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Alcoutim is a hillside town of cobbled streets, small squares and a paved promenade, situated along the banks of the Guadina river, about 40 km (24 mi). This river promenade features a few cafes and restaurants that overlook the water. Here, the river narrows. If you need a breather in your vacation, watching the boats idle past this narrow point while sipping a coffee at a café is a great way to take a break from sightseeing; the backdrop of low, green hills is as good a substitute for historical points of interest as any. At the front of the river is a 16th century church bearing the coat of arms of the Marquises of Vila Real and the Counts of Alcoutim. 

If your time is flexible enough to allow you a moment to watch the river go by, you may also want to explore the countryside. The hills are verdant and covered in wildflowers, providing a a pastoral landscape for Alcoutim’s neighboring towns (Pereiro, Martinlongo), as well the ruins of a 13th century castle and 12th century church in nearby Mértola, which is a mere 30 km (18 mi) drive away.

Another short drive to the south takes you to the town of Castro Marim. Of note here are the ruins of its Moorish castle, which offers a wide view of the surrounding salt pans and the Spanish countryside across the border. Castro Marim is also home to a nature preserve.

Practical Info

This area of Portugal, particularly the eastern end near the Guadina River, is a little underdeveloped, which makes for scenic drives through rolling green hills and serene countryside. The hillside overlooking Acoutim bears the ruins of a 14th century castle, which is now a small archaeological museum.

Alcoutim is also about a 30 minute drive to the golden beaches of the coast.

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