A quiet hilltop town, Castelo de Vide is a picturesque place with pots of geraniums and dazzling flower beds throughout town. It’s more lively than Marvão, with more options for restaurants, hotels, and sights, but still retains its rustic village feel. When Marvão holds its annual chestnut festival, drawing thousands of tourists from all over Portugal and Spain, Castelo de Vide holds a smaller, more intimate festival in its open-air market, complete with a pig roast and old men in felt hats sharing jugs of their homemade wine. You might be surprised to see a bagpiper strolling through the crowds during Castelo de Vide’s festivals; the diverse town still celebrates some traditions from its ancient Gallic and Celtic ancestry.
There are steep cobbled streets that provide beautiful views of the whitewashed town against a backdrop of olive groves and hills. As you walk along, notice the many houses with Gothic doorways in various designs. (The tourist brochures proclaim that Castelo de Vide has the largest number of Gothic doorways of any town in Portugal.) Castelo de Vide’s history is as a spa town, renowned for its fresh mountain springs that feed a fountain in the main square today. The town had a sizeable Jewish community in the Middle Ages, and today has one of the oldest synagogues in Portugal.