This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Mertola.
If you come to Portugal and don't visit the Alentejo region -- home to Mertola -- you have seen nothing of the country! And if you want to see the best of Alentejo, then you should definitely head to Mertola as the place has absolutely everything that is charming about this still non-touristy, rural, and slow-paced side of the country where people spend their time growing wine, olives, and the famous cork trees and making traditional cheese from goat and sheep milk.
Mertola is located in the Lower Alentejo region, in the county of Beja, close to the Spanish border. Although it is quite off the beaten path, it can be a good stopover on the way back to Lisbon from Alentejo or a pitstop when coming over to Portugal from Seville in southern Spain.
Mertola has been inhabited since the Roman times due to its strategic location on a hill from which the area can be monitored. However, it lived its most important phase during the era of the Muslim conquest, when a castle was built on the top of the hill. Later, in the thirteenth century, the village was reconquered by the Portuguese and the seat of Knights of the Order of Santiago was placed here, and the village of Mertola started developing around the castle. Today, it is stretching all along the hillside, on the banks of the Guadiana river. The village is a wonderfully atmospheric place, where upon arriving, you are guaranteed to feel like you are stepping back in time. With its whitewashed houses and orange rooftops, this village is the epitome of a countryside idyll.
Probably the most interesting building inside Mertola is the Igreja Matriz, a church of a very unusual shape. Although at first sight, it might feel like a bit of an odd-one-out, its unique form is explained by the fact that it was originally a mosque and was only later turned into a Catholic church.
Quite surprisingly for a village of this size, there do exist options for hostels in Mertola, Portugal! Here you can enjoy a real Portuguese countryside house from the inside and it is not only constrained to the beautiful traditional architecture and furniture, but also extends to the warm welcome from the local community.
Written by local enthusiast for Mertola hostelsJudyM