Portugal’s hidden gems

Portugal’s hidden gems View Gallery
Elvas is about 230km east of Lisbon, and sits on a hilltop overlooking the Spanish border

Jamie Ball braves the 45-degree heat of Alentejo to discover history, scenery and cuisine

Elvas is a pain in the neck. Late-Gothic chapels, cathedrals and castles have the eye straining skywards at the opulent, glam-rock relics of 16th-century Catholicism.

We’re on the Jesus and Mary trail, while outside, the marble pavements are worn smooth by threadbare-but-chin-up pensioners mooching along tight, four-storey streets in what is another of those fabulous little Mediterranean towns where you find yourself even envious of the pigeons.

About 230 kilometres east of Lisbon, Elvas...

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