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Destinations Portugal

Crato in Pictures


I’ve heard of Crato several times, mostly because of the Crato Festival that every year draws thousands of people to that quiet village of Alto Alentejo, Portugal.

So when this year I received the invitation to go there to watch this musical event live, I found a magnificent opportunity to know the location that gives it its name.

Don’t think that Crato is a huge village. It is not. Maybe you can see it all in one morning or afternoon. But if you’re curious, it’s a great addition to your travel plans if you’re visiting the area.

Although small, Crato is surprising in details, often found in the buildings that make up those streets, and even in its people.

In the hours I was wandering around, I had the opportunity to collect some images that I’m sure will conquer you for a visit. Take a look!

The Castle That Doesn’t Exist And The View That Lives Forever

My first stop was at the castle area (Largo do Castelo). I was looking for one of those beautiful fortresses that make up the Alentejo scenery and tell part of its history. However, Crato Castle doesn’t exist. In fact, there are only fragments of what it was once.

“Oh girl, the castle is what you see here, and it’s closed. Not much remains of it,” said one of the locals, who lives in a house nearby.

But if the view of the “castle” is no big deal, the panoramic view from this area doesn’t disappoint.

Vista do Crato | View

The Secret Is In The Details

And these are scattered throughout the buildings of the streets of Crato. From the Mother Church to the ancient Jail Chapel, through the coats of arms at the top of the constructions. Look up from the floor or phone, and I guarantee you won’t regret it.

The Crato and the Order of Malta

I confess that my knowledge of the Order of Malta and its presence in Portugal is almost nil. So, it was with curiosity that I saw several marks of this sovereign order in this Portuguese village.

“On May 23rd, 1232, D. Sancho II donates Crato to the Order of the Hospital. Following this donation, Mem Gonçalves, Prior of the Order, recognize it as Vila do Crato, on December 8th of that same year. The castle was immediately built. After the battle of the Salado in 1340, the headquarters of the order is transferred by D. Afonso IV from Leça do Balio to Crato. Thus comes the designation Priory of Crato which has 23 Commendations and the following Portuguese lands and their terms — Crato, Gafete, Tolosa, Alder, Hawk, Belver, Envendos, Carvoeiro, Sertã, Pedrógão Pequeno, Proença-a-Nova, Cardigos, and Alvaro. The Grand Prior of Crato had spiritual and temporal power with episcopal jurisdiction. That’s why he was not subordinate to any prelate,” we can read in the Portuguese blog Ordem de Malta.

Varanda do Grão-Prior do Crato | Grand Prior's Balcony

The Crato Museum

Part of this history is undoubtedly explained at the Crato Municipal Museum. However, I arrived too late and couldn’t make the visit.

According to the museum’s brochure, “the collection is made up of artifacts and art objects, which illustrate not only the spiritual but also the material life of Crato and its population throughout the ages.”

Don’t do like me. If you want to go there, please take note that it closes at 5 pm.

Museu Municipal do Crato | Crato Municipal Museum

Modernity in Art Form

Another of the curiosities that I came across in Crato were some forms of street art. On the walls of some more neglected buildings are beautiful paintings that brighten the streets of the village.

And why not do a little dance?

As I told you, my visit to Crato was motivated by the music festival that happens every year in this place.

The Crato Festival began as a major fair for local crafts and gastronomy. The music came after and gained expression. Today,  the main stage takes on prominent national and international artists and bands.

This is an event for everyone. You can see young people of all ages as well as families with younger children and even babies.

The atmosphere is relaxed, and the space very pleasant.

Festival do Crato | Music Festival

When I decided to leave because I still had to do a two-hour night trip back to my Ericeira, I returned to Largo do Castelo to get my car.

I walked the sleeping streets, only disturbed by a few young people who wandered around or the beats of the band still performing on stage.

It was a busy day and I’ll bring with me the memory of the beauty and calmness of this Alentejo village.

