Some of the most beautiful cities and villages in the country are located in Alentejo, a region south of the Tagus river rich in history and tradition, with a vibrant and pulsating culture, remarkable gastronomy, and time to give to time. It’s often said that in Alentejo everything happens slowly. It’s not a flaw, it’s a quality. Or rather, the best way to live and experience Alentejo, whether on a short getaway or a more ambitious escape plan.
The landscape is made up of plains and green and golden montados as far as the eye can see, cork and olive trees here and there, among other trees and wild flowers, authentic portraits that repeat themselves every kilometer. From the coast to the interior, there are natural parks and unique ecosystems.
For beach lovers, the Costa Alentejana is unique, rich in wild beaches framed by natural landscapes that remain practically untouched to this day. From Comporta to Zambujeira, there are more than one hundred kilometers of coast with sandy beaches to suit all tastes. There are supervised beaches, with blue flags and perfect for families, as well as deserted beaches, some of which seem impossible to reach, but there is always a path that reveals itself. This is also where you start to uncover the Costa Vicentina, made up of surprisingly beautiful beaches, almost always hidden between high cliffs. Porto Covo, Vila Nova de Milfontes, and Zambujeira do Mar probably have some of the most impressive beaches, such as Praia da Samouqueira, Praia do Brejo Largo, Praia do Malhão, Praia dos Alteirinhos, or Praia da Amália, the latter named after the Portuguese fado singer who used to spend her vacations there.
Évora as a World Heritage Site
Century of construction of the Amoreira Aqueduct
Counties crossing the largest artificial lake in Europe
At the table, the seafood flavors stand out, but don’t assume that just because you’re on the coast you won’t find many of the delicacies that give fame to the Alentejo, from açordas and migas to stews. Nevertheless, as you venture further inland, you will discover that all the dishes are full of taste. It’s a well-known fact that often, the best reason to visit a place is its gastronomy. Évora is a paradigmatic example. In addition to classic restaurants, more and more contemporary and signature tables are emerging that reinterpret tradition with the utmost respect for history and local ingredients. The city benefits, with restaurants always full serving tasty dishes.
In the heart of Alentejo, Évora is the heir of an important cultural heritage, built and preserved over time. Classified in 1986 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the history of Évora dates back to the Roman people – the Roman Temple, the city’s ex-libris, is the highest exponent of that era. Equally important, Elvas, about an hour from Évora, also has a lot to discover. The welcome is given by the huge Aqueduct of Amoreira, built in the 17th century. On the other side, the fortifications, also classified by UNESCO, were built out of military necessity, to protect the city and the country, first from Spanish invasions and later from French invasions.
It’s also worth remembering that the Alentejo is home to Alqueva, the largest artificial lake in Europe, which spans five municipalities: Portel, Moura, Reguengos de Monsaraz, Mourão, and Alandroal. Add to that a visit to Marvão, Castelo de Vide or Vila Viçosa and there’s no way you will ever forget about the Alentejo. Whatever happens, don’t leave without listening to the cante alentejano. Sung in chorus and without musical instruments, it’s a transcendental experience. The Museum of Cante is located in Serpa.
Some of the most beautiful cities and villages in the country.