Caminho Nascente


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Mértola is a wonderful place containing vestiges of the late Roman, Visigothic, Muslim and Reconquest eras. The adjacent castle, church and archeological site form the main historical focus of the town and can be explored in an hour or two. Keep in mind that all three are closed on Sundays and Mondays.

The castle was built as the headquarters for the Portuguese branch of the Order of Santiago in 1292, on top of earlier Muslim fortifications. The most impressive aspect of the castle is the 27m-high keep, which now contains a small museum.

In the altar of the church, the mihrab from the building’s previous incarnation is the only known remnant of a medieval mosque in Portugal. The museum underneath the church contains fragments of a paleo-Christian church that predates the mosque.

The archeological site consists of ruins of residential areas from early medieval and Muslim times. Fragments of 5th-6th century mosaics of Byzantine inspiration are the most interesting finds.

Casa do Funil is a good budget accommodation option in the centre of Mértola, with a rooftop terrace affording good views. If you’re lucky, one of the owners, Rui, will use his urban sketching skills to fashion a unique stamp in your pilgrim passport.


There are no stores between Mértola and Cabeça Gorda, so stock up on provisions in Mértola.

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Accommodation in Mértola