While you may not be able to travel at the moment, this is a great time to start planning your trip to Portugal. After all, the country has so much to see and do that you shouldn’t leave your planning for last minute. Also, by preparing for your post-lockdown trip now, you’ll have something to look forward until you can finally travel.
We’ve recently taken a look at what makes the North of Portugal such a great place to visit, so now we’re turning our attention to another wonderful gem: the Alentejo region.
What is the Alentejo?
This region is Portugal’s largest and, possibly, wildest. It encompasses a large part of the country, from the Algarve until the central area of Portugal, and you can explore the rugged coast on one side while enjoying the benefits of the Portuguese-Spanish border on the other – you can also expect to find great food, beautiful landscapes and nature, and plenty of heritage here.
The climate is usually warm and dry most of the year, and summer temperatures can reach 40oC occasionally; winters tend to be milder and wet. Alentejo means ‘beyond the Tejo river’ and there are many popular cities and places to visit in the area, such as Évora, Portalegre, Beja and Sines.
The Alentejo is also a farming region with plenty of wheat fields (which have fed the country since the Middle Ages) and cork trees, and there are many medieval castles there as well. The capital, Évora, is a great example of the region’s historic past, as it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site encircled by medieval walls and with plenty of Roman ruins everywhere you go.
We’ve put together a list of some of the amazing things you can find in this stunning region.
Roman Temple of Évora
Also (wrongly) known as Diana Temple, this Corinthian-style monument was likely a place of worship to the Roman emperor of the time; it was built in 1st century AD and can easily be found as you explore the city.
It’s one of the most famous sites in Évora, so you can’t miss it when you visit, especially if you stay in our Pousada Évora, also called Pousadas Convento dos Loios, which you can see in the background of this image:
Elvas (and Its Fortifications)
A fortified medieval town in Portalegre, Elvas, is another unmissable visit. Not only is Elvas wonderfully preserved, it’s also rich in historic landmarks. You can explore the Amoreira Aqueduct, which is a stunning sightseeing spot from the 16th century, discover the gorgeous castle and town centre, and visit the Manueline-style cathedral.
What’s more, you can visit the Conde de Lippe fort (also known as Nossa Senhora da Graça fort) for a surprise; the fort can be found in the village of Alcáçova nearby, which belongs to the Garrison Border Town of Elvas and Its Fortifications.
The fort is shaped like a star, a fine example of trace Italienne (or bastion fort) in military architecture, which gives the town a unique aesthetic.
This medieval castle is located in the municipality of Marvão, which belongs to the district of Portalegre. It’s believed the castle started being built in the 8th century, although it was King D. Dinis who expanded the castle and added a keep.
This amazing building, which was built near the Spanish border, is known for its many construction materials, from masonry stone and quartzite to schist and tile, as well as its beautiful gardens.
This city was the first port area of Portugal and was the birthplace of 15th-century explorer Vasco da Gama. There is much to see and do here, as this city has old battlements and forts to explore, a castle in the ancient centre of the city, and, of course, plenty of coast for anyone who loves the ocean.
The city is split into upper and lowers parts, with the castle at the top of the hill, as well as some streets and whitewashed buildings. There are also many places to eat and visit in the area. When you walk down the hill, you can enjoy the Praia Vasco da Gama, a beautiful alcove that holds Sines’ fishing port.
Praia do Malhão
This lovely beach is in the Southwest Alentejo National Park, which means that there are no buildings around, only nature. Why not lounge in the sun and enjoy the golden sand and its dunes, as well as the sunset over the deep blue water?
Because the beach is open to the full force of the Atlantic ocean, you will mostly find surfers here, as it can be difficult to swim in the restless water – still, there is no reason why you can’t sunbathe or appreciate the beauty of the area if you’re not comfortable diving in.
The Alentejo is full of wonderful places to explore and our Pousadas Alentejo are perfect as a base to discover them all. We’ve left you with a taster of the many towns, history areas and natural landscapes of the Alentejo, but it’s enough to see how stunning the region really is.
Besides the many points of interest, you will find that the food and wine are delicious, and that the area offers plenty of stargazing opportunities as well. Get in touch with us if you’re planning your next holiday and we’ll be happy to help you find the perfect accommodation for your post-lockdown trip.