Portalegre and Elvas

Geography and history

Portalegre and Elvas, the two cities where the IPP has schools, are distant about 50 km from each other and are located in the center/south of Portugal, near the border with Spain, in the Alentejo region, considered by Lonely Planet Traveller as one of the best 52 destinations in the world (January 2016). No wonder: no one is indifferent to the impressive fortifications or the Roman aqueduct of Elvas, classified as World Heritage by UNESCO, the whiteness of Castelo de Vide, the grandeur of the nearby village of Marvão, castle on top of the rocky hillside, or the majesty the Monastery of Flor da Rosa in Crato, one of the oldest in the country and currently a luxury hotel.

Portalegre is the district capital of the same name, the largest city in Northern Alentejo, although only about 25,000 people. Elvas has a similar size.

The capital, Lisbon, is 2.20 hours and 1.45 hours away from Portalegre or Elvas. Porto, the second city in the country is 3 hours away, the same distance from both to the sunny beaches of the Algarve, in the south. Spain’s Extremadura is a step away – Badajoz, one of its biggest cities is 10 km from Elvas and 70 km from Portalegre.

Portalegre and Elvas are served by a good road network: the Lisbon-Madrid motorway passes through Elvas and the motorway that connects the interior to the coast is located at only 40 km from Portalegre. Intercity transport buses and trains link both cities throughout the country.

Portalegre is immersed in São Mamede Natural Park, with numerous nature pathways and stage of important hiking, tracking and other events of sports in nature. The gastronomic wealth gives fame to the region, such as wine and olive oil produced here, the best in the world.

Culture, sport and commercial spaces

Both cities are equipped with modern culture and leisure facilities such as the Performing Arts Centre in Portalegre, or the Coliseum in Elvas, the Contemporary Art museums in Elvas or Tapestries Museum in Portalegre, unique in the world.

Here takes place the famous Baja Off-Road race, of the oldest events in the country of its kind and of one of the most important in Europe.

Portalegre and Elvas are equipped with traditional commercial alongside other medium/large spaces.

Cost of living

Portalegre and Elvas have an above-average quality of life, only possible due to the combination of the services offered and the respective cost.

Examples of some costs: an expresso coffee – 0.65 Euros; a beer – 1.20 Euros; an urban bus ticket – 1.40 Euro; a meal at an average restaurant – 10-15 Euros; hiring a private room – about 150 euros / month.

Health and safety

Portalegre and Elvas are safe cities, with an extremely low crime rate. There are no records of violent crimes against persons or property in the past 12 months.

The District Hospital of Portalegre is one of the largest and most important in the region, providing health care in several medical specialities.

For more information about Alentejo, please consult: https://www.visitportugal.com/en/destinos/alentejo


The climate is Mediterranean, with extremes in terms of precipitation and temperature. Winters are rather rainy and cold; summers are very dry and hot. Therefore, the best time to travel to the Alentejo is from May to October. In May, the maximum temperature is around 20ºC and the minimum 8ºC.  There may be periods of rain, since, on average, in that month there are 11 days of precipitation with a total of 27mm, and the remaining 20 days are dry. The average number of hours of sunshine per day is 10 and the average UV index is 5.