VISIT AVIS in the ALENTEJO, COMPLETE GUIDE! (2021)

It is in the deep Alentejo that we find Avis, a city of a thousand stories that stands on top of an Alentejo hill. It was in the 12th century that Avis was built, during the Christian reconquest and around its castle (1214). In the 13th century, by hosting an important military order, the city acquired great importance in the Portuguese kingdom.

AVIS

A village in the Maranhão dam and bathed by a river beach just 5 minutes from the town center. Its typical Alentejo houses are by themselves a reason to visit. But in Avis there is more to see and enjoy, highlighting its castle, the main church and the convent of São Bento. A visit to Avis is also worthwhile for the attractions that can be found in the surrounding area. To go and appreciate this little piece of Alentejo, book a long weekend in your agenda! Accept the challenge and come with us!

AVIS, ALENTEJO
AVIS, ALENTEJO

WHERE IS IT AND HOW TO GET TO AVIS?

BY CAR – The best way to reach Avis is by car. If you live in Lisbon, get ready for a 165 km trip that will take you 1h45 (going south and taking the A2 highway). If you prefer not to pay so many tolls you can take the N119 and it will take you 1h55 (and only 147 km). The total cost of the trip (one way. Gasoline + tolls) will be between 20 and 28€. 

BY BUS – The Expressos network offers this service. The bus picks up in Sete Rios (Lisbon) and makes a direct trip that takes 2h10. The price is variable but will be around 14€ (May 2021).

TAXI – If you take a cab, be prepared to pay between 110 and 140 euros.

HOW TO GET AROUND IN AVIS?

Avis is a small town. To know and feel a bit of the soul of this place, as always, we suggest you walk or cycle through its streets. The car is an added value because it gives you the option to visit the attractions that are in the vicinity of the village. Although these attractions are located near Avis, the distances have to be covered by car (or motorcycle).

AVIS STREETS
AVIS STREETS

WHAT TO VISIT IN AVIS?

Avis can be visited quietly in two days. Below is a map with the location of the main attractions of the town. We hope you find it useful!

MEDIEVAL VILLAGE

A small historic center adorned by white houses with yellow and blue stripes. It delights those who walk through it! Do it without haste and without a destination.  Wander around the medieval town for 30 minutes and you will feel a little closer to the “Soul” of Avis!

CENTER OF AVIS
CENTER OF AVIS

AVIS CASTLE

The construction of the castle of Avis is associated with a curious story. Legend has it that, once upon a time, a group of friars were looking for the perfect place to build a fort. They came across a high place where two eagles were perched on a cork oak tree. It was the sign they were looking for! (Maybe they were from Benfica, I couldn’t find out).

The castle was erected in the year 1214 during the time of Dom Afonso II. All that remains of it are ruins that are still classified as a National Monument. It is a shame the castle is in this state because we are talking about a fortress with an important connection to the Master of Avis and the history of Portugal. With the end of the religious orders (1834), the castle lost importance and at that moment its degradation began.

AVIS CASTLE
AVIS CASTLE

AVIS MAIN CHURCH

The main church of Avis is also called Nossa Senhora da Orada church. We are talking about a temple that was built during the 15th century and later (19th century) underwent several renovations and reconstructions. Its exterior is appealing with a classical style façade and two bell towers.  Inside the temple we find a nave with a ceiling covered in wood and two small chapels on the sides of the church. It is also worth mentioning the existence of an image of the Virgin Mary and some tile panels.

 AVIS MAIN CHURCH
AVIS MAIN CHURCH

CONVENT OF THE ORDER OF AVIS

The convent of the Avis order consists of a church, a sacristy, a chapter room, a bell tower, a refectory and a cloister. To enter the convent we pass through a beautiful marble portal that has a royal coat of arms from the year 1717.

Inside the church we find a single nave that houses the tomb of Fernão Rodrigues Sequeira (the last of the Avis masters). Still inside, there are two chapels: a side chapel (on the right side) and a main chapel. There is also an upper choir with 17th century chairs. The old convent dormitory gave its space to the current municipal museum of Avis. A cultural space where we can see, among other things, Roman archaeological remains.

