Visit PortugalThe 10 Best Places to Visit in Alentejo, Portugal

Sindy Smith3 months ago

Alentejo is a historical and cultural region situated in the south of Portugal. The name of the area translates as “beyond the Tagus River”, which helps set the scene for Alentejo as everything south of the Tagus river until the northern mountain ranges of the Algarve.

The region is largely made up of cork plantations, wheat fields and vineyards. But you can also expect several ancient Roman ruins sites and breathtaking beaches along the coast to explore.

If you’re looking to discover some of the most interesting and natural landscapes of Portugal, while avoiding city crowds, Alentejo is a fitting place to do it. Read on to discover the 10 best destinations in Alentejo in Portugal.

Read all about other destinations here, with our ultimate guide to the Algarve, best Day Trips from Porto, and The Douro Valley!

1. Elvas

Elvas in Portugal is the capital city of the Alentejo district and is located around 230km east of Lisbon. The city is a former frontier fortress of Portugal and has been listed as a World Heritage Site since 2012. Here you can discover military architecture as well as many traces from the Moors; and fresh olives and plums, which the region is known for.

  • Getting there: Elvas in Portugal is around 2.5 hours drive from Lisbon, and buses are available. Ticket prices start at €15.
  • Best time to visit: It’s a great destination all year-round.
  • Eat at: Taberna do Adro, for delicious Portuguese meals at a good price. The restaurant is family run and specializes in dishes famous in the region.
  • Stay at: Hotel Rural Monte da Provenca (from €75/night)
  • Don’t miss: Walk the walls of Elvas Castle for incredible views of the region. Entrance is €2 and open from Monday to Saturday, 9.30am-1.30pm and 2.30pm-5.30pm.

2. Évora

Évora in Portugal is an old town centre partially enclosed with medieval walls, and several monuments from different historical periods. The city is now a World Heritage site and member of the “Most Ancient European Towns Network”.

  • Getting there: Évora in Portugal is accessible from Lisbon by car, train or bus. By car, the journey will take approximately 1.5 hours. By public transport, the easier is the train which will take the same as the car and the price is a mere €12.40.
  • Best time of year to visit: Year-round
  • Eat at: Taberna Típica Quarta Feira, for local cuisine served up by the family who runs the restaurant. They serve a fixed menu of dishes from Alentejo.
  • Stay at: Albergaria Do Calvário (from €180/night)
  • Don’t miss: Saint Francis Church – Built between the 15th and 16th centuries, the building combines Gothic and Manueline styles. It also has a “Chapel of Bones”, which is covered with human bones.

Read all about Évora in: Visit Évora in Portugal: Top Things to Do, Best Time to Go and More.

3. Sines

Sines in Portugal is a small city with a population of just over 14, 000 people. It is home to archaeological sites such as Palmeirinha and Quiteria that demonstrate just how old the city is. The Romans once used Sines as a port and industrial centre to capitalize on the fishing and salting industries.

  • Getting there: Sines in Portugal is just under 2 hours drive from Lisbon, and we recommend driving or taking the bus.
  • Best time to visit: Year-round
  • Eat at: Cais da Estação, for great seafood, and stylish décor inside an old train station. Try the Chocos Fritos and Arroz de Lingueirão.
  • Stay at: Sinerama Hotel Apartamento (from €75/night)
  • Don’t miss: The Monumento do Vasco da Gama – the town’s most famous son who became the first European to get to India by sea, opening up new trade routes and expanding the Portuguese Empire.

Want to know more about Portugal’s incredible history? Visit these 15 Best Museums in Lisbon for lovers of history and art. 

4. Odemira

Odemira in Portugal is a town in Alentejo famous for its wild beaches and its large Dutch and German community. The city has many agricultural operations ongoing, including the base of companies like Vitacress, a leader in the salad market.

  • Getting there: It is a 2.5-hour journey to Odemira from Lisbon, and you can either drive or catch a bus or train.
  • Best time to visit: Year-round, or in summer for prime beach weather.
  • Eat at: Restaurante A Azenha do Mar, for excellent seafood and beautiful views over the cliffs at Azenha do Mar. Try the octopus.
  • Stay at: Hobbit House – Montes da Ronha (from €155/night), a very original house.
  • Don’t miss: Farol do Cabo Sardão, for incredible sea views, hiking or cycling trails.

5. Grândola

Grândola in Portugal is a small typical town in Alentejo, surrounded by agricultural crops and cork trees. There are plenty of nature reserves nearby with different species of birds and flora to be admired.

