Lousal – Mining archeology in Portugal

The Alentejo has always been a special region for us, first because since i was 5 years I spend a lot of my weekends in this part of the country, and then because since I and Rita started dating, it was always a place where we strolled a lot and we spent many moments.

Since I was little I usually go to lunch at the old mining village of Lousal, which is about 50km from Grândola and practically since I remember that it was talked about the future requalification of that space.

Nowadays it is possible to visit, the mining museum, the living science center, the Waldemar gallery and the entire mining complex.

Lousal - What to know?

Lousal is an old mining village about 140km from Lisbon, located in the municipality of Grândola.

The village is part of the Iberian Perilous Strip, which is one of the main mining regions in Europe. It is made up of more than 90 massive sulphide deposits distributed throughout the Alentejo region and Andalusia.

The exploration of this range began more than 2000 years, still in Roman times, nowadays the main mines in operation are those of Neves Corvo and Las Cruces.

The mining operation in this village occurred between the years 1900 and 1988, and mainly focused on Pirite, an iron sulphide, which was mainly used to make sulfur, sulfuric acid and iron.

The 50 million tonne deposit was discovered by Antonio Manuel a local farmer in 1888. This farmer realized that the color of the soil was too red and there should therefore be some iron deposit.

From then on, mining started and the village of Lousal was born, which had 3600 inhabitants, all related to the mine, and who only needed to leave the village for two things, to be registered (they had to go to Lisbon) and to be buried, that due to that area being private property forbids the existence of cemeteries so that the inhabitants had to be buried in the neighboring village.

The entire area of the village of Lousal is owned by a Belgian company called SAPEC.

Mining archeologic

What made us so happy about our visit to Lousal was the fact that it was something quite different from what we are used to visiting.

It is not every day that you can enter a tunnel from a mine, or see your machines, houses and wells …

With the recent requalification of space, it became possible to visit many parts of the old mining exploration, such as the mining wells, the iron hat (where Mr. Manuel discovered the deposit), the cementation tanks (used to treat acid waters ), the source of acid water, the Waldemar gallery (mining tunnel), among other things.

In addition, a center of living science, called MINE OF SCIENCE, has been made, which is geared towards the theme of GeoResources, and has as its objective the dissemination and scientific education. This center is very didactic and is very well inserted in the old mining infrastructures.

It is also possible to visit the Mineiro Museum, which has many machines used by the miners during the time of operation of the Mine.

Unfortunately our machine ran out of battery power and we do not have photos of the museum and living science center, but both are worth a visit.

 The most interesting part of our visit was undoubtedly the guided tour we did through the Waldemar Gallery and the adjacent areas, the visit takes place every day at 4PM (Summer) and at 3PM (Winter), lasts 2 hours and costs € 6.


Map of lousal

Where to taste the flavors

A visit the Lousal is an excellent opportunity to taste some of the Alentejo flavors, and there is no better place than the Central Warehouse, a restaurant that operates in the former Mine explosives warehouse, which nowadays serves excellent traditional Alentejo dishes.

I’ve been to this restaurant quite a few times, and I really like the soup, the crumbs, the pork with the burgês, and the veal stew.

The restaurant opens at noon and a half and on Saturdays at lunch there is traditional Alentejo singing that gives even more charm to the space.

The servings are very generous, easily enough for two people. Last time we went, there were five of us and we ate two servings. The prices are reasonable, the servings are between 20-25 € (but it is ok  for two people).

Contacts of the restaurant:

Telefon ; 269508400

Email: encontrosculturais@hotmail.com

How yo get here?

From Lisbon: Go towards the Algarve on IC1, pass Grândola and turn left when you see the sign ” LOUSAL ”

Where to sleep/park

There are no great options in Lousal at the level of accommodation, there is a kind of ” hostel ” but we do not know the price, however there are quite a few rural tourism houses an hour away in different points of the Alentejo.

To spend the night by motorhome:

There is an excellent infrastructure to support motorhomes in Lousal, with free water and a place to clear dirty waters

Coordinates: 38 ° 02’08.9 “N 8 ° 25’43.4” W

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