CONVENT OF THE ORDER OF AVIS
CONVENT OF THE ORDER OF AVIS

AVIS PILLORY

I have to confess that the pillories always give me an uneasy feeling just imagining the atrocities that were committed there. But because history cannot be erased and should serve to avoid future mistakes, I make a point of visiting them almost every time. The Pillory of Avis was built in the 17th century on top of a marble base. At the top of the quadrangular column we find the eagle that symbolizes the municipality.

AVIS PILLORY
AVIS PILLORY

ANTA DA HERDADE DA ORDEM DE AVIS

Dolmens are, by definition, prehistoric funerary monuments. The chosen sites were usually in the middle of planted land (fields) and marked the place where human bodies were buried. Their construction was a common practice of mankind for about 5000 years. The Anta da Herdade da Ordem is part of a group of monuments that are located near the Ribeira de Almadafe. It has held the title of national monument since 1910.

DOLMENS AVIS
DOLMENS, AVIS

CAMPO ALENTEJANO MUSEUM (Avis Municipal Museum)

It opened its doors in the summer of 2014. The pieces we find there are the same ones we could see before in the Avis Municipal Museum. Pieces of craftsmanship, archaeology and local ethnography. The collection is located inside the Chapter Room and the Reading Room of the Monks of the Convent of São Bento. Closed on Mondays.

CAMPO ALENTEJANO MUSEUM (Avis Municipal Museum)
CAMPO ALENTEJANO MUSEUM (Avis Municipal Museum)

ERVEDAL BRIDGE

It is located 8 kilometers from Avis. Its construction started in 1957 and finished already in the 60s. It has a deck of 140 meters and a height of 3. When I first looked at this bridge the image of the 25th of April Bridge immediately came to my mind. Actually the similarities are real, but the Ervedal Bridge is obviously smaller. It was originally built of wood and was intended to last only 10 years. In 1985 a fire damaged the bridge deck and the bridge became passable only by people and animals. It was repaired in 1998 and a metal component was installed. Today, the bridge is again used for automobile traffic.

PUENTE DE ERVEDAL
PUENTE DE ERVEDAL

AVIS WALLS

What we can see today are the ruins of the ancient walls that protected the old town. Part of the walls have resisted the passage of time and, although they are very degraded, they can still be admired. The walls of this defensive structure were made of schist and granite.

AVIS WALLS
AVIS WALLS

MESTRE DE AVIS VIEWPONT

What we can see today are the ruins of the ancient walls that protected the old town. Part of the walls have resisted the passage of time and, although they are very degraded, they can still be admired. The walls of this defensive structure were made of schist and granite.

 MIRADOURO MESTRE DE AVIS
MESTRE DE AVIS VIEWPONT

SÃO ROQUE TOWER

Six towers were built in the original fortress and of these only three have survived. One of these towers is precisely the Tower of São Roque. The others are called Torre da rainha and Torre de Santo António.

 SÃO ROQUE TOWER
SÃO ROQUE TOWER

CHURCH OF MERCY (IGREJA DA MISERICÓRDIA)

It is close to the Matriz church of Avis and was, in the past, the place that housed the Misericórdia of the town. An 18th century temple that consists of the church of the Dead Lord (where wakes are held) and an infirmary. A monument with an important architecture and no less relevant historical value.  

CHURCH OF MERCY (IGREJA DA MISERICÓRDIA)
CHURCH OF MERCY (IGREJA DA MISERICÓRDIA)

VISITA VIRTUAL A AVIS

AVIS HISTORY

Few people remember that it was here that one of the most important figures in Portuguese history, Dom João I, the master of Avis, was born! In the 13th century, the village would have been a place of great importance in Portugal for having received one of the most important military orders of that time, the order of Avis (this theory is not unanimous among historians). Although the first written reference to Avis dates from the 13th century, Roman and Muslim traces and records were found in the region. These data point to the existence of settlements in this region of Alentejo prior to the Portuguese kingdom (as you know Portugal “was born” in 1143). If you are particularly interested in the history of this place, be sure to visit the church of the convent of São Bento de Assis. There you will find a permanent exhibition about the importance of the Avis order and also about the history of the village festivities. Both exhibits “tell” a lot about the past and also the present of this place.

