The Portalegre district lies on the Spanish border and has therefore been one of the most fortified areas in Portugal for centuries. There are currently several dozen castles or their ruins standing most often on the hills of the Serra da São Mamede mountains.
The capital of the region, Portalegre is a historic city with a castle, a baroque cathedral and a nice 17th century building. The attraction of the city is the Tapestry Museum presenting the products of the local manufactory which has been manufacturing wall and decorative fabrics since the 16th century.
In the 17th century, a huge fortress was built on the order of the king at the Spanish border. The fortified city of Elvas and its star bastions are inscribed on the UNESCO list today and belong to the most important defensive structures in Portugal.
There are also several dozen other castles in the district. Most visited by tourists are Marvao, Castelo de Vide, Belver, Alter do Chao and Avis.