12 things to do in Ponte de Sor (Portugal)

Ponte de Sor is a rural town where cork oaks are grown for their valuable bark. While Porte de Sor is rather quiet and unassuming, there’s always something going on in the trendy “CAC” cultural and arts centre. In summer, the countryside is dry and tanned, but water is still the constant theme of Ponta de Sor, thanks to the Montagile dam, where water sports take place from June to September.

In town, the new Zona Ribeirinha is just a place to hang out by the river. If someone in the family loves horses, the Royal Stud in nearby Alter do Chão is a dream day out.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Ponte de Sor:

1. Zona Riberinha

Zona Riberinha

On the right bank of the Sor is a new riverside park.

This inviting space has benches, lawns and deciduous trees, as well as an outdoor setting for all the big gatherings and concerts in town in summer.

On weekdays, you can lose weight on the bench, watch the river flow, and listen to old people chatting.

In summer, you can also take a dip in the public outdoor swimming pool, open every day from June to September, for only EUR 1.50 for adults.

There is also a café and a modern pedestrian bridge, all part of a project led by local architect Nuno Matos Duarte.

2. Capela de Santo António de Montargil

capella de san antonio de montagier

Next to the Montagille Dam, on a hilltop dotted with cork oaks, is a lovely 18th-century chapel.

On the one hand, you can take a walk up the hill and enjoy views of Montargil, the dam, the reservoir and the sparse rolling countryside.

The accessories of the chapel are from when it was built, and your attention will be drawn to the ornate gilded woodwork in the Portuguese Baroque style.

3. Barragem de Montargil

montager barrage

Completed in 1958, the Montargil Dam accommodates a 1,646-hectare reservoir.

Despite being man-made, the waters are beautiful and quickly become a regional haven for wildlife, especially birds.

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A stroll along the shore is enough, but the reservoir is also a hub for summer water sports.

If this sounds like your thing, get in touch with Clube Náutico Montargil, which rents stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and jet skis, as well as organizes jet ski trips and water skis.

4. Centro de Artes e Cultura de Ponte de Sor

Centro De Artes E Cultura De Ponte De Sor

The Art and Cultural Centre (CAC) of Ponte de Sor was inaugurated in 2009 in an old factory above the Zona Ribeirinha.

This is a grain mill built in the 1920s for flour milling and husking, many of which are preserved and on display.

The building is spacious and versatile, housing the town library, archives, theatre, as well as exhibition halls and restaurants.

New to the CAC is the “Fablab Alentejo”, a high-tech laboratory and workshop with state-of-the-art workstations and 3D printers for schools and artists.

5. Igreja da Misericórdia de Galveias

Igreja Da Misericórdia De Galveias

Within the boundaries of Ponte de Sor is the parish of Galveias, where a fascinating religious heritage awaits.

The church was built in the 1700s in the same form as many of the religious buildings of the Misericórdia Brotherhood, with a main temple and annexes such as an attached meeting hall.

What might catch your attention on the façade is the paint scheme: most Alentejo churches have white and another color, while this one, as well as its yellow border, has red and black on its pediments and portals.

The interior is predominantly Rococo, as you’ll see on the altar’s imitation marble arches and the masonry altar with gilded moldings.

6. Oásis – Parque Aquático


The youngest family members may need a place a little smaller than the reservoir to play in the water.

Fortunately, there is a water park at Galveais with a spacious outdoor area with a swimming pool, playground and two slides, one open and one covered.

Adults can park on the green space, which is dotted with palm trees and is huge, almost like a park of its own.

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You can bring a picnic and if the weather is bad there is a 17m indoor swimming pool.

7. Ponte de Vila Formosa

Formosa Villa Bridge

On the River Seda, east of Ponte de Sor, there is a bridge that has stood the test of 2000 years.

Ponte de Vila Formosa is 100 meters long and is located on the Roman road connecting what is now Lisbon with the city of Merida, then the capital of Lusitania.

One of the telltale signs of a Roman bridge is the sequence of holes between the six arches.

The designs are designed to allow water to pass through the bridge during floods to prevent it from being washed away.

8. Alter do Chao

Alter Docha

Continue to the town of Alter do Chão, 20 minutes east of Ponte de Sor, with several excellent attractions.

The most obvious of these is the royal stallion Coudelaria de Alter do Chão.

It was established by King John V in 1848 to keep horses for his Royal Riding School.

After a period of decline in the 20th century, the center has returned to being a horse lover’s dream.

You can learn about the noble Alter Real Lusitano horses, watch them graze, and visit the historic stables.

Also take some time to visit the Alter do Chão castle, which looks a lot like it was when Peter I was fortified in the 14th century.

9. Fluviário de Mora

Fluviário De Mora

Not far from the Montagille Dam is an aquarium with an ecosystem of freshwater rivers and lakes.

There are only a few attractions like this in the world, and this one is home to more than 500 animals of 55 different species.

The protagonists of the show are easily the small-clawed otters of Europe and the East.

There are various amphibians and turtles in the tank, as well as rays, catfish and sturgeon.

They are all freshwater species that inhabit habitats that mimic their natural home and have in-depth information about their biology and behavior.

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Fluviário in the park next to the Gamiiro Dam, which also has campsites, picnic gardens and a river beach.

10. Cine-Teatro de Ponte de Sor

Cine-Teatro De Ponte De Sor

The Cinema at Ponte de Sor is an Art Deco hall first built in the 1930s.

As is clear, the venue doubles as a theatre, hosting plays, musical performances and conferences.

If you want to see a movie, English speakers will be happy to know that the movie is shown in Portugal in their original language, with subtitles instead of dubbing.

Come by during the day, as it’s a photo-worthy landmark, with its fluted pilasters and geometric patterns on its stained-glass windows.

11. Festas da Cidade

holiday meal

Ponte de Sor was granted city status in July 1985, and the date has been celebrated ever since, now with a series of concerts in the Zona Ribeirinha.

There are also craft and local food fairs, as well as many side events such as dance demonstrations and workshops.

Every night, it’s all performed by well-known artists from the Portuguese pop scene.

To give you a taste, two nights in 2016 were headlined by singer-songwriter António Zambujo and YouTube star Mia Rose.

12. Food and drink

Acorda Alenteja

There are many waterways around Ponte de Sor, and fresh fresh water such as trout and carp is delicious and can be fried, grilled or stewed.

Until the 20th century, people often hunted for food in the wilderness, so there were ancestral recipes for game like partridge, pigeon, wild boar and rabbit.

Alentejo lamb stew is staged on cold winter days, and the Iberian favorite migas (leftover bread, fried bread) is cooked in spring with pork and wild asparagus.

Also very regional is açorda alentejana, which is a broth or mushy bread, garlic, olive oil, and eggs.

Where to Stay: The Best Hotels in Ponte de Sor, Portugal
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