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The Alentejo – The Most Recent Wine Region of Portugal

Alentejo landscape

The Alentejo is a region of great cultural diversity. Located southeast of Lisbon and North of Algarve, this region is dotted with medieval castles and the remnants of Roman and Arab architecture. The climate of the region varies a good deal, but is mostly warm and dry: it can get as cold as 5°C (41°F) and as warm as 33°C (91°F). The region is one of the warmest in Portugal.

The Alentejo covers approximately one third of the landmass of Portugal, but only represents 7.1% of its population with 759,000 inhabitants. The culture is quite rich in this region: many traditional wines, cheeses, and smoked hams and sausages are produced in the area. For example Queijo de Nisa, among others, is a locally produced cheese with a protected designation of origin (meaning it can only be produced in this region). The region also has a long history of encounters with foreign cultures, giving it a certain cultural diversity. Beautiful nature parks can also be found in this region: the Parque Natural de Sao Mamede, for example, features quaint medieval villages and a Mediterranean climate that supports a diversity of wildlife. The Parque Natural da Serra de São Mamede is one of 30 officially protected parks in Portugal.

Quinta dos Ferreiras - Alentejo

Quinta dos Ferreiras – Alentejo

A large amount of cork is produced in this region: in fact, the Alentejo is the most agriculturally productive regions in Portugal, and is often referred to as the ‘bread basket’ of Portugal. The bark of the cork oak (or sobreiro) has been harvested by hand with axes in the traditional manner, as there is no industrial means that are more efficient in harvesting the bark. The cork oak is one of the few trees that can handle this sort of bark stripping, and the bark of just one cork oak can produce up to 4,000 wine bottle corks.

 Wine estates can be found throughout the region. There are three wine routes that makeup the greater Alentejo wine route. The São Mamede wine route (named after the natural park mentioned above), the Historic Route, and the Guadiana wine route each have their own set of characteristics and attractions. The Alentejo is renowned widely for its unique wines.

Places to visit in Alentejo

Some of the most popular places to visit in Alentejo include Evora, a must-stop point, once capital of Portugal and witness to the Roman and Moorish occupation. Other towns include Alcacer do Sal, Regengos de Monsaraz, Estremoz, Arraiolos and Marvao.

Alentejo Travel suggestions

If you plan to drive through Alentejo check out our self-drive packages such as the Lisbon Towns and villages. This package takes you through the town mentioned above. Escorted tours that pass through the Alentejo include the Best of Portugal and Portugal in Depth.


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