The Alentejo 
Rural Tourism Accommodation near EstremozMonte da Fornalha
 Rural Bed & Breakfast between Pavia and Vimieiro

The Alentejo region of Portugal extends from the unspoilt beaches of the West coast over plains, through vinyards and cork oak forests to the rugged hills on the Spanish border. Fascinating towns and villages with a rich cultural heritage are scattered throughout the province. Full of vestiges of the past, the history of the area can be seen in Megalithic sites, Roman remains, Moorish relics, Mediaeval castles and Baroque palaces.

Alto Alentejo is the "High" Alentejo, the northern part, adjoining the Ribatejo province. Baixo Alentejo is the "Low" Alentejo or the southern part, adjoining the Algarve.
The beaches of the Alentejo lie in the Costa Azul - the blue coast - the Natural Park of Cape St. Vincent and the Alentejo.

One of the largest districts is Evora .

Some other towns and views of note:- Estremoz  - Monsaraz - Mora

Vidigueira - A wine production centre. Near here, at São Cucufate, are the remains of a Roman granary, which had a 1st century villa constructed on top of it, and the 3rd century villa with temple alongside. One part of the granary was converted into a decorated chapel by the mediaeval monks.

A typical Alentejan farm, with sheep and goats in the foreground.
Beja -  is the capital of Baixa Alentejo and a large Agricultural centre.
Near here are remains of a Roman villa at Pisões.


Mertola - A town on the Guadiana river. The castle is constructed on the remains of a roman fortification. Here was the Arab cisterna that provided, on excavation, the largest collection of Arabic pottery in the Iberian peninsula. The Arab mosque, just outside the castle entrance, was converted into a church. The pillars, arches and mihrab arch are still a feature of its architecture. 
The Guadiana here is excellent for canoeing.
Just to the East of Mertola are the ancient mines of São Domingos

A water mill.

on the Guadiana river.

Not forgetting:
Alvito, with its 15th century Baron's fortified house.
Cuba, renowned for its Male Voice Choirs.
Troia for its Roman ruins. 
Santiago de Cacem, with castle, Roman town with Forum and Hippodrome. 
Vila Nova de Millefontes, on the estuary of the River Mira. One of the many coastal resorts. 
Grandola, where the revolutionary council of 1974 met, and where, on the old main road can be found the restaurant with the best "Bifanas" in Portugal. (result of a hospital ward poll)
Nearby - 10 kilometres south - is the tranquil Guest House of No Campo.
Portalegre, with modern tapestry works in the 18th century Royal Silk Factory and 13th century castle ruins.
Castelo de Vide, mineral springs of which the oldest is the Fonte de Ville, 13th century castle and old Jewish quarter with mediaeval synagogue.
Monforte. 5kms away is the Roman "Villa Rustica" at Torre de Palma, where the mosaic of stallions was discovered. Also at this site is an early Christian basilica with a unique cruciform immersion baptismal font dating from the 6th century.
Elvas, with 5kms of 18th century ramparts, mainly designed by the Count of Lippe, a cathedral founded in the 13th century, castle, the town walls dating from the 10th century, the 15/16th century Amoreira aqueduct, 1113m long, and 16th century marble pillory in the old town square!
Campo Maior, 18kms from Elvas, a fortress town set in olive groves and sunflower fields. Its famous Festival of Flowers is held during the first weekend in September.
Marvão, a hilltop fortified town and castle founded under the domination of Chief Marvam and conquered by King Afonso Henriques in 1166. Apart from the solitary convent, Nossa Senhora da Estrela, on the approach at the foot of the peak, the whole town is enclosed within the walls as it would have been in mediaeval times. An excellent locale for Chestnuts in November!

Produce: Cork, wine, sheep, pigs, horses, pottery, carpets, blankets, painted furniture, marble.

Hand made Arraiolos carpet. These are sewn with wool in a running cross-stitch on a canvas ground. Fine antique examples are found in textile museums such as the Victoria and Albert in London, made of silk.

An Estremoz figurine. These pottery statuettes are a speciality of the town.

One of the many taverns.
The large jars are for wine storage.
"Periquita" Grapes

Marble quarry at Estremoz.

Harvesting the cork.
The bark is stripped every ten years, hence the number 8 on the tree to the left indicates that the cork is to be harvested in the next year that ends in an 8 - 2008.

The montadas are threatened by the increasing use of plastic corks in wine bottles. Read the facts and help the ecology and environment by sending a message in a bottle at
(English Version available)

Horses at water in the Alentejo.
Amongst the many studs in this region is the  National Stud at Alter do Chão, where the particular variety of Lusitano bred there is known as the Alto Real, or  "High Royal". Once the Royal stud, these horses were originally bred for the Royal family of Portugal.

 Monte da Fornalha - Evora

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Last modified: June 28, 2006