Welcome to the Alentejo, a region that occupies more than a third of Portugal’s surface area, despite being home to just seven per cent of the population. The Alentejo is truly an ideal destination for lovers of culture and cuisine, trekking and biking, wines and history. The motorway powers out of Lisbon, heading east towards the Spanish border, through countryside as unpopulated and as little messed about as any in Europe. The thinner the traffic and the emptier the landscape, the greater the sense of relief that seeps into one’s stress-tightened muscles. You may want to stay forever but here is a glimpse of our choice of a simple but elegant paradise.
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We will drive into Évora, one of Alentejo’s gateways. We’ll visit a palace on one of the most noble and strategic points of the city of Évora and, for that reason, the subject of various occupations throughout its history. In the afternoon, we will dive deep into the ground to discover a state of the art winery that is both beautiful and environmentally sustainable. The evening and night will be at Torre de Palma Wine Hotel, a tranquil and beautiful design hotel.
We will drive towards Marvão, a marvelous retreat far removed from the settlements below. Only a few kilometers from Spain, stands the peaceful town of Marvão, on the highest crest of the Serra de São Mamede. This whitewashed village of picturesque tiled roofs and bright flowers has wonderful views. Inside the castle walls are narrow streets lined with the beautiful popular 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 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 we will savor a delicious lunch.
We will start off the day with a visit to a local cheese manufacturer. You can see, participate in the cheesemaking process and then taste the delicious regional cheeses.
Vila Viçosa is next on the itinerary. Although small, this is one of the most precious and charming jewels of Alentejo and is often referred to as “The Princess of Alentejo”. The village is truly an open-air museum and we will enjoy some of its highlights. Lunch will be in Estremoz, followed by a visit to one of the most reputable winemakers in the region.
After the visit, we will start our journey back towards Lisbon.