Autumn in Alentejo, enjoying nature and 'turismo rural'
Alentejo, authentic Portugal, where the stars shine brightly in the sky and nature is still pure. Ideal for a walking or cycling holiday in autumn and for those who love good food and drink. The vast and unspoilt nature makes this region ideal for complete relaxation.
Alentejo is a sparsely populated region, bordered to the north by the Tagus River and the Centro region, to the west by Lisbon and the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Algarve region. The region excels in breathtaking views, fragrant eucalyptus trees, cork and olive groves, and beautiful, white towns like Monsaraz and Evora. From Lisbon or Faro, you can be on site in an hour and a half to two hours' drive.
The giant Alqueva reservoir is close to the border with Spain. It is the ultimate 'Starlight Tourism Destination' awarded by UNESCO and others. There are not many places in Europe where the starry sky is as impressive as in this part of Alentejo. By the way, you can hire a boat here, sail yourself and spend the night on the lake. Water sports enthusiasts also have a wide choice here: from supping to sailing, swimming to water-skiing. For mountain bike lovers, there are fun routes. In autumn, the temperature is ideal for cyclists and hikers: 22 to 25°C. The relocated village of Aldeia da Luz, with a museum about its history, is also worth a visit. The village had to make way for the reservoir and was rebuilt elsewhere; thus a replica village with a special history. And then there is Monsaraz: an idyllic medieval fortified town with charming slate streets. It is a perfect place to find peace and quiet, as if time stands still.
Evora is definitely a must-see too. It is the capital of the Alentejo region and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A top cultural and historical destination, it is charming, cosy and with lots of nice cafés and eateries. All sights in the centre of Évora are also within walking distance of each other. Also try to catch a performance of Cante Alentejano, the traditional polyphonic singing.
Enjoying 'turismo rural' also means indulging in the delicious local dishes, tasty local wines and olive oil, or the 'migas' (bread balls), dry sausages and 'bifana' (pork sandwich). All this is available at soft prices! You get the hospitality of the people for free.
About the Alentejo
Wide vistas, green hills, vineyards and cork and olive trees as far as the eye can see. A 100-kilometre-long coastline and characteristic towns like Évora, Elvas and Monsaraz that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites for good reason: that is the Alentejo. The region covers a third of Portugal, has the same pleasant climate as the nearby Algarve and is the country's largest wine producer. The diverse and pure Alentejo is full of outdoor activities in unspoilt nature, its inhabitants are hospitable and its gastronomy traditional and refined at the same time. In short: the Alentejo surprises, surprises, moves and offers something for everyone. www.visitalentejo.pt.