The Alentejo is an extensive region, essentially rural and thinly populated, occupying a third of the whole of continental Portugal. The beauty of its landscapes and the quality of its archaeological, monumental, architectural and ethnographic heritage and, par excellence, its gastronomy and wines, provide it with exceptional legacies to be discovered through nature tourism and cultural tourism. Delicious snacks, food and wine are just an excuse to get a glimpse of the best. If this your first time visiting the region, you will discover that the magic of the Alentejo is to be found, with enormous delight, just around every corner.
Your hotel or apartment
Estremoz, our first stop, is one of the gateways to Alentejo with its exquisite historical center and fortifications that were created to protect from invasions. MIddle Age churches will also be a frequent site in Estremoz and other regions of the Alentejo and we’ll step in to admire The Saint Francis Church. Clay ornamentary pieces are an integral part of Alentejo’s art and decoration and were recently considered by UNESCO to be Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Campo Maior’s is known primarily for its coffee-making industry which we frequently say placed the small town of Campo Maior on the map of Portugal. The founder, Mr. Rui Nabeiro, is an example of excellence and social responsibility and has won many prizes for his innovative ideas that involve workers and community alike. The winery building was projected by Pritzker Prize winner Siza Vieira who, inspired by rural architecture, showing that the artworks of today enhance the cities, towns, and countryside with buildings that are assuredly contemporary, minimalist, economical and well integrated into the landscape.
From Campo Maior we will take a short drive to Monforte to stay at the Torre de Palma Wine Hotel. We expect you to fall in love with this charming boutique hotel, its organic garden, the view from its tower and the way its styles of architecture and decoration work together in the most harmonious way.
We will start with a drive towards the peaceful town of Marvão, on the border of Spain and on the highest crest of the Serra de São Mamede. One of the main reasons for visiting Marvão is naturally the beautiful view of the surrounding region. We recommend the views from the top of the castle’s tower (Torre de Menagem) but inside the walls are narrow streets lined with the beautiful houses that are typical of the Alentejo. Amidst them, it is easy to find Gothic arches, Manueline windows, wrought-iron balconies and other embellishments in the nooks and crannies of the buildings made from the local granite.
In the valley near the hills of Serra de São Mamede sits Terrius, a certified company known for the production, commercialization, transformation and promotion of food products and natural cosmetics. Their main objective is the sustained production, preservation and commercialization of the fruits and the vegetables of excellence from the region. Using their innovative, prize-winning products will take us to a local “quinta” where art and food will blend harmoniously for a delicious lunch.
After lunch, you will have some leisure time back at the hotel where you can opt for a visit to the roman ruins of Basilii. If you prefer, you can take a stroll or bike ride around the area or simply relax at the hotel’s SPA. There is a visit to the delightfully small but sophisticated local winery where you can also sample the Quinta’s wines. Dinner will be at Basilii restaurant with a delicious preset menu created by Chef Filipe Ramalho.
Our first stop on the third day will be an irresistible local cheesemaker. Afterwards, we will make our way down towards Vila Viçosa. Known as the “Princess of Alentejo”, this is one of the region’s most precious and charming jewels. The village is truly an open-air museum. There are many reasons to spend a morning in Vila Viçosa but we can’t miss the visit to the Ducal Palace.
You will be amazed at the Mannerist style building with a 110-meter façade totally covered with marble from the region. More than 50 of the palace’s rooms are open to the public and not only will you learn about local and national history, you will feel part of its history. After lunch, we will head towards Alentejo’s capital, Évora, where we will spend the late afternoon at one of Portugal’s most beautiful hotels, Convento do Espinheiro Hotel & Spa, a convent converted into a small luxury hotel. An evening drink will be a welcome treat for our guests.
Our day will be spent in Évora, Alentejo’s capital and a valuable cultural legacy that UNESCO has classified as a World Heritage Site. Rather than just walking the streets, we will cover a few of the most important sites so that you get an overview of the city’s historical importance in a private and unique way. We will avoid many of the tourist traps, highlighting sights and focusing on details while walking the narrow streets of this history-filled city.
After a delicious regional lunch, we will visit a local winery. The visitor to Cartuxa is privileged to enjoy the uniquely beautiful grounds and cellars at Quinta de Valbom. You will learn to distinguish the aromas and sample the Foundation’s wines and olive oils.
We will then start our journey back to Lisbon.