Arraiolos is Famous for its Embroidery and Arraiolos Carpets:
Arraiolos is a small town with a very long tradition of embroidery. For over five centuries, its embroiderers have created famous tapestries and carpets that have hung on the walls of palaces, castles and manors in Portugal.
Most people come to Arraiolos to see its Tapetes Arraiolos and there are a couple of dozen carpet shops and factories in town to admire and buy carpets from. But, there is more to Arraiolos than just Arraiolos carpets.
The town is steeped in history and legends. Walking around town, you may think that the blue trims on the white-washed buildings are decorative and look pretty. But to the locals they are intended to ward off the devil.
Things to See in Arraiolos
At the entrance to the town, in Vale Formoso, is the Convento dos Lóios which is now a pousada. Built in the 16th century, it is covered with magnificent blue azulejo panels.
In the Praca Lima e Brita is the Arraiolos Town Hall where you can see a collection of tapestries and creations by Dordio Gomes, a local painter. Beware of the dancing fountain in front of the building as it may shoot water when you least expect it to.
Other buildings in the square include the Church of the Misericordia which is highly decorated with azulejo tiles, the Hospital do Espirito Sano has a fine Manueline doorway in the chapel and the Igreja Matriz parish church, which was originally Gothic in style but was redesigned in the Manueline style.
The town square is also a nice place to have a break. We had a pleasant wine and cheese tasting session that was catered by CofeeSquare cafe.
The medieval Arraiolos castle wall is an impressive sight. This perfectly formed fortress structure sits to the north of the town. From the top of the fortress towers you have a great view of Arraiolos town and the valley.
Places to Stay in Arraiolos
If you are driving in the region and want to make Arraiolos your base, the Casa Do Platano is in Arraiolos town. Other accommodation in the nearby Arraiolos valley include the Pousada Arraiolos, a restored 16th century convent, and the agritourism hotel Herdade Da Amendoeira. For other Alentejo hotels near Arraiolos see HERE.
How to Get to Arraiolos:
By Car – Arraiolos is 21km north of Evora and 130km east of Lisbon. Highway A6/A12 provides fast connection from Lisbon (less than an hour). Arraiolos is also well connected by the National Road Network.
Map of Arraiolos: