The Alentejo region takes up about one third of Portugal in terms of area, but is comparatively sparsely populated. The region borders the Algarve in the south, Lisbon in the west and the neighbouring country Spain in the east- It is known for its unspoiled landscapes. The picturesque dream beaches along the Atlantic invite you to swim, relax and surf, especially in the summer months. Typical for the hotels in the Alentejo are, among other things, larger, luxurious resorts that promise peace and relaxation. Alternatively, Portugal visitors can also find traditional accommodation in the smaller communities with their typical regional charm.
Sport activities and destinations in the Alentejo
The west coast of the Alentejo is rich in sandy beaches, which are not only ideal for relaxing, but also a dream destination for surfers. In many of the smaller communities, travellers will find schools where you can learn windsurfing and kitesurfing from a beginning. Experienced surfers are able to rent the necessary equipment and then experience unforgettable waves in the Atlantic Ocean all on their own. For those who prefer to stay in the country for sporty hours, the Alentejo offers several impressive hiking areas to choose from. At the border with Spain, the Parque Natural do Vale do Guadiana invites to some longer tours through the unspoiled nature, where one can even watch some Iberian lynxes in their natural habitat. The Rota Vicentina near the Atlantic Ocean is ideal for hikers, but also for mountain bikers who want to explore the west coast by bike. In the far north, the Parque Natural da Serra de São Mamede enchants its visitors with idyllic landscapes rich in spectacular photography backdrops. Quad bike excursions are considered an insider's tip and are offered from some of the larger towns. Here you ride on four wheels far from the paved roads through the impressive landscapes of the Alentejo.
Cultural and scenic sights in the south of Portugal
In the heart of the region is the historic Capela dos Ossos, the so-called Bone Chapel. The name is to be understood literally here: In the interior of the small church, which was built in the 16th century, all walls are decorated with bones and skulls of former monks. Nearby there is also a Roman temple, which dates back to antiquity. The formerly magnificent building was erected in the 1st century for the late Emperor Augustus and has been preserved in some parts until today. Even older is the stone oval Almendres, which dates back to the Neolithic Age and, like the temple, is located near the town of Évora. In the small town the church Igreja de São Franciso is considered as an architectural landmark. In the east, only a few kilometres from the Spanish border, is the star-shaped fortress of Nossa Senhora da Graça. The imposing complex dates from the 18th century and is on the list of the 100 most endangered cultural monuments. Visitors can look forward to a fantastic panoramic view of the hilly landscape from Monte da Graça. Close to the Atlantic Ocean, the Badoca Safari Park invites you to see more than 600 animals in huge naturalistic areas. More than 75 species are at home in the 90ha large safari park. Here you can also drive with jeeps through the enclosures and get very close to the zebras, giraffes and other animals.
Delicious dishes from the regional kitchen
Every holiday in the Alentejo is rounded off with Portugal's diverse delicacies. Not infrequently, multi-course menus are served, which tell of the country's geographical proximity to the sea. As a starter one can enjoy the deep-fried shrimp meatballs Rissóis de camarão, but also the stuffed squid Lulas recheadas and the mussels in a sauce of lemon and garlic, which can be found on the menus as Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato, are considered to be absolute delicacies. For the main course we recommend simple dishes such as duck with rice, or lamb in wine sauce: Chanfana. Among the locals, the fish stew Caldeirada à fragateiro, which includes potatoes and tomatoes, is considered the secret national dish. A traditional and simple delicacy is feijoada, a bean stew with sausage, which is widespread throughout the country and even in Brazil. For dessert after a long meal, the Portuguese love the sponge cake Pão de ló and the sweet curd Queijadas de Sintra. Especially in the evening hours, people like to finish their meal with a glass of the sour cherry liqueur Ginjinha, while the chilled beer Cerveja is also very popular during the day. In general, however, the Alentejo is considered a paradise for wine lovers, who should try the cheap and at the same time tasty house wine in most restaurants.
Ideal travel time and local climatic conditions
In the south of Portugal, the winters are pleasantly mild, so the Alentejo is considered as a dream destination for vacationers around the turn of the year. Even in December, January and February, the thermometer climbs daily to almost 15°C and the sun shines from the sky for several hours. From the beginning of spring until the end of autumn, the weather is ideal for hiking and activity holidays with maximum temperatures of 18-20°C. The transition periods are also recommended for culturally interested travellers to visit the many historical buildings and other sights of the region. On the other hand, if you want to relax on the sandy beaches along the Atlantic Ocean or spend unforgettable hours surfing the waves, you should plan your trip so that you are in the Alentejo between June and September. During these months, the water temperature in the Atlantic rises to 20°C. On land, temperatures of about 30°C are to be expected in midsummer. This includes up to 10 hours of sunshine a day and only a few days of light rainfall.
From Germany to the hotel in the Alentejo
Depending on the location of the accommodation, direct flights from Germany to Lisbon or Faro are recommended, these are about 3 hours in duration. Afterwards, you can take a taxi for short distances and a rental car for longer trips to your hotel in the Alentejo. In addition, various trains run from Lisbon to the region east of the capital.