Within the coronary heart of southern Portugal’s Atlantic coast, Alentejo is revered for its untouched seashores, cork oak fields and countryside vineyards.
As they amble by means of medieval cobbled streets, guests typically cease to admire the sun-baked olive groves and unhurried hustle of the locals. The area’s acclaimed purple wine flows (metaphorically) in by means of Praça do Giraldo simply because it has completed for the final 50 years.
Removed from the metropolitan glamour of Lisbon and Porto, on this pristine rural area, a cultural revolution is underway. The capital of Evora has lately benefited from an inflow of charming inns and vacation residences, with modern eateries and eating places serving to carry conventional Portuguese appeal to its travellers.
Alongside the UNESCO heritage websites and historical ruins, you’ll now discover open-air markets in Rossio, modern seaside bistros and even 15th-century monasteries which have been fastidiously transformed into inns.
Right here’s our decide of what to do within the area:
Find out about Corktrekking within the Alentejo countryside
Only a 30-minute journey from central Evora is Alentejo’s picturesque countryside, with its winding timber trails, wide-green valley and hidden bays. The huge fields are house to acres of cork oak and holm oaks timber with strolling trails which are good for trekking, or because the locals typically name it—corktrekking.
Head right here for an extended weekend and lose your self within the area of Serra d’Ossa to benefit from exploring these forests—base your self at one of many countryside agro-farms like Herdade da Maroteira, and luxuriate in shut proximity to the character reserves.
Attempt the town’s finest Açorda at Restaurante 1/four P’rás 9
Arguably Alentejo’s signature dish, Açorda à Alentejana is a straightforward Portuguese bread-soup historically ready with barely stale native bread and poached eggs.
For a really memorable bowl of Açorda à Alentejana head to Restaurante 1/four P’rás 9. Boiled in a saucepan and sprinkled with finely chopped coriander, garlic, white pepper, and olive oil, that is an genuine slurp of pleasure.
Observe it up with a nibble from the principle menu – strive one of many seasonal looking dishes reminiscent of pork with Alentejana clams.
Drop by Evora for the UNSECO heritage tour of the town
The central stretch of Alentejo’s capital illustrates nice intervals of Roman historical past by way of historic ruins, together with masterpieces such because the Templo Romano, Capela dos Ossos, and Almendres Cromlech.
We advise a strolling tour accompanied by an area information paired with wine tasting experiences to indulge your internal oenophilia. Whereas the intricate landmarks of Evora are a recent mixture of later European buildings, Moorish structure, and Roman ruins, it’s the fables and mystical storytelling that makes this place so alluring.
Hunt down Mediterranean atmosphere close to Alqueva lake
Excessive up within the Guadiana plains, a few two hours’ drive south of Alentejo, you’ll discover the sapphire-coloured Alqueva lake. Attempt to go to between March and June, when the cork forests surrounding the water are teeming with wildlife and guests are gathered to hike alongside the marked trails round it.
For those who drive together with the lakeside villages between Telheiro and Estrela, you may even get to see the blue water change to dusky rose proper earlier than your eyes.
Marvel on the Portuguese Azulejo tiles on a strolling tour
Parallel to Alentejo’s historical landscapes, the area is house to deep-rooted creative traditions that proceed to encourage fashionable structure. For those who’ve travelled by means of Portugal’s main cities, you might have probably seen these brightly colored geometric tiles adorning streets and monuments.
The Azulejo tiles are decorative artwork generally crafted in Portuguese and Spanish colonies you can see, store, and even make in Alentejo.
Hop on a free strolling tour in Evora or Elvas to be taught extra about how and why they turned part of Portugal’s creative legacy. For those who’re eager to know extra, be a part of a specialised artwork tour and spend your day with the artisans as you’re employed alongside them in a category to make your individual Azulejo tiles.
Discover Vila Nova de Milfontes’s coastal nature park
A part of the Atlantic Ocean shoreline, Vila Nova de Milfontes is a parish city typically touted for its proximity to Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Pure Park. This protected panorama is one among Portugal’s most biodiverse forest habitats, house to 12 endemic plant species. Yearly, nature fanatics and travellers flock right here to hike by means of the finely preserved space, with numbers hovering within the late-summer and spring seasons.
Expertise a multi-course fine-dining menu at Restaurante Fialho
Helmed by the acclaimed Amor Fialho, Restaurante Fialho just isn’t solely the most effective eating places in Alentejo, it’s an award-winning culinary mecca that gained worldwide reputation for its native flavours.
Situated within the bustling centre of Evora, Fialho options regional cuisines reminiscent of black pork cheeks, partridge, wild boar, and a wine menu with among the most genuine Portuguese blends in Alentejo, sourced immediately from the nation’s go-to southerly area.
The family-run institution is very sought-after for its Queijadas (a kind of custard cupcake) and is an unbeatable spot to unwind after an extended day strolling across the metropolis.
Take a tour of the megalithic websites
There are a dozen megalithic websites in and across the Alentejo area. The circuit begins with the Almendres Megalithic settlement, the most important and oldest monument that dates again to four,000 years. Make a cease on the small village of Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe, and proceed alongside the marked path to find Almendres Menhir, Anta Grande do Zambujeiro and extra.
If you wish to additional your journey and be taught concerning the historical past of those websites, verify in on the Vitoria Stone Resort, a recent keep impressed by these prehistoric monuments.
Catch Alentejo’s largest summer season music competition in Zambujeira do Mar
The Sudoeste competition – Portugal’s largest annual summer season celebration – is a five-day musical extravaganza hosted by the fishing city of Zambujeira do Mar. Nestled near the Alentejo coast and its marvellous seashores, settle in a campsite near the shore to immerse your self within the native spirit.
The jolly festivalgoers remodel the quaint neighbourhoods right into a flurry of cultural and leisure actions alongside artwork areas and curbside cuisines.
Hunt for hidden treasures on the Estremoz Market
It’s a half-hour detour from the capital of Evora, however that’s all a part of the enjoyable when visiting this vibrant Saturday market. Come early for the backyard selection produce and bakery delicacies like pane de casa.
Take a stroll late within the afternoon – one of the best time in line with the locals – as there are stacks of bargains to be discovered. Anticipate finding every part from ewe’s-milk cheeses to hard-carved picket chairs and the form of delectables which are good to take again house reminiscent of ochre-pots unique to the area.
You might also like 24 hours in Lisbon