for fruity and slightly spicy white wines made from the local Fernão Pires grapes.
5. Paço dos Negros
Paço dos Negros is a small village in the city of Almerím that takes its name from a luxurious royal palace that used to be here.
This was ordered by King Manuel I in the early 16th century.
While the palace itself is gone, there are still some fascinating clues about what was once here.
You can trace parts of the walls and find the palace’s waterwheel and chapel.
But the most interesting fragment is the entrance to the courtyard, as it has all the symbols of the reign of Manuel I: Melon at the top is carved in the decorative Manuel style, while his coat of arms and the emblem of Manuel The armillary sphere is embedded above the portal above.
6. North District Park
The northern suburb of Almerrim has been redeveloped over the past decade and this park is one of the main projects.
Among the pine forests are lawns, and there are many sports facilities, including tennis courts, a large skate park, and even a mini golf course.
There is also a playground for toddlers and smaller children, and trails through pine and eucalyptus trees.
The park faces Almeirim’s Municipal Library, which shows programmes in summer, such as Cinema no Parque, showing Portuguese and international films on the lawn.
7. City Hall
Another reason for the popularity of the tourist office of Almeirim is the municipal gallery from the same building.
Here are some high-quality exhibitions for the town, created by nationally renowned painters, sculptors, graphic artists, potters and photographers, as well as local and amateur artists in Almerín.
There are about 10 different exhibitions each year, so you can take a few minutes to learn about Almerín’s art scene.
8. Quinta-Feira da Ascensão
Every Ascension Thursday, usually around mid-May, Almeirim attends a town-wide party.
These festivities have pagan origins far away to celebrate the fertility of the Tagus River plain.
This was an era when people wore 19th-century clothing, and folklore associations like Gentes de Almeirim held events with traditional themes such as dances, musical performances and vintage markets.
One of the headlines was the Bull Run, a herd of bulls roaring through the streets, commanded by riders on horseback, until they stormed into Praça de Toiros.
9. Estátua Dedicada ao Frade da Sopa da Pedra
In Almerim there is a statue of a monk sitting in front of a pot, which is related to the most famous recipe of Almerim.
The story goes that a monk came to town hungry but too proud to beg for food.
So he asked a local family if they could make “stone soup” from their kitchen, using a pebble and water.
The owner gave him salt to taste, but the monk suggested that it might be better with some pork and sausage.
The monk then asked if there was anything to thicken the soup, like beans and potatoes.
And so on, until he brazenly cooks himself a delicious soup without asking for a full meal, then removes the cobblestones and does the same trick in the next town.
Several restaurants in Almerim are preparing the town’s iconic Sopa da Pedra (stones not included!). This recipe has beans, potatoes, chouriço, morcela (black pudding), all seasoned with garlic, bay, and cilantro.
Like many Portuguese towns, Almerím has its own salted cod specialty (bacalhau). Here, it’s a spicy broth with tomatoes, potatoes, and pasta.
On the other hand, melons were first grown by the Moors in Almeirim, and the fertile soil and abundant water make Meran d’Almeirim a mouthwatering summer delicacy in Portugal.
Finally there are coscorões, a doughnut-like pastry that is deep-fried and added with orange zest to liven them up
It was a wonderful city on a strategic high ground above a river plain, claimed by the Romans, Visigoths and Moors.
After being recaptured by King Afonso Henriques in 1147, Santarém is equipped with many churches and now has the best Gothic religious complex in the country.
Try to visit as many churches and chapels as possible because they hold unexpected treasures inside.
There are also many monuments representing Manueline (a fusion of High Gothic and Plateresque), Renaissance, Mannerist and Baroque designs, as well as the remains of castles that ruled the river plains.
Where to stay: The best hotels in Almerín, Portugal
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