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.
As more destinations around the globe reopen to travelers, we are ready to get back to one of our favorite activities. Join us over the next several weeks as we take you to places around the world saying #WelcomeBacktoTravel. Take a visual journey through St. Augustine, Florida, with us.
Are you looking for a truly unique travel experience and considering a new vehicle? The Volvo Overseas Delivery Program is the perfect solution to create your own refined adventure of a lifetime. You can custom order your new Volvo, tailored to fit your needs and desires. They will fly you to Sweden to pick up your Volvo so you can drive and explore Scandinavia and Europe on your terms for up to two weeks.
The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes recently announced its $30 million renovation and redesign. The property updates include renovations to guestrooms, the pool and club lounge.
If the winter months have you craving a snowy retreat surrounded by off-season island fun and warm fireplaces, The Bungalow at Greydon House should be on your list. An iconic stay in Nantucket, Massachusetts, The Bungalow offers a two-bedroom, three-bathroom retreat in the heart of historic downtown.
Step right up to the greatest show on Earth as FXExpress Publications, Global Traveler, trazeetravel.com and whereverfamily.com celebrate their 2020 award winners! Join the big top on Dec. 14 as we virtually award the winners of the 17th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards, including the Airline and Hotel of the Year; the 17th annual Wines on the Wing Airline Wine Survey; the eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards; the sixth annual The Trazees; and the third annual Wherever Awards.
Atlantis Paradise Island launched a 21 Reasons to Vacation at Atlantis in 2021 campaign, with the No. 1 reason being 21 percent savings sitewide. Travelers receive 21 percent savings on accommodations, with a minimum four-night stay required. They also receive 21 percent savings on Experience Packages, with a minimum stay of five nights required.
Custom order your Volvo through the Overseas Delivery Program and receive round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations, and a personalized delivery at the Volvo Factory Delivery Experience in Gothenburg, Sweden. Your experience begins in Sweden with insurance and registration included, enabling you to drive your new Volvo throughout Scandinavia and Europe. Create the adventure of a lifetime with the program named Best Overseas Delivery four years running, and return home with the ultimate souvenir.
Azamara recently launched its 2021 Wave Offer for guests booking through March 31. Savings of up to 40 percent are available for select sailings March 20, 2021–May 13, 2022. The offer also includes complimentary WiFi for guests in an Oceanview stateroom or higher, exclusive culture events and consumer flexibility with the Cruise with Confidence program.