From Vila Real de Sto Antonio and Castro Marim, I drive on the IC 27 towards the Barragem de Odeleite and take the inner road on the right to Foz de Odeleite. After, I follow the road along the river Guadiana towards Alcoutim. A very quiet and scenic road, following the bends of the river. Lots of sailing boats on the river, waiting for the warm weather to arrive. My first stop is at the cemetary, just before Alcoutim. From here you have a good overview over the Spanish village of Sanlucar on the other side of the river. On both sides, you see the fortresses, which were built to control and defend the borders. In former times there were also a lot of smugglers going back and forwards, with cafe from Portugal and cigarillos from Spain and many other articles.
Alcoutim is a cute village, which can be combined with a visit to Mertola. The road to Mertola goes high through the mountainous landscape. It is a pretty bare area, with some flocks of sheep, but barely any agriculture. An empty country……
Mertola is a nice surprise. You can easily spend here a whole day, to see all it has to offer. It is one big museum……The town offers a beautiful fortress with a tower you can climb and from where you have magnificent views over the two rivers, the Roman bridge, the churches and the winding streets in between the white houses.
Excavations took place under the castle and the Islamic treasures can be admired in the museum.
If you cross the main street, you can walk to a church up the hill, from where you have totally different overview. Not many take the effort to climb another few meters, but it is so worth it!
Later, I take the main road back to Vila Real de Sto.Antonio, which is an extremely quiet, new road and I am just back before dark in town. I rush to a cafe to upload my pictures, check the internet and have a bite. It will be an early evening, as tomorrow I booked an organized trip to Seville and they are picking me up around 7.30 a.m.