"A Village of Great Consequence" Alcochete by SOLODANCER
Alcochete Travel Guide: 38 reviews and 156 photos
Alcochete. I bet very likely you've never heard of the place before and the reason why you're hearing of it for the very first time was through me and perchance by happening upon my pages.
Yes, Alcochete, I can without hesitation and reservation tell you is a special little place. But it is special only and can be a special place only if you yourself possessed the knowledge of very special places. Otherwise, Alcochete, to an ordinary traveller or visitor simply passing thru is nothing but just another little quaint tranquil sleepy town - a mere glance for the eye looking ahead towards Lisbon or Evora and beyond.
If you are that type of visitor however who purposely exerts a certain continual sense of adventurousness in yourself and also unquenchable thirst for new unheard of undiscovered places, then Alcochete is for your taking definitely and will be yours surprisingly under such little effort in seeking her out from a generous easy path extending out of the city of Lisbon.
The special quality of Alcochete is not in terms of grandiousness as far as ruins and monuments are concerned, nor in terms of overwhelming uniqueness and beauty. It is an unburnished simplicity that Alcochete offers the visitor - that memorable quality and experience. One must go there for tranquility, straightforward simple beauty that is unpretentious and refreshing, not to mention that it is utterly typical and undeniably Portuguese in character. When I came here for the first time, I was with a couple of friends from New York who exclaimed after seeing the place "it's pretty, yes, but it's no different than all the other villages in Portugal." It's a generalization that some people hold unfortunately from an obvious lack of true sentiment, adventurousness and that certain personal romance with travel.
At first glance, Alcochete could be just another little sleepy village or town in Portugal....which is deceiving in a way...until you start to walk around and slowly and leisurely discovers her. You will notice its compactness, her bare necesities like an arrangement in a doll house, its grand old houses, winding tight streets, her nearness and strategic position right on the River Tejo estuary. But, above all, Alcochete is not tourists run which to me is its appeal.
Beyond all this, Alcochete's appeal masks its special historical position which stands tall among the other illustrious Portuguese places. The great King Manuel I was born here in June 1, 1469. If you must know, Dom Manuel was considered one of Portugal's great monarchs being the single ruler of Portugal highly responsible for the country's extensive conquests overseas and unimaginable discoveries of all sorts during the 1500's. With this background, a royal charter was granted to Alcochete in 1515.
Alcochete is a short hop out of Lisbon thru the spectacular Vasco da Gama bridge by Calatrava. So it can be visited in a day if need be. And there are regular buses to town out of Lisbon taking a mere 40 minutes thereabout. If you're coming from the Algarve, Alentejo or Ribatejo regions of Portugal, it's an easy detour and stopover if you've got your own transport. And using Alcochete as a base, one can easily explore the nearby memorable places such as Cabo Espichel, Costa da Caparica with its vast expanse of accesible beaches, the Troia Peninsula, the spectacular natural reserve of the Arrabida Peninsula, the beach resort town of Sesimbra, historic Setubal, the great Roman city of Evora and of course the Reserva Natural do Estuario do Tejo, a vast area of estuary water salt marshes and small islands as important breeding ground for water birds.
A typical street in Alcochete peppered with stunning opulent-looking old houses.
The main igreja (church) in Alcochete - Igreja Sao Joao Baptista. The greater church itself was constructed in the 1500s; whereas the bell tower put up years later during the 17th century.
- Pros:It feels far away from it all
- Cons:The adjacent new town somehow taints it a bit
- In a nutshell:An Endearing GetAway Place
Just lose yourself totally in Alcochete. This is my advice in order to thoroughly enjoy this wondrous little place. In... more travel advice
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