Museu de Arqueologia & Museu de Caça

Inside the historic castelo looming above Vila Viçosa is an intriguing collection of relics, plus some less appealing animal skins and assorted taxidermy. Nevertheless, a visit to these museums is a must – if only to wander through the castle itself (think ‘secret’ tunnels, giant fireplaces and wonderful vaulted ceilings). The extraordinary (and underpromoted) archaeological collection is housed in the castle’s many rooms and spans various eras from the Palaeolithic to the Roman. It even has ancient Egyptian treasures.

Portuguese speakers should chat about the collection with the knowledgeable museum minder. The less interesting hunting museum is stuffed with guns and the dukes’ animal trophies.

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1. Castelo

0.02 MILES

The fascinating Dom Dinis walled hilltop castle was where the Bragança family lived before Paço Ducal was built. Part of it has been transformed into the…

2. Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Conceição

0.08 MILES

Within the castle walls is this brilliantly tiled 15th-century church. It is also known as Solar da Padroeira, Home of the Patron Saint – the Virgin’s…

3. Terreiro do Paço

0.38 MILES

The 16,000-sq-metre palace square is ringed by the Paço Ducal, an enormous palace, the heavy-fronted Agostinhos Convent and graceful Chagas Nunnery. In…

4. Paço Ducal


The dukes of Bragança built their palace in the early 16th century when the fourth duke, Dom Jaime, grew tired of his uncomfortable hilltop castle. The…

5. Café Águias d’Ouro

10.23 MILES

This photogenic cafe – built in art-nouveau style between 1908 and 1909 – is worth seeing for both the exterior and interior (don’t overlook the upstairs…

6. Cavalry Barracks

10.3 MILES

Just north of the square Rossio Marquês de Pombal, you’ll find a few monastic buildings that were converted into cavalry barracks and today house a modest…

8. Lago do Gadanha

10.32 MILES

Near the centre of town stretches this marble-edged water tank, called the Lago do Gadanha after its scythe-wielding statue of Neptune.