Alentejo

Alentejo


Alentejo is situated in the south-central part of Portugal, the country's largest region, and is full of historical, architectural, and cultural heritage. Alentejo is the sun, sea, and beach. It's unspoiled nature; it's fields of olive trees, wheat, and sunflowers. It's peace; it's a charm, it's history, it's culture, it's gastronomy, it's the wine. The region's plains have a diverse Roman and Moorish heritage. Unique attractions include majestic castles and elaborate religious architecture as well as pre-historic remains. The adorable white houses with yellow or blue stripes and windmills characterize the entire Alentejo. Charming white villages suddenly emerge from the somewhat desolate landscape. You can find them in towns and cities like Évora, Estremoz, Beja, Serpa, and Mértola. 

Évora, the Alentejo capital, is a real museum city, considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986. Its walls keep streets and buildings virtually unchanged over the centuries. Inside there are traces of Roman times, medieval buildings, palaces, and convents that bear witness to the golden age of 15th and 16th century Portugal.

Estremoz is, together with Borba and Vila Viçosa, one of the Alentejo region's famous marble cities. There is a lot of good quality marble, an ornamental stone with many applications in the construction of dwellings such as floors and buildings' staircases. The city's landmark is the ancient, meandering wall dominated by its 13th century white, medieval castle.

Set on a 277m high hill, most probably founded by Julius Caesar, Beja dominates the vast surrounding plain. There are several points of tourist interest in this district. Beja's old town's narrow and characteristic streets, the late 13th century keep tower, the church of Santo Amaro, Beja's oldest temple, the Convento de São Francisco, the ruins of the Roman villa of Pisão, among many other things. The Guadiana river is a constant presence in the district of Beja; a boat trip is a must and a visit to the most touristic places of the community like Mértola and Serpa.

The Alentejo offers superb beaches that stretch for about 170 kilometers, between the sandy shore of Tróia to Sines and the inviting beaches cut to the south. Tróia's beaches are excellent for the whole family, with their dune surroundings. On the edge of the Sado Estuary Nature Reserve, the beaches of Comporta and Carvalhal are other destinations with outstanding support infrastructure. It is home to the only permanent, resident population of dolphins along the coast of mainland Portugal so you might have a chance to spot some. Farther south, Melides beach spreads along the sandy beach dividing the sea and lagoon, conveniently accessible by a road lined with rice fields and pine woods. We invite you to engage in diverse sand sports activities and take sailing, windsurfing, or kitesurfing lessons. An unforgettable experience and a unique way to experience landscapes is horseback or pony riding through the countryside or the beach, particularly in Melides.

It is on the Alentejo coast, south of Sines, that the Southwest of Alentejo and Vicentina Coast Natural Park begins. One of the most magnificent coastal regions in Europe and the world extends to Sagres, in the Algarve.

In Alentejo, Portugal's cultural heritage presents a very genuine musical expression, unique in the world – the Cante Alentejano, recognized as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.