Get to know Crato, Portugal

Crato is a small village in Alentejo that once a year hosts the well-known Crato Festival. The perfect excuse for a visit.
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Marlene On The Move

Marlene Marques

Marlene is the creator of Marlene On The Move. A journalist by profession, she created the blog to share her adventures around the world. It is not unusual for her to set off to discover new countries and cultures with a surfboard as luggage.




  • Renata

    I haven’t heard either of the festival or of the place, so I’ve found this very informative and inspiring. I fancy like the white houses all seem to have a yellow frame – very sunny 🙂 I’d especially enjoy the street art – amazing that it is found in such a small place.

    • Marlene Marques

      Hi Renata! It is normal to find yellow or even blue details in this kind of houses in the Alentejo region. And it does make the villages more joyful. 😉

  • Medha Verma

    I agree, the buildings on the streets of Crato do look magical and absolutely Insta-worthy! To be honest, I have not heard of the Crato Festival so I am not really aware of this town, it’s the first time I am reading about it. I wouldn’t mind going to the Crato Castle spot even though it doesn’t exist anymore, the view from that point is breathtaking!.

    • Marlene Marques

      Hi Medha! So glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for reading! Happy travels!

  • Danik

    I have never heard of Crato before and I been to Portugal a few times. I would love to check out this area, the facades on buildings look so amazing. As a photographer, I could see myself snap happy here. A love a good piece of street art as well. 🙂

    • Marlene Marques

      In spite of being a small country, there’s tons of things to see and places to visit in Portugal. This village is just an example of so many other you can see in the Alentejo region. I guess you just have to come back again 😉

  • melody pittman

    I’d never heard of Crato either, but I appreciate the introduction to it. I think Portugal is a really amazing and undervalued country. The street art is sensational!

    • Marlene Marques

      Crato is just an example of the beautiful villages you can find in the Alentejo region of Portugal. 🙂

  • Adonis Villanueva

    Whoa, Crato looks very intriguing especially when you’ve never ever heard of the place. Even if the Castle Cratos doesn’t exist there anymore the fragments, you say, would still be an interesting thing to check out. I’ve seen plenty of castle ruins during my time and Europe and they’re as equally interesting as wholly intact castles!

    • Marlene Marques

      Hi Adonis. Totally agree with you. Even in ruins, there’s still something interesting to see and learn from this kind of castles. But I would love if it was more preserved than it was. Thanks for stopping by!

  • sherianne

    I hadn’t heard of Crato. I would love to wander the streets and check out the street art. Crato Festival sounds like the perfect time to visit and I love that it is family friendly

    • Marlene Marques

      Crato’s festival does bring a lot of happiness to this little town 😉 Glad you enjoyed the post!

  • Kamree

    I would love to go to the Crato Municipal museum and see the history and what makes up Crato! There are so many things that share so much about the place and culture I would love to learn! xo – Kam

    • Marlene Marques

      Hi Kam! I was very sad that I didn’t manage to arrive at the museum in time for a visit. I think I would learn so much more about this place. Maybe on a next visit 😉 Happy travels!

  • Chris Bloomfield

    I am glad the view was so good, since the castle was gone! I love the art work on the buildings! Looks like a great place to visit in Portugal.

    • Marlene Marques

      Street art as appeared all over the country and I think is a really cool thing since they transform old and abandoned buildings in true artworks. Glad you liked the post! 🙂

  • Nicole LaBarge

    I have not heard of Crato before but I enjoyed reading about it. ANd the buildings on the streets of Crato are just amazing. And how fun would the Crato Music festival be?!?

    • Marlene Marques

      Thanks for your comment, Nicole! I’m glad I could show you a little bit of this beautiful little town. 🙂

  • vanessa workman

    I’ve read about the Crato Festival before! Now I can properly put a city face to the location. Crato looks like an interesting contrast of artsy and historic. And so colorful!

    • Marlene Marques

      Hi, Vanessa. So glad you liked the post. Crato is really a lovely little town. Happy travels!

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