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Castro Marim Overview

1st June 2012: Algarve Property News

Written by Come to Portugal

Casto Marim lies at the eastern edge of the Algarve, the last town before the Spanish border marked by the Guadiana River which separates the two countries. On approaching Casto Marim the majestic castle beckons.

There is a deep and rich history surrounding the town with a long association with the Knights Templar, the guardians of the relics of the Protectors of Christ. The Town is worth visiting for its large monthly market, on the second Saturday of the month, offering a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses, hams and local honey as well as an antiques market on the same day held just up the road in Vila real St Antonio.

If heading towards Casto Marim from the west you will see a strange array of five tall pillars with a windmill above, as well as a chapel on the right hand side. The pillars are water fountains which only become apparent when you head up towards the windmill. There is a cultural centre with a small auditorium for music and other events. The windmill is part of the museum, well worth going up to see if only for the spectacular views across to Ayamonte in Spain, and over the salt beds, the marshes and the wildlife conservation areas for which the area is renowned.

The main attraction of Castro Marim is the castle, now a ruin, that dates from the 9th Century. It is open to the public. There is plenty to see inside with displays of stocks and a pretty chapel within the walls. The entrance fee is €1 (2012) but it is only accessible for the fit and not really suitable for the elderly or disabled due to the uneven approach road and rough terrain within.

The Fort of São Sebastião dates from the 17th Century and offers better access. The best time to get the feel of the town is when Casto Miram holds its Medieval festival in August when the town really comes to life. For nearly a week, locals re-enacts scenes from the Moorish period and everyone dresses in costumes. There is music, dancing, sword fighting, a working blacksmith and plenty of food and wine flows.

The town is flat with traditional cobblestoned streets and wide pavements. This can make for a bumpy ride for wheelchair users or if pushing a buggy. There is a smaller daily covered market and many good restaurants. For those dining out in the warmer evenings, due to the nearby marshes the town does get mosquitoes at certain time of the year so bring mozzie spray.

It is easy to find the centre of the town, look for the large white, domed church. There are many narrow, cobbled streets with numerous pretty whitewashed houses. The town was fortified for many years and has been a trading station for many centuries due to its location on the river.

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