  • Getting there: The journey to Grândola will take just over 1 hour from Lisbon, and you can either drive or take the train.
  • Best time to visit: Year-round, or in the shoulder seasons to avoid the summer heat amongst the crops.
  • Eat at: O Cruzamento, for tasty local dishes popular with residents and tourists.
  • Stay at: Sobreiras, Alentejo Country Hotel (from €140/night)
  • Don’t miss: Serra de Grândola, the national park offers beautiful trails for walking and exploring local wildlife.

6. Moura

Moura in Portugal is a large town with a relatively small population in Alentejo. Said to be named after the Moorish Princess Moura Saluquia, legend has it that after the supposed death of her lover, she threw herself off one of the castle towers. Moura was occupied by the Moors until 1232 when Dom Manuel took control, the city’s Moorish quarter is one of the most well-preserved in southern Portugal.

  • Getting there: You can either drive or take the bus to Moura from Lisbon, and the journey will take around 3 hours.
  • Best time to visit: Year-round
  • Eat at: O Trilho, for delicious Mediterranean dishes, for great value.
  • Stay at: Hotel Santa Comba (from €50/night)
  • Don’t miss: Mouraria de Moura (Moorish quarter) – the quarter is an alley with intersecting cottages and winding streets, all extremely well preserved from the Moorish occupation years ago.

7. Serpa

Serpa in Portugal is a small city surrounded by a gorgeous landscape of hills and vineyards, with a historical centre filled with white-washed houses. The city has a large cheese industry and well known for producing “queijadas” (cheesecakes), a traditional dessert in Portugal.

  • Getting there: You can either drive or take the bus to Serpa from Lisbon, and the journey will take around 3 hours.
  • Best time to visit: Year-round
  • Eat at: Restaurante Molho Bico, for traditional Portuguese meals and desserts, all inside an old wine cellar. The portions are large, and quality excellent from the Alentejo region. Try the lamb or migas.
  • Stay at: Herdade do Vau (from €100/night)
  • Don’t miss: The Torre do Relogio, the 13th-century wall that surrounds a space that can now be accessed through the ancient gates of Moura and Beja.

8. Vila Nova de Milfontes

Villa Nova de Milfontes in Portugal is a beachside resort town located on the beautiful Alentejo coastline. Popular with locals during the summer, the charming resort with scenic views and whitewashed houses is slowly being discovered by foreigners.

  • Getting there: The journey to Vila Nova de Milfontes from Lisbon takes 3 hours and you can either go by car or bus.
  • Best time to visit: Year-round, or in summer when the weather is best for beach days.
  • Eat at: Tasco do Selso, for excellent local wines and dishes, and a great atmosphere inside.
  • Stay at: Duna Parque Beach Club (from €40/night)
  • Don’t miss: The beach! Surf on Malhão beach or relax on the Praia da Franquia, and if feeling sporty, why not try kayaking or paddle boarding the Mira river.

9. Mértola

A picturesque town set above the hills, Mértola in Portugal is an old medieval town with taces of Islamic occupation. The city is made up of cobblestone streets, a castle, gorgeous white houses, and a church, sure to impress you.

  • Getting there: It takes around 2.5 hours to get to Mertola from Lisbon, you can travel by car or by bus.
  • Best time to visit: Year-round
  • Eat at: Casa de Pasto Cafetaria Tamuje, for great Portuguese dishes at even better prices. The bacalhau (cod), grilled cheese, and black pork are favourites.
  • Stay at: Hotel Museu (from €70/night)
  • Don’t miss: Explore the Mértola Castle on top of the hill and nearby Islamic mosque (Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Anunciação).

10. Portalegre

Portalegre in Portugal is a cluster of towns in the São Mamede mountains close to the Spanish border. The region has many historical monuments, Baroque and Renaissance houses, and scenic national parks to explore.

  • Getting there: You can travel by bus or by car to Portalegre from Lisbon and the journey will take around 3-hour.
  • Best time to visit: Year-round
  • Eat at: Restaurante O Poeiras, for traditional homemade food sure to satisfy your appetite. The frango (chicken) assado and lamb are delicious choices.
  • Stay at: Convento da Provença (from €80/night)
  • Don’t miss: Serra de São Mamede Natural Park – One of the wildest places in western Europe, this national park is a habitat for rare species like genets, Iberian lynx, Iberian wolves, bats, boar and deer. You can also admire local flora or hike to the summit, which peaks at 1000 meters.

There are plenty of cities in Alentejo in Portugal, along with plenty of reasons to visit the region. From castle views, beachside escapes, Roman ruins, ancient architecture, mountains and vineyards, Alentejo in Portugal has much to explore. Start planning your trip now!

Want to know more about day trips from Lisbon or Porto? Read all about them here! 

 

Sindy Smith

I'm a freelance copywriter and free-spirited traveller from Australia. I fell in love with Portugal when I arrived here and hope to share with you all the reasons why.

Jeronimos Monastery Lisbon

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