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.
Once an abandoned 1923 constructed warehouse in Asheville, North Carolina, it took a creative group of designers, artists, musicians, chefs and business folks to transform a neglected, 100-year-old structure into one of Asheville’s most interesting and daring hotel projects.
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Early on, pickleball had something to do with pickles. Pickles the dog, that is. In one story, the game was named for a family dog that ran off with the ball between sets.
The Saronic or Argo Saronic Islands of Greece call travelers to explore its seven small islands and islets brimming with history, natural sites and more. With most easily accessible by boat, the islands’ proximity to ports of Athens make the Saronic Islands an ideal destination for those preferring shorter boat rides. In fact, trips from Athens ports to the islands take only between 10 minutes and two hours, depending on the island you choose, making them perfect for day or weekend trips. From Piraeus port, you can access Hydra, Spetses, Aegina and Poros directly. Come explore these stunning islands with us and find the inspiration to plan your next trip to these islands. Hydra Hydra town curves around a slope overlooking the Argosaronic Gulf like an amphitheater and is considered one of the most romantic destinations in Greece. Most unique to the island is its lack of vehicles. People on the island get around on mules and donkeys as well as water taxis, making for a peaceful and laid-back day. Hydra lies a two-hour ferry ride from Piraeus port in Athens.
JW Marriott Hotel Mexico City Polanco recently completed renovations of its entrances, lobby, culinary concepts and meeting space. This marks the final stage of the renovation, which began in 2021 with the revitalization of its 269 guestrooms and 45 suites.
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You know what you’re going to get at an Aman hotel, and also you don’t. Expect peerless service, obsessive attention to detail, architectural elegance worthy of a fashion magazine, a holistic approach to wellness and astounding levels of comfort. But each property is also intimately connected to its setting, and that’s where the surprises lie. For instance, finding yourself on your knees on a sidewalk in Luang Prabang handing out sticky rice to Buddhist monks at 5:30 a.m. isn’t something we expected.