Eastern Way

Beja < > Cuba

Stage 6

Pure and hard plain, without shadows, some horses grazing, some olive trees lined up and a few planes taking off from the aerodrome, which aims to be an international airport. Beja serves as a starting point for another stage, which ends in Cuba, a town with several attractions. Right from the start, in the square where the Tourism Office is located, we discover the controversial statue of Cristóvão Colombo, by sculptor Alberto Trindade, which was inaugurated in 2006 and weighs one and a half tons. According to historical research, Cuba was the birthplace and baptism of Salvador Fernandes Zarco, the illegitimate son of a nobleman from Beja.

He adopted the Spanish name of Cristóvão Colon to serve, at the behest of the Portuguese king, as a spy in the Spanish court. The plot – described in an exhibition at the Tourism Office – is complex but credible, and explains, among other “coincidences”, why the famous discoverer gave the name of Cuba to the island he arrived in the Caribbean, in addition to other names of Alentejo origin that he used in other “baptisms”.Cuba has other charms, such as the fountain and public washhouse, built in the 20th century, which served those arriving in Cuba coming from Beja, even establishing itself as a social complex of great importance.

The current configuration of the fountain dates back to 1923, according to the inscription on the gable, the only more monumental part, marked by three openings, the central one wider and framing four spouts in the shape of a lion. The wash house is located behind the fountain and attached to the “mãe de água” (wellhead).

A chegar a Cuba

Arriving to Cuba

Igreja de São Matias

São Vicente Church
The church was built in the 16th century and was enlarged in the 19th century, the same period as the galilee flanked by two towers on the main façade. It has a single nave and a chancel with a Mannerist altarpiece that includes two gilded columns and the rest of the popular ornamentation. The baptismal font bears an inscription with the year 1701, probably the date on which the monument’s renovation work was completed.

Probably founded in the 16th century, the essence of the Quinta and chapel of São Pedro (St Peter) dates back to the next century when the chapel became a local pilgrimage destination. The late baroque appearance of the main façade was conferred in a campaign of works carried out around 1804. It’s a building of remarkable scenographic impact, with a front preceded by a galilee and flanked by two slender towers.

Pilgrim houses were attached to the church. Of medieval origin, the chapel was completely reformulated from 1572, the year in which the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora, in Lisbon, signed a contract with the master mason Manuel Gonçalves. The result was a majestic temple, of great dimensions, with the main façade flanked by two grandiose staggered towers. The interior has a unique vaulted nave, reinforced by buttresses, and profusely decorated with polychrome azulejo tiles dating back to 1665. The main altarpiece is from the first half of the 18th century, with rococo additions. In 2003, the sacristy was transformed into a museum space to house the church’s treasure.

Ponte Romana Vila Ruiva

Roman Bridge Vila Ruiva
Located in the old Roman road Ebora a Pax Julia, which passed through Vila Ruiva and on the bed of the river Odivelas, this Roman bridge is situated about 3 km from the village. Based on granite bollards and brick archery which seems loose, although it is from Roman times, he may have undergone Visigothic and Arab reconstructions. It consists of 26 arches, interspersed by perfect semi-circular eyebolts, and is 120 meters long, with a maximum width of 5 meters.

and also…
Vila Alva Gastronomic Fair + Festivities in Honor of Our Lady of the Rock (Cuba) + Festivities in Honor of St. Mary (Vila Ruiva) + Festivities in Honor of St. Louis (Faro do Alentejo) – August

Cuba Annual Fair – September

Roman Dam

Near the junction between the Cuba/ Vila Alva/Vila Ruiva roads, on the left of those heading towards Vila Alva, a few meters from the hermitage, today called Nossa Senhora da Represa, there is a thick wall, in opus incertum with an east-west orientation. Popular tradition considers it the foundations of a large church that would have been built in honor of Nossa Senhora da Represa, a work that was never completed due to the preference that the image of the Lady would have shown for the church of S. Caetano, built a few meters away.

We had time to explore Beja, so we can start our journey just outside the city, crossing the railway line at the opening of the fence next to Rua da Lavoura. From there, we follow the typical stone alleys and pass through the Arco da Porta de Avis (Gate Arch). As a curiosity, the stones of the door arch were lost after its demolition, in 1893, to be found 40 years later, serving as tables at the local market fishmonger’s shop.

Guided by the azulejo tiles on the buildings walls, we go to the crossing point of the “railroad” already mentioned above. From here, we follow on the left, on an asphalted road, towards the village of São Matias, 6 km away, almost in a straight line. On the way, the tarmac gives way to the dirt track that we walk until we reach a crossroads where we choose to turn left.

We sight the first houses of São Matias village, where we enter through Rua Alferes Borges dos Reis, after crossing the national road N18. We’re about halfway through the route, so we suggest you to take a break for lunch at the only local restaurant on the roadside.

Next to Largo da Igreja square, we can visit the church Igreja de São Matias, built in the 16th century, with two columns of gilded wood carving and a folk character altarpiece.

We leave the village on the rural road that flows off the coast, to the north, towards Cuba. We arrive there by crossing the Bairro Novo da Bica neighborhood and the large roundabout, heading to Rua 1.º de Maio. 250 m ahead, we turn right to Rua de Serpa Pinto, and rush straight ahead until we reach the Tourism Office at Largo Cristovão Colon. We came fast to arrive in time to visit the most famous artisan shoemaker in Alentejo, the charismatic Mário Grilo, and take the foot mould for our next genuine Alentejo boots!

In Cuba, we still take time to discover the unmissable Rota das Tabernas (Tavern Route), going in and out of old and traditional taverns between a good chat, regional snacks and successive “copos de três” (glasses of three)…


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


 CTT Post Office

 Bank/Cash Dispenser

 Tourism Office
+351 284 419 903/+351 963 709 475

Táxi Manuel José Quaresma Esteves
+351 966 144 656/+351 284 412 295

Public Entities

 Cuba City Council
+351 284 419 900

Vila Ruiva Parish Council
+351 284 495 178


 Cuba Health Center − +351 284 419 080


Points of Interest

 House of the Writer Fialho de Almeida

 António Bicho Museum, known as “Museu Caluta”

 São Vicente de Cuba Main Church’s Treasure Museum

 São Vicente de Cuba Main Church

 Carmo Church and Ashram

 São Pedro Church

 Nossa Sra. da Conceição da Rocha Church

 São Sebastião Church

 São Luís de Faro do Alentejo Main Church

 Nossa Senhora da Encarnação Main Church

 Nossa Senhora da Visitação or Nossa Senhora do Outeiro Church

 Misericórdia Church− Vila Alva

 Nosso Senhor dos Passos Chapel – Vila Alva

 Papa São Sixto Hermitage

 Nossa Senhora da Represa Hermitage

 Santo António Hermitage

 Quinta da Esperança or Quinta do Conde

 Relógio Borralho Eco-Palace

 Dolmens − Vila Alva

 Roman Bridge

 Albergaria dos Fusos Dam


Emergency: 112
Forest Fires: 117
Cuba Fire Department: +351 284 419 060
GNR − National Republican Guard: +351 284 249 217


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.