Map of the Alentejo Region of Portugal and Travel Essentials
The Alentejo is the least populated of the five continental Portuguese regions. The Alentejo is also the up and coming region for the production of fine wine--and the region has plenty of interesting towns, castles, and archaeology to keep the visitor happy for weeks.
Our Alentejo map shows some of the most important tourist towns and attractions in the region.
Alentejo Regional Map © 2006 by James Martin, licensed to About
Towns of the Alentejo Region
Evora is perhaps the best known of Alentejo towns. The historic center of Evora is designated as a world heritage site, and features a pretty complete Roman temple dedicated to Diana, as well as a famous bone chapel. Evora has a nice ambiance, and spending three days here wouldn't be too much.
Monsaraz was built to keep eye on the Spanish border and the River Guadiana. It's called the "jewel in the crown" of the Alentejo for good reason; the hilltop town is gorgeous in white. Property values have soared recently for this reason. See for yourself with our Monsaraz Pictures
Elvas is known for its brandy and pottery production, and features the impressive Auqueduto de Amoreira and the 17th Century Fort de Santa Luzia.
Borba is known for its ceramics and its marble; visit the Museu de Cerâmica (Ceramics Museum), walk around the ruins of the medieval castle, and peek inside the 15th century Church of Nossa Senjora.
Estremoz has a medieval castle which is now Pousada de Estremoz - Rainha Santa Isabel, and one of the best in Portugal. On the castle hill you can visit several chapels and ethnographic and art museums. Don't miss out on the "Black Pork" over at the Adega do Isaias Restaurant.
Evoramonte has a medieval castle and you can see permanent exhibitions on the town in the Torre de Managem. 2006 was the celebration of the 700th anniversary of Evoramonte castle.
Beja in the southern Alentejo had many of its historical features destroyed in the 19th century, but the town is a pleasant one to stroll in, and has a fabulous Posada in which to stay, the São Francisco. Beja's best known attraction is its Torre de Menagem. Climb the 138 steps for a panoramic view of Beja and environs.
To the northeast of Beja is the town of Vidigueira. Vasco da Gama acquired the town from the King in 1519.
Just outside of Vila de Frades you'll find the 2nd Century Roman ruin São Cucufate, a Roman villa with frescos dating between the 1st and the 17th Century. In the tascas, homes and restaurants around Vila de Frades you'll find the practice of making wine in the Roman way. See pictures: Vinho de Talha.
In Serpa you'll find the famous Serpa cheese (made in nearby Brinches). You'll wander among 15th century single-story houses, be drawn to the castle, and learn what life was like in the old days in the Ethnographic museum. The most unexpected museum in Serpa may well be the Museum of the Watch, which records 350 years of watchmaking with 1600 pieces on display.
Moura is a town of abundant water and some of Portugal's best olive oil. Visit the Museu do Azeite, with its olive oil press and olive oil tasting, and the Mouraria (Moorish Quarter). Visit Noudar castle that defended Moura, preferably at sunset.
Places to Stay in the Alentejo Region
The Alentejo region is an ideal place to rent a vacation home or cottage. HomeAway lists over 140 properties in the region.
If a hotel is more to your liking, you can find user-rated Alentejo hotels on Venere (book direct)
The Alenteho - When to Go
The Alentejo is a compelling place to visit, even in the hot summer. The best time to visit is spring, when the wildflowers bloom in perfusion. Fall is also good, especially if you can time your visit to the wine harvest. I visited in October, and the weather was perfect.