Central Way

Alcácer do Sal < > Casebres

Stage 11

The human presence in the area that today composes the civil parish of São Martinho, whose headquarters is today located in the village of Casebres, dates back to the mid- Prehistory.

However, it was only after the final conquest of Alcácer do Sal that the region and the most important toponyms began to appear in the historical documentation, serving nowadays as a reference and geographical orientation for those living in and visiting this territory.

In a brief chronological overview, considering that during the millennia of the Pre and Protohistory a large part of the population was reduced and mostly nomadic, it is only since the Roman Period, or in the last 2000 years, that we have witnessed a more consistent human setting in this region, which defines the space extending north of Alcácer do Sal.

At that time, this vast territory belonged to the Roman city of Salácia (current Alcácer do Sal), administrative practice and cultural bond that would remain during the five centuries of the following period, that correspond to the Islamic occupation of this region of Baixo (Low) Sado.

By the time of the war to reconquest this territory to the kingdom of Portugal, almost always under the initiative of the powerful Order of Santiago, king D. Sancho II gave autonomy to Cabrela, until then one of the castles Alcácer municipality, in the 20s of the 13th century.Despite this creation of a new centrality at the expense of Alcácer do Sal, both municipalities continued to belong to the powerful Order of Santiago at the administrative level, having to share, in the spiritual level, some aspects and tithes with the Bishopric and Archbishopric of Évora.

In terms of documentary records, we have in the 13th century, in a period of a few decades after the definitive conquest of Alcácer (1217), the existence of Comenda de Bemposta. It was donated by the Order of Santiago to Maria Martins Navarra and yielded 100 pounds.

Shortly afterward, appears the reference to St Martin, patron saint and toponym of the commune and the river that crosses its territory.

For centuries, the main church was located on the site called “Freguesia” (Parish) and is today, by virtue of the administrative arrangements of the 19th century, in the nearby town of Montemor-o-Novo. The earliest parish books date from 1651.As a final note, some elements of historical nature regarding the church, hermitage, and hospice of Nossa Senhora da Serrinha, which is nowadays the most important religious monument of the commune.

It is the only known hermitage that the Order of the Calced Carmelites had in the municipality of Alcácer do Sal, as well as in the territory of the Order of Santiago. There are some documental evidences that suggest the existence of this hermitage in 1594. Although, we only have certainties for 1729, at which time this hermitage is referred for the first time, based on known documents.

The current church, hospice and attached houses, whose works began in 1739, were born of the pious initiative of Francisco de Matos, from Alcácer, and his family.All this religious space was ceded to a religious community of the Order of the Calced Carmelites and Third Parties. The Main Church of São Martinho was deactivated at a date, still undetermined, in the mid-19th or 20th century.

On December 8, 1966, the headquarters of São Martinho’s parish moved to the village of Casebres.In Casebres, as in the rest of the Alentejo, the occupations are essentially agricultural, such as cork harvesting, tomato and pine nuts collection, eucalyptus planting and cutting, tree extraction, among other agricultural and forestry works.

Some of the older people, especially men, perform work related to livestock, shepherding, milking and shearing. A small percentage of the population works in factories or in services existing in the adjacent municipalities.

This area’s gastronomy benefits from the richness of the Alentejo cuisine condiments. The Ensopado de Borrego (Lamb stew), the Açorda de Alho (Garlic bread soup), and the Migas (Breadcrumbs) with entrecote are particularly appreciated. The artisanal confectionery, such as the pinhoadas, the pine and honey cakes, the pine cups, and the honey cakes, is based on the ingredients offered by the region.Although there are no organized touristic structures, this civil parish gathers tourists in its outdoor events, balls and popular festivals. Also of tourist interest, we suggest the reservoirs of Bemposta and Azenha Pintada, perfect for fishing and picnics lovers.

The village of Casebres, within its quietness and typical Alentejo characteristics, is an ideal location for those who seek this region’s calm and serenity.

and also…

Religious festivities in honnor of São Martinho − May

São João Festivities − June

Joy Festival − August

Christmas “midnight”

On this “Midnight” of Christmas, young people leave their home and occupy the abandoned hills, taking with them turkey, drinks, and seasonings to make a recipe. The tradition, unique in the country, is repeated in Casebres every year.

The exit of Alcácer do Sal towards north seems a difficult task for those who travel by foot or bicycle. “Surrounded” by a motorway (A2) and a highway (IC1), on which the north exit’s road (N5) converges, and enclosed by extensive private properties that fill the spaces between these roads, there are no safe mobility solutions for the more sustainable forms of travel, which are walking and cycling.

Even so, the defined itinerary minimizes those impacts. It begins with the crossing of Avenida dos Aviadores (N5) to the east, continuing through Avenida dos Clérigos until Bairro do Venâncio. At the end of the avenue, we detour to the left, to a dirt track, until the next intersection. We open and close the access gate to the land in front, where the progression will be hampered by the amount of loose sand. We follow the fence on the right until we find the viaduct passing over the A2.

We get into the cork and holm oak forest, to reach the entrance gate of Herdade de Vale de Reis, with a large photoelectric power station on our right side.

After passing the wicket door, we walk straight ahead until we find on the left the descent to the facilities of the estate, a future rural hotel just over 1 km away. From here we climb the church hill, bypassing it on the left.

We continue through the dense and beautiful cork oak forest for 5.5 km, to the wicket door that allows us to leave the estate and access the municipal road that will lead us to Casebres.

From now on, we face the remaining 7.5 km with tranquility and without much effort, along a road practically flat and without traffic, with biodiversity as a company.

We advance between the Jardim Municipal (Municipal Garden) tables and benches and continue through the Largo José Afonso. We notice the calm and serenity of this village typical of Alentejo. The inhabitants subsist on the cattle, cork harvesting, tomato and pine cone harvesting, eucalyptus plantation and cutting, among other agricultural works. In November, Saint Martin’s Day is celebrated with dances, roasted chestnuts and “água-pé” (piquette). We also visit the parish church of São Martinho, Priory of the Order of Santiago, which established an agricultural estate here. They are waiting for us in the Parish Council…


Always carry water, supplies, sunscreen, a hat, waterproof, comfortable shoes, and a map.


 Bank/Cash Dispenser


 Café Batista

 Café/Restaurante Sabores d’Campo

Public Entities

 Parish Council
+351 265 649 124


For questions related to accommodation, please contact the parish council.

Points of Interest

Igreja e Hospital da Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Estremoz:

Castelo de Estremoz:

Igreja de Santa Maria:

Igreja de São Francisco:

Museu Municipal de Estremoz Prof. Joaquim Vermelho:

Palácio dos Marqueses de Praia e Monforte:

Produção de Figurado em Barro “Bonecos de Estremoz”:

Centro de Ciência Viva:

 Lago do Gadanha:

Antiga Casa da Câmara/ Casa Alcaide-Mor:

Bairro de Santiago:

Capela da Rainha Santa Isabel:

Igreja de Santiago:

Serra d’Ossa:


Emergency: 112
Forest Fires: 117


Do not leave the marked and signaled route. Do not approach cliffs. Pay attention to the markings. Do not dispose of organic or inorganic waste during the trail, take a bag for this purpose. If you see garbage, collect it, help us to keep the Paths clean. Beware of livestock, don’t bother the animals. Leave Nature intact. Do not collect plants, animals or rocks. Avoid making noise. Respect private property, close gates and barriers. Don’t light fires and be careful with cigarettes. Do not vandalize the Paths signage.