Portugal regions – Alentejo
We have only two remaining mainland Portugal regions to talk about, and today we’ll be talking about Alentejo, a region that extends across about a third of Portuguese territory however, it is only home to five percent of the country’s population.
This region of the country is made up of vast landscapes populated with olive and oak trees, alongside massive agricultural estates and picturesque vineyards. Thanks to all of this agricultural activity, the seasons are very palpable in this region, at least from the point of view of the colors present, however it is mostly warm.
The major cities in the region can be found in the interior of Alentejo and they include Evora – a site famous for its Temple of Diana, a World Heritage site – and Portalegre – well known for some extremely intricate handmade tapestries. There’s also historic Beja which benefits from a very