Surroundings

Nature

The Alentejo region is known for its panoramic views, the beautiful green hills, the fertile vineyards and of course the cork and olive trees. There are also beautiful nature parks where you can spot special birds and during the walk you can encounter the most diverse flowers and plants.

 

The area is also ideal for outdoor activities in unspoiled nature. Because the region has a coastline, the largest lake in Europe and miles of cycling and hiking trails, it is a paradise for active holidaymakers. Think of mountain biking, running, swimming, supping and kayaking.

 

The area around the Alqueva lake covers about 3,000 km2. It is protected and certified internationally exactly 5 years ago as ‘Dark Sky Reserve or Starlight Tourism Destination’. The city lighting is kept to a minimum in the surrounding municipalities at night so the natural phenomenon can best be observed, with telescope, binoculars, the naked eye and with (or without) the explanation of an experienced guide. What could be more romantic than watching the stars together?

Culture
The regional capital is Évora and the center is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Évora is the largest city of the Alentejo and consists of an impressive amount of historic buildings. The city is shielded with a Roman ring wall. The narrow streets with archways remind us of the time that the Arabs ruled here. Evora is a city where you can wander around for days and discover new things.

Who drives the tourist route from Évora to Montemor-o-Novo, will find a number of nice stops on the way. Southwest of Evora (near Guadelupe) is the stone circle Cromeleque dos Almendres. More than 12,000 years old cave paintings can be found in the caves of Escoural, above the town of Santiago do Escoural.

 

The picturesque fortified town of Estremoz invites visitors, as it were, to take a look at Portuguese history. But Estremoz has much more to offer. You can enjoy cozy streets, the weekly market and numerous restaurants where you can eat and drink.

Gastronomy

Thanks to the creativity of the countryside, the most tasty dishes are prepared from very simple ingredients. The gastronomy of the Alentejo is surprisingly rich in flavors and it allows you to taste the hospitality of the population.

The Alentejo was once a region where a lot of grain was grown. On the endless plains, between cork oaks and olive trees, the pigs roamed freely. Bread, pork and olive oil form the basis of one of the tastiest kitchens in Portugal. Those ingredients are combined with aromatic herbs such as coriander, parsley, rosemary, oregano and mint.

The From Farm to Table project has existed for some time. These are mapped routes that lead you past the best food addresses. You will pass various local products where you can taste to your heart’s content from home-grown products that are mostly prepared according to old traditions and with lots of love. An hand of the season you can choose which route you drive and where you want to stop.

Of course, a visit to a number of wineries can not be missed. Not many people are familiar with the wine production in Alentejo and that makes it a quiet area to explore everything. In total there are almost two hundred producers and many of them use the autochthonous grape varieties. Throughout the Alentejo you will find the signage of the Rota dos Vinhos do Alentejo. Follow the signs and you will automatically see the best wineries. They will welcome you with open arms and let you taste with love a best selection.