In the daytime, Alentejo’s visitors tour a verdant countryside dotted with vineyards, cork trees and churches that look like they jumped out of a fairy tale. At night, many travelers sleep in a castle, in one of the Pousadas de Portugal where the rates don’t require a royal income.
With most visitors to Portugal heading to Lisbon, the Algarve or the Duoro wine region, the Alentejo towns remain uncrowded and serene. When I stopped by Casa Agricola José de Sousa Rosado Fernandes Winery in the town of Reguengos de Monsaraz, the “guide” had to clean his grape-stained hands from moving hoses around between tanks. Down in the deep cellar, though, he showed me huge clay vats that mimic the same fermentation process used in ancient times. That night we ordered a bottle from the winery at a restaurant two blocks away.
The Alentejo region has about 30 percent of Portugal’s land mass but only 5 percent of its population. Meal times are often farm-to-table without much effort or distance. A glass of wine inside the Estremoz or Monsaraz fortresses can be accompanied with aged cheese, cured olives, fresh bread and olive oil from lands just outside the centuries-old walls.
The main city, Évora, has fewer than 60,000 residents and is still partially enclosed by a medieval wall. This compact town, a UNESCO World Heritage city, features Roman temple ruins from more than 2,000 years ago, a former palace and Gothic churches. With several wine tasting rooms and stores, this makes a great place to get an overview of local wines.
Portugal boasts nine main grape varieties, but few are familiar to foreigners. For those who can’t tell an Alfrocheiro from a Roupeiro, the small blessing here is most wines are blends, anyway. With wines priced mostly for the local market, a wrong choice won’t cost much.
In the villages, locals don’t eat out much, so finding the best dining spot is often a matter of following the sound of laughter to a café. For a true local experience head to Borba, where a few cafés serve wine made with traditional methods in the same space as the café serving food. While you’ll find dozens of wineries scattered around Alentejo, many are clustered around Borba, Vila Viçosa and Estremoz — also popular stops for historic architecture created with marble mined nearby and castles straight out of an epic adventure movie.
Read This Next
FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.
DailyMar 31, 2023
Italian Mansion, Winery Locanda La Raia Available for Private Stays
Looking for luxury in Italy’s Southern Piedmont Region? In the wine hills of Gavi, north and west of Genoa, Locanda La Raia offers 10 splendid guestrooms and two apartments on a 180- hectare estate. Once a countryside inn and post station serving travelers journeying through the area on horseback, the space has been meticulously restored by the Rossi Cairo family to showcase original features such as vaulted ceilings and exposed brickwork. Each guestroom has been individually decorated and now features enormous windows overlooking the surrounding landscape of lush gardens, rolling meadows and organic vineyards.
Exclusive Savings: Cruise Along the Danube River with Global Traveler
Exclusive Sailing with Global Traveler
The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach’s Wellness Experiences
The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach offers travelers a new immersive wellness experience: Healing in Hawai’i.
NoMo Soho Introduces New Private Event Spaces, Return of Rose Garden
NoMo SoHo recently announced the return of Rose Garden as well as the introduction of two new event spaces, The Penthouse and Nina’s.
Share Your Travel Preferences with Global Traveler in a Short Survey & Win
Learning more about our readers’ travel habits and preferences ensures Global Traveler delivers the content you desire. As the travel industry has adapted and changed over the last few years, it’s more important than ever to connect. To best meet your short- and long-term travel content needs, please help us!
A New Type of Art Experience: Rotterdam’s Depot Boijman’s Van Beuningen Opens
A little more a year ago, Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, designed by architectural firm MVRDV, opened to the public in Rotterdam. At Depot, everything revolves around the interaction between the visitors and more than 151,000 works stored in various areas of the unique building.
4 Spring Hotel Openings
DailyMar 29, 2023
Elk Cove Inn & Spa Review
eFlyer ReviewsMar 29, 2023
Last-Minute Spring Deals from SIXT
SIXT invites customers to book some spring and summer deals. Book a midweek deal for up to 30 percent off rentals of two–four days starting on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday and ending by Thursday. Book the midweek offer by June 30. Blackout dates of April 2–22 apply.
Enter to Win $500 and Get Six Months’ Free Access to the New GT App
Now through May 8, sign up for a free six-month trial of the Global Traveler app and be automatically entered for a chance to win a $500 gift card of your choice for Amazon, Apple or American Express.
Andaz Mayakoba Welcomes Summer with 20 Percent Off All Suite Stays
Just in time for summer travel, Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya launches its Suites on Sale promotion. During the summer months, the resort offers travelers 20 percent off a stay in a suite.