Almodovar is a region that is full of contrasts, located where the plains end at the foot of a mountain range, and where wide horizons are blocked by the hills.
This is a part of the Alentejo with and is full of surprises. There are areas of fields and pasture land, with occasional dense, practically wild vegetation, in copses of cork-oaks and small white villages where the churches bring back memories of the times when the area was natural habitat of eagles and wild cats, reconquered from the Moors, under the sword of Santiago.
The region has been inhabited for a considerable length of time as can be verified by the ancient burial grounds at Aldeia dos Fernandes and Mesas do Castelinho. Further south, the landscape changes and is full of surprises.
Beyond this are valleys which border on the AIgarve.
The village of Santa Cruz inhabited for a considerable length of with its valuable church and its Manueline style portal can be found here, and not far away is the Vascao river with its crystal clear waters.
Well secluded in the hills are Sao Barnabe and the green, wide Varzea (Plain) of Ourique.
Why not take the opportunity of resting up and sampling the typical local "medronho" brandy (made from arbutus berries). In the heart of the borough is the town of Almodovar, a name of which reveals an Arab origin.
Formerly called Povoa de Almodovar, King Dinis granted it a royal charter in the year 1285.
The ramparts of that period have disappeared, but when strolling through the streets of the town one cannot avoid noticing the monumental main church, the small Sao Francisco Convent; and the Misericordia (Mercy) Church close of the former town hall where paintings by Alentejo artist, Severo Portela, are on display.
Across the bridge over the Cobres stream one is reminded of mediaeval times in details such as the designs of local woollen cloaks.
Almodovar is still a town of master shoe-makers, and shod with a pair of sturdy shepherd's boots or ladies' riding boots one can easily walk up to the Santo Amaro chapel and appreciate the beautiful view of the Alentejo fields.
Courtesy of Regiao de Turismo da Planicie Dourada.