Quality self catering in the Serra da Sao Mamede, Alto Alentejo, Portugal.

Marvao, Alentejo, Portugal a dramatic medieval hill-top village bordering Spain.

A view from the top of Marvao castle looking east into Spain

A view from the top of Marvao castle looking east into Spain

They call it the Eagles Nest.

Marvao is a spectacular medieval walled village perched at 900 metres on a rocky crag called the Serra de Marvao. The narrow cobbled streets lined with whitewashed houses many with decorative doors and windows from the 15th century, wind their way up to one of the best preserved castles in Portugal dating from the 13th century.

The views from the castle are truly breathtaking looking out over wild rocky landscape towards Spain and the Serra da Estrela mountains in Portugal, which are often snow capped in winter. At dawn, in the evening or when the mists close in Marvao becomes almost eerie as it rises up to touch the sky. This is a very special place.

Perched on the top of a steep granite hill the fortress has been impregnable for centuries and Marvao's history shows how hard it was to persuade inhabitants to stay.

Even today you won't see many residents or anyone else as you explore the granite cobbled streets. The atmosphere is evocative and you cannot help but feel you belong to the privileged few to have seen this place.

There is however one exceptional weekend when the loneliness of Marvao's streets is replaced with the excitement of crowds, quaffing good local rustic wine and singing traditional songs. That is the Marvao Chestnut Festival in November each year. Get a friend to drive you there!

Marvao is simply one of best places to visit in Portugal.