Eastern Way

Évora < > São Miguel de Machede

Stage 9

Évora is one of the cities with the richest historical past in the world. We could stay there, or come back a hundred times and, as Raul Proença says (in Guia de Portugal), we would always find “(…) towers that rise up, walls that crush us, crossroads that make us perplexed, façades that advance or retract, slopes, kinks, niches, small chests, counters, watercolor sections, (…).”.

Therefore, we progressed through the streets and narrow alleys to the busiest roads leading us to the outskirts of the city, with the promise of returning soon. We leave Évora through the Estrada dos Aliados (Allies Road), to “conquer” Evoramonte, inspired by the legendary character of the knight matamouros (Moor-slayer) Geraldo “Sem Pavor” (Without fear), who appears on Évora’s coat of arms just like Santiago in many other cities. But first, we pass through Azaruja, where we find the Palácio dos Condes da Azarujinha (Palace of the Counts of Azarujinha), a title created by D. Carlos I in 1890, to honor António Augusto de Freitas, a native of Marinha Grande, who enriched himself in the glass business and embarked on a political career in the regenerating field.

Church of Nossa Senhora de Machede

In the old parish of São Miguel de Machede, we can find the church of Our Lady with the same name. Built in the 16th century, it is another austere and monumental Mannerist church of Alentejo. In baroque times, it was the object of great renovation, and practically all the artistic contents of the interior as well as the dynamic appearance of the towers of the main façade, date from that time. In 1758, the church of Nossa Senhora da Natividade (Our Lady of the Nativity) de Machede had three altars. In addition to the main altarpiece, dedicated to the patron saint, there was another dedicated to Nossa Senhora do Rosário (Our Lady of the Rosary) and a third one to the blessed souls of the Purgatory.

His connection to the Alentejo is justified by the fact that he was a great entrepreneur in the cork business, and even ended up dividing his large property into different plots of land for the benefit of the local population. It’s an eclectic building, characterized by turrets, terraces and lowered spans, in the style of the wealthy residential architecture of the end of the 19th century.In the possession of important members of the Alentejo nobility, Azaruja must have promoted the construction of its pillory in the 18th century, long after the great pillories outbreak in the country, which was coincident with the charters concession by D. Manuel I. The current location was conferred already in the 20th century, when the small surrounding garden was benefited. It’s an elaborate pillory, with a hexagonal column and a conical pineshaped finishing, probably the only which is associated with a noble hunting area and not with municipal autonomy.

Church of São Miguel de Machede
The church was built in the second half of the 16th century. In 1758, the church had five altars. In addition to the main altarpiece dedicated to São Miguel, there were altarpieces dedicated to São Pedro (St Peter), Nossa Senhora do Rosário (Our Lady of the Rosary), and Santo António (St Anthony).

Hermitage of Nossa Senhora do Monte do Carmo

This hermitage of Our Lady is actually a baroque shrine of regional pilgrimage, which reached its peak in the 19th century. The origins, however, are earlier and point to a hermitage inhabited by hermits before the mid-18th century. The present sanctuary was started in 1757, by the initiative of D. Frei Miguel de Távora, Archbishop of Évora. Inside this small and octagonal temple, marked by altars of rococo wood carving, there is an impressive repository of ex-vows painted in different types of material, from wax to leather, but there are also achievements with human hair and reptile skin. As a pilgrimage destination, the sanctuary has a caretaker’s house and two inns (large and small). An important part of this heritage is now a hotel.

and also…

Festivities of São Miguel Machede − August

Know-How Fairs − September

Ponto&Alto Festival

The Festival de Cante Alentejano de São Miguel de Machede takes place in September and aims to contribute to the enrichment of the traditional songbook, encouraging the emergence of new trends, giving an opportunity for the recognition of talents identified with the Cante Alentejano, in safeguarding this Intangible Heritage of Humanity, recognized by UNESCO.An initiative by the Grupo de Cantadeiras de São Miguel de Machede and the Grupo de Cantadores “Os Marchantes”, in partnership with the Party Planning Committee and the Parish Council of São Miguel de Machede, and all the other local institutions and companies.

We pass the small bridge over the river Xarrama, the neighborhood of Santa Luzia and, straight ahead on the Path, already in macadam, we reach the gates of Herdade da Fonte Coberta, about 5 km after the beginning of our journey.

We bypass the entire property on the left, now on a beautiful narrow and rustic trail, leading us to the valley of the Degebe River, just after climbing a small elevation. We follow the river for 2 km, until a gate blocking the path reminds us that it is time to roll up our pants and wade across the river. We are on an old medieval way that connects Évora to Nossa Senhora de Machede, and we can still see the stones that paved it and, on the left, some of the “posts” that used to help the walkers to cross the river.

Without further detours, we arrive at Nossa Senhora de Machede. We cross the bridge of Roman origin over the Machede stream and climb the slope to the top, where the church stands out among the lower houses. A village where leather is well crafted, and we can see, on the outskirts, the tannery, which justifies the anomalous number of coffee shops in Largo da Casa do Povo square. We take Rua 25 de Abril on the left, but just 100 metres ahead we turn and descend Rua do Depósito. At the bend we leave the tarmac and continue along the dirt road on the right, until we are immersed in another extensive olive grove that we cross to the estate’s edge.

We continue through successive hills and “courelas” (small cultivation plots), in a more undulating landscape, with some ravines and an immense quantity of different species birds, and even a splendid vineyard where a flock of goats also grazes.

We are in the property of Casa Relvas, and it is worth suggesting a slight detour for a visit to the modern cellar, easily seen on our left, in where you can taste the wines and other local products. We are in the vicinities of São Miguel de Machede, so, with or without a detour, we enter the village soon after and finish the stage in Praça da República square, next to the parish church of the patron Saint Michael the Archangel. If you haven’t done so before, it’s time to start thinking about getting accommodation by asking the parish council or one of the restaurants in the area, where you can’t miss the delicacy of “bochechas de porco com migas” (pork cheeks with crumbs). If you have some free time, take the opportunity to visit Monte do Álamo and its winery, located near this village.


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


 CTT Post Office

 Táxis Fonte Boa +351 266 987 171

Where to Eat

 Adega do Miguel
+351 968 782 475

 Café Central
+351 266 743 279

 Snack Bar Varanda
+351 266 987 227

Public Entities

 Évora City Council
+351 266 777 000

 São Miguel de Machede Parish Council
+351 266 987 186



Points of Interest

 Nossa Senhora de Machede Church

 São Miguel de Machede Church


Emergency: 112
Forest Fires: 117
Fire Department: +351 266 702 122
PSP − Public Security Police: +351 266 760 450
GNR − National Republican Guard: +351 266 987 123
GNR − Évora Territorial Station: +351 266 748 400


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.