Stage 3
Stage 3 / Covilhã - Alter do Chão / 159 km / 18 May
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Covilhã

Located on the east slope of Serra da Estrela, at about 700 meters of altitude, this city is the most important urban center of the Serra da Estrela area.

With a long history and human occupation from remote times, Covilhã has in its wool industry one of its main references, becoming the largest wool production center in the country.

Covilhã is also known for being the birthplace of discoverers and explorers during the time of the Portuguese Discoveries, and even received Prince Henry the Navigator, the title of Lord of Covilhã.

Parks, gardens, manor houses, and many Churches demonstrate the religious fervor of the region, and are pleasant and interesting heritage patrimony of this zone.  The Real Fábrica de Panos, where the University of Beira Interior and the Woolen Museum currently operate, are important legacies for the true knowledge of this region.

The University, a variety of fairs and markets, commerce and all the movement of this city make it clear that Covilhã is a lively and productive center.

In the last few years, Covilhã has conquered an important place on the international map of urban art. On many walls, scattered around the city you can find spectacular paintings made by artists from all over the world.

Alter do Chão

The history of this village located in the Alentejo dates back to Roman times.

From the century. XIV the village was developed from the castle, built by D. Pedro I in 1359, which is located in the main square, being one of the images that marks this village.

The Royal Alter Stud Farm, founded in 1748 by D. João V, is the oldest stud farm in the world in continuous operation. His role was fundamental in the recovery of the Portuguese Lusitano purebred horse Alter Real, a High School horse that is now famous all over the world.

The Royal Alter Stud Farm has been very important in the notoriety and dissemination of the name of this village. 

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Considering the high mountain journey of the previous day, we can consider this 3rd Stage as a recovery stage. However it’s not a flat and monotonous stage.

On this day, the participants ride through the beautiful and undulating roads of Beira Baixa.

One of the highlights of the stage is the Tagus River crossing bridge just in front of "Portas do Rodão" (Rodão Gates) a spectacular natural granite monument that offers to the athletes the view of one of the most iconic postcards of our country.

At the end of the stage, it’s time not only to appreciate history, but to live it in person. The recovery will be made in the unique atmosphere of the brand new and spectacular hotel that was implemented in the oldest stud farm in the world, the Royal Alter Stud Farm.

Pousada Serra da Estrela

The Pousada da Serra da Estrela is located inside the Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela, in Covilhã. The breathtaking views are of snowcapped mountains or the greenery of continental Portugal's highest mountains at an altitude of 1,993 m. 

Inside the building, the walls are pristine white, the ceilings are high and the traditional tiles are original and have been restored. You will also see fabulous old iron-and-wood elevators. This is a project of the renowned architect Souto Moura, who restored the main structure of the old Serra da Estrela sanatorium. 

The Pousada has a Spa with sauna, turkish bath and heated indoor swimming pool. In summer, it’s possible to enjoy the outdoor swimming pool and the gardens.

This is the perfect place to recover from the Ride Across Portugal Queen Stage.

Vila Galé Collection Alter Real

The Vila Galé Collection Alter Real - Equestrian Resort, Conference & Spa is a hotel located in Alter do Chão, within the Royal Alter, the most ancient stud farm in the world.

This 4-star unit features two outdoor pools, a Satsanga spa with a heated indoor pool, a restaurant with regional cuisine, and a “Dressage” bar. It also has a library.

In the fully restored traditional olive oil mill, with a typical wood-fired oven, it’s possible to do wine and olive oil tastings.

This boutique hotel in the Alentejo is inspired by the site's history, and it comes as no surprise that it is dedicated to the equestrian theme. Home to the Lusitano purebred horse, the Royal Alter Stud Farm was created in 1748 by King D. John V and is deemed the oldest in the world to operate uninterruptedly in the same place.

Here, you can take the opportunity to take a guided tour of the stud farm, but also experience riding a horse for the first time. Carriage driving, round pen horse ride lessons and horseback rides are also available, both for beginners and experts.

A falconry house and its museu mis also available. Watch the flight of the falcons, try the “flying the bird to the glove” and be amazed by the magnificence of these animals.

This is one of the exemples of what we say about Ride Across Portugal: “much more than cycling”.