Fodor's Expert Review Coudelaria de Alter
If you're interested in horses, you must visit the Alter Stud Farm, 22 km (14 miles) southwest of Portalegre. It was founded by Dom João V in 1748 to furnish royalty with high-quality mounts. Dedicated to preserving and developing the beautiful Alter Real (Royal Alter) strain of the Lusitania breed, the farm has had a long, turbulent history. After years of foreign invasion and pillage, little remains of its original structures, but a huge modern equestrian complex now surrounds the older buildings. Fortunately, the equine bloodline, one of Europe's noblest, has been preserved, and you can watch these superb horses being trained and exercised on the farm. There are also three small but interesting museums here: one documents the history of the farm, one has a collection of horse-drawn carriages, and one has displays on the art of falconry. The town of Alter do Chão itself, with the battlements of a 14th-century castle overlooking a square, is also worth a stroll.