GASTRONOMY AND TYPICAL PRODUCTS OF AVIS

The town of Avis also invites us to visit it through its mouth! “Avis has more flavor” is an initiative thought and organized by the town hall and that takes place right in the center of the village next to the pillory. There we can find the products that best represent the town. The “flavors market” with its handmade produced sweets and liqueurs stands out. Filhoses, azevias and the broas escaldas are ambassadors in the region. If you like liquors, in Avis you will find them for all tastes: cinnamon, blueberry, raspberry, acorn are just a few examples. One more note to mention other unmissable products: honey, bread and wine.

As for the most popular dishes in Avis, we highlight all those that are part of the typical Alentejo gastronomy, including açoras, migas, and pork.

RESTAURANTS IN AVIS

Because it is a small place, the restaurant options in the village are limited. Still, there are some good restaurants in Avis at very reasonable prices.

TASCA DO MONTINHO

Restaurant in Santo Antonio de Alcorrego (6.6 kilometers from Avis). It has over 500 comments on Google and an overall rating of 4.6 stars (out of a maximum of 5). A perfect solution for those who like to enjoy (good) typical Alentejan food. The compliments of the clients refer insistently to the quality of the food from the starters to the desserts. The friendliness of the staff and the decoration of the space are two more elements in favor. The price is moderate and fair considering the quality offered. An experience that stays in memory!

 TASCA DO MONTINHO
TASCA DO MONTINHO

HOTELS IN AVIS

Avis is a small town. Still, it has several accommodation options, for all tastes and all wallets. There are very luxurious and naturally very expensive options. But you will also find good solutions (not luxurious) with good quality.

CASA DO MONTINHO

It is 5 kilometers from Avis. It is our suggestion for accommodation because it is the one with the best price/quality ratio. It has more than 65 comments in the BOOKING and an overall rating of 8.8 stars (out of 5). The comments mention with insistence the cleanliness of the space, the decoration of the accommodation, the tranquility of the surroundings and the outdoor space. The friendliness of the staff is another element to highlight.

 CASA DO MONTINHO
CASA DO MONTINHO

WHAT TO VISIT NEAR AVIS?

If you have some time left, know that in the surroundings of the village of Avis there are several places and attractions that deserve a close visit. Our suggestions are: 1-Barragem do Maranhão, 2-Vila de Alter do Chão, 3-Mora, 4-Pavia.

MARANHÃO DAM

A 14-minute drive and a distance of 12 kilometers separate the village of Avis from the Maranhão dam, an artificial lake of great beauty built in the 1950s. Besides contributing to the irrigation of the region’s agricultural lands, it also offers a magnificent view of the plain and the lake (from its belvedere). During much of the year it is also a very popular place for those who enjoy swimming and canoeing.

ALTER DO CHÃO
ALTER DO CHÃO

From Avis to Alter do Chão is only 31 kilometers away, a journey that can be done in 26 minutes by car. Alter do Chão is another hidden pearl of the Alentejo! A very old village initially inhabited by the Romans. Even today we can still find and admire several testimonies of their passage through the region. The bridge of Vila Formosa and the Baths of Ferragial d’El Rei are the most spectacular elements of the Roman passage through the region.   

MORA
MORA

Between Avis and Mora there are 45 kilometers, a distance that can be covered in 46 minutes by car. Mora is another beautiful Alentejo’s village that is divided in 4 parishes: Pavia, Mora, Cabeção and Brotas. To know well the municipality of Mora we have to visit each of its parishes with time and attention. The great attractions of this region are: the fluviário, the ecological park of Gameiro and the chapel of São Dinis.    

PAVIA
PAVIA

19 minutes and 23 kilometers separate Avis from Pavia, one of Mora’s parishes. A small village with simple houses but with an interesting historical heritage. The origin of Pavia takes us back to pre-historical times. Indeed, it is there that we can admire the Pavia dolmen, the parish’s main attraction. Also the Cromeleque das Fontaínhas velhas is another pre-historical element of great interest in the region.

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