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Santarém district – Special mix of 3 ingredients


To see Visiting Santarém district

This district combines with perfection landscape, religion and the proud traditions of a special people.

My preferences in the district:

*** Not to be missed: Tomar

Very interesting: Santarém, Fátima

* Interesting: Ourém, Alpiarça, Dornes

With time:  Abrantes, Almeirim, Constância, Barquinha, Alcanede, Benavente, Coruche, Ferreira do Zêzere, Golegã, Ribeira de Santarém, Sardoal, and, close to Turquel, Rio Maior

Family matters took me also to Alcobertas, but dancing was what pulled me deeper inside “Ribatejo”, “rediscovering” some other places. That’s how I went back to Entroncamento and Torres Novas, but that was also the pretext to “discover” Moçarria, Salvaterra de Magos, São Vicente do Paúl and Cartaxo, Vale da Pedra included. Amiais de Baixo, a place where I’ve never been, was the residence of several friends used to gather in Nazaré, but that I didn’t meet in my dancing visit.

Porto Alto, before the arrival of Chinese wholesalers was just a detail in the old way to Algarve, now it is something more.

A special place was added, through some friends in our dancing team – Arrouquelas is just a village, but Badula farm and its wine production became a mandatory objective for some great days in September. Nearby, Anteporta has a good restaurant.

Why not making it a regular meeting point? As you may verify… I will try



Dozens of times I passed through Abrantes without stopping, many more times I stopped in Abrantes to play and watch roller hockey, without ever seeing the city.
The dance took me to Pego, right next door, but once again there was no time for visits.
I went there, on purpose, and I especially liked the castle and its spectacular views.


Visiting Santarém district
Visiting Santarém district – Almeirim

Almeirim is mainly a land of bulls and wine.

I mean, it was, before José Toucinho started to sell that gastronomic bomb called “Sopa da Pedra”.

Now there are many restaurants  selling “the best” sopa da pedra, but we stopped going there so frequently because that soup is today available almost in all the country, always with different details, always strong, generally good tasting.


Visiting Santarém district
Visiting Santarém district – Anteporta

​Anteporta is a village where in didn’t pass much times and always skipped until a friend strongly recommended a local restaurant.

Then, we went there expressly to try that restaurant.

It is good, yes, but, in a area with so many good places it didn’t enthusiasm us for a new visit.

And I forgot to look around…


Visiting Santarém district
Visiting Santarém district – Arrouquelas

Each September i visit Arrouquelas.

A friend has a winery there, and harvesting is a regular pretext to a little work and a large fun.

I had a look at the village, but I must confess that Badula farm is the only thing inviting me there.



Barquinha, another place seen several times running, joined the dance, and gave me time for a closer visit. Worth it! There is dynamics and good taste at Barquinha.


Visiting Santarém district
Visiting Santarém district – Benavente

​Dancing, was, in many other places in Ribatejo, the reason that took me several times to Benavente.

Though the competition forced always several hours inside the pavilion (or the pavilions, because we dance also in Barrosa, a village nearby, I had time to walk around, seeing the place.

It’s a calm and nice place, where we once more, had the opportunity to end the competition with a reinvigorating picnic.



​In a remote land in the center of Portugal, during WW1, three children announced the apparition of a lady “brighter than the sun”.

Faith and commerce merged to, in less than a  century build in that nowhere land a city.

Fátima is the capital of religious tourism in Portugal, with millions of visits each year, mainly in May and October.

Ferreira do Zêzere

Visiting Santarém district
Visiting Santarém district

A couple of hours, just a couple of hours was all that I could allow myself to visit Ferreira do Zêzere for the first time

It left me the idea of a working progressive small town, taking good advantage of river and dam to compensate the distance from the coast.

I returned a few more times, to explore the real beauties of the region, shared with Vila de Rei, in another district, and Dornes, a really wonderful village.



Many of the world’s beautiful corners are located along the river, in places that human hands have not altered. In others, it is precisely human use that adds beauty to the place. In a remote location in Salvaterra de Magos, in Escaroupim, man’s connection to the river provides a space of calm and invigorating beauty. It’s out of the way, on a secondary road, but… it’s nice!


Visiting Santarém district
Visiting Santarém district – Ourém

Many times I passed in Ourém only in one of them deciding to climb the hill to go to the castle. Many years have passed, and recently I decided to repeat the visit.
I was delighted with the work that tourism has imposed on the beautification of that historic space.
Now, it is worth going up to the castle of Ourém.



Near Tancos, a strange castle occupies an islet in the Tagus River. Almourol Castle has witnessed the passage of various peoples over more than 2000 years, and its current, medieval version is must-see.

Porto Alto

Santarém district
Santarém district

​Fading Chinamarket

Once upon a time there was a village, only with one of the most prestigious Inns of Portugal, 30 km away from Lisbon.

One day, the Chinese came and Porto Alto became a plantation of stores of all kinds of Chinese junk.

Then came the crisis, the Inn became a stunning downfall, dozens of Chinese warehouses mimic it, and Porto Alto lost dimension and life.

What will lead a tourist to Porto Alto?​ I don’t know. I passed there a lot of times, travelling elsewhere, and that can also happen to a lot of people. On the border of the immensity of the Alentejo, this is an option to stop and eat something.

That’s what I did. Twice. Until now without any reason for celebration, but here I’m collecting the experiences …


Visiting Santarém district
Visiting Santarém district – Riachos

​I didn’t visit Riachos – I just went there to receive my National Champion band and have the worst dancing performance of my life – till now!

So ashamed, that I had no guts to see the village. ​Maybe next time.

Meanwhile dancing took me to many other nice villages of Santarém district, and I gathered some photos and notes about Alcanede, Alcanena, Alcobertas, Amiais de Baixo, Benfica do Ribatejo, Cartaxo, Coruche, Ribeira de Santarém and São Vicente do Paul.

Rio Maior

Rio Maior
Rio Maior

A progressive town that maintains traditional authenticity in its historic center, Rio Maior has its biggest attraction in the neighboring Serras de Aire e Candeeiros Natural Park and in the salt flats.


Visiting Santarém district
Visiting Santarém district – Santarém

Capital of the district, Santarém is a city full of personality, and proud of his character and traditions.

Without any outstanding monument, it has many Gothic examples and small beautiful details fill the city.

​More than to see Santarém it’s important to live Santarém and its marriage to the river.


Visiting Santarém district
Visiting Santarém district – Tomar

Tomar is, Fátima excluded, the main touristy destination in the district.

Christ convent is the gem that justifies the trip, but there are many other interesting details in town and around it.​

Torres Novas

Visiting Santarém district
Visiting Santarém district – Torres Novas
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Visiting Santarém district -Torres Novas Castle

​First, to visit some factories. Now… to dance.

I must confess that I never visited Torres Novas under a touristy perspective.

Well, dancing took me once more to its vicinity, and allowed a couple of hours. The temptation was big and I couldn’t resist

Not much time and the rain made me plan another visit


Portas do Sol
Portas do Sol

It’s a world for itself, this area, dominated by the river Tejo, and where bulls are created in freedom, by a proud people very zealous about their traditions and cultural references.

​Bullfight, folklore, fado and wine are the strongest of them, and everything gets its climax each June, when it occurs, always in Santarém, the National Fair of Agriculture.

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