Sousel, 18km/11mi northwest of Estremoz, founded by Nuno Aàlvares Pereira in 1387, has a 16th C. parish church and another 16th C. church, the Misericórdia, with 18th C. azulejo decoration. The pousada in Sousel can be recommended for those seeking peace and quiet. It lies completely alone, surrounded by olive groves.
13km/8mi north of Sousel lies Fronteira, with several fine 17th/18th C. residences and a late 16th C. parish church. In the main square stands a 17th C. marble pillory. A fine view of the town can be obtained from the tower of the Town Hall. Above the town stands the church of Nossa Senhora da Vila Velha, which is completely clad with 17th C. azulejos.
Avis, 24km/15mi west of Fronteira, is now an unprepossessing little country town, but it has a famous history. It first became important in 1211, when Afonso II moved here the military order known as the "Freires de Évora" (also the first order of knights in Europe) which had been formed by Afonso Henriques in 1147 as a defense against the Moors. The splendor and influence of the order of "Sao Bento de Aviz" lasted until the late 18th C. As a result of the crowning of the Grand Master of Avis as King Jao I of Portugal in 1385 Avis became the cradle of a royal dynasty which controlled the country's fortunes until 1580 and under its victorious rule, especially during the reigns of Joao II and Manuel I, brought Portugal to its peak and made it the world's major sea faring nation.Of the simple wall built in 1214 around the knights' castle only one gateway, the keep (restored in the 15th C.) and two further towers now remain. In the church of the order (restored in the 17th C.) there are several 15th C. tombs as well as a valuable gilded reliquary.
The village of Veiros, 15km/9.25mi northeast of Estremoz, prides itself on having produced the Bragança line since it is the birthplace of Afonso, illegitimate son of King Joao I and later Duke of Bragança. Very little remains of the old castle.
Barragem de Montargil
By the Barragem de Montargil, a 20km/12.5mi long artificial lake about 40km/25mi west of Avis, there is a holiday center built with the aid of German capital which offers extensive sporting facilities.