Newsletter – December 2013 | Odd in Portugal

Odd… there we said it. People travel to see odd things, off the beaten path to see something unique. So, just for the fun of it we have here for you a collection of the oddest of do, some off the cool weird stuff that you can only see in Portugal…  Book in today!


The Odd Lists


The Museum dos Fosforos in Tomar strikes a collection of more than 40,000 matchboxes from more than 100 countries is on display. The largest collection of its kind in Europe is housed in the historic former Convento de Sao Francisco. Just don’t ask for a light….

Evora’s Capela dos Ossos was built in the 16th century by a Franciscan monk who wanted to send a message to his fellow brothers about life being transitory. To this day, the sign over the entrance reads:  “We, the bones that are here, await yours.”

Lisbon’s Doll Hospital has been healing dolls since 1830 in the Praça da Figueira. Complete with emergency and operating rooms, there are experienced doll doctors and a wide offering of spare parts, in case you’re doll needs something replaced.

Santarém’s Archaeological Museum is housed in a Romanesque Church. Among its collection you will find the tomb of a 15th century nobleman who was killed in battle. Commissioned by his widow, this outstanding flamboyant gothic style tomb was finely sculpted tomb of Duarte de Meneses, which according to legend contains a single tooth, all that remained of the nobleman

The Roman Cryptoporticus of Lisbon, near the Rua da Prata and the Rua da Conceiçao opens just once a year. For 3 days each September the 1st century Roman Cryptoporticus under the city is drained and the public can see the glory of Rome for free. Built at the beginning of the Roman Empire, when Lisbon was the city of Olisipo, this was the foundation of the Roman city, used for stage and public works. After the fall of Rome, the galleries were flooded by river water, and now drained only once a year, to be opened to the public.

Fred and Wilma in Fafe? A stone house constructed in 1972 with the purpose of being a family’s weekend home is a popular place for curious tourists to stop by. It really looks like the Flintstones house from the outside, so if you’re looking for a trip back to the Stone Age this is the place!

The Azores’ Urzelina Volcano was an eruption that happened in 1808, from a fissure cone on the island of  São Jorge in the Azores; responsible for the destruction is the town of Urzelina, leaving a basalt field of volcanic rock extending to the Ponta da Urzelina. Today, just the tower of Church of Urzelina is the last remaining vestige of the former Church that was submerged by a volcanic eruption.

The Village of Dornes is built on a peninsula jutting into the river Zêzere and is capped by an ancient church and a five-sided Templar tower built on Roman remains. With an unusual pentagonal layout, the tower in the village of Dornes was built by the Knights Templar on the banks of the River Zêzere as a watchtower and defensive bastion for the region, during the Christian Reconquista. Its unusual Tower has various military symbols on the edge of the doorway, deriving from its former defensive function. In the 16th century, in a more peaceful period, it was transformed into a bell tower,

Menhirs are widely distributed across Europe, Africa and Asia, but are most numerous in Western Europe Practically nothing is known of the social organization or religious beliefs of the people who erected the menhirs. There is not even any trace of these people’s language; however we do know that they buried their dead and had the skills to grow cereal, farm and make pottery, stone tools and jewelry. Identifying their uses remains speculation. However, it is likely that many uses involved fertility rites and seasonal cycles. The Cromlech of the Almendres megalithic complex (or Almendres Cromlech), located near Guadalupe, in the civil parish of Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe, municipality of Évora, is the largest existing group of structured menhirs in the Iberian Peninsula, and one of the largest in Europe. This archaeological site consists of several megalithic structures: cromlechs, and menhir stones, the first belonging to the so-called “megalithic universe of Évora”, with clear parallels to other cromlechs, such as in Portela Mogos in the Montemor-o-Novo.


Add place names from Portugal.  This is an ancient land, and through the centuries, name can turn out to be quite odd – here are a few gems!


It can be no coincidence that these walled towns are near each other in the Centro de Portugal Region:

Castelo Bom – Good Castle

Castelo Novo – New Castle

Castelo Melhor – Better Castle

Castelo Branco – White Castle (without the sliders)


And who would not want to visit places like:

Purgatório  - Purgatory

Fonte da Pulga – Fountain of Fleas

Paraíso   - Paradise

Venda da Gaita – Sale of the Bagpipes

Mal Lavado -  Hardly Washed

Angústias  - troubles

Às Dez  -  at Ten

Cama Porca  – Dirty Bed

Vinha da Desgraça  -  Vine of Doom



Miguel Carvalho

Press and Public Relations Manager

Portuguese National Tourist Office

866 Second Avenue, 8th Floor – New York, N.Y. 10017 – USA

Tel.: +1 646 723 0213 | Fax.: +1 212 575 4737

Download of brochures and maps:

Newsletter – December 2013 | Odd in Portugal