Alter do Chao is pleasant little town which was founded by the Romans on the road that connected Lisbon with Merida in Spain. The town dominated by a castle with five towers also has some fine 17th and 18th century houses and a beautiful 16th century marble fountain.
Alter do Chao is best known for Coudelaria de Alter a vast estate that since the mid 18th century has been devoted to breeding the internationally famous Lusitanian horse, Alter Real, originally bred for the royal riding school.
Today the stud is maintained by the Ministry of Agriculture and is open to the public. As well as being able to see the mares, foals and stallions, there is an interesting museum with many items of armoury and a large collection of carriages. A falconry housing hawks, owls, falcons and eagles all bred in captivity at Alter. A demonstration of their flight and prowess in catching prey usually takes place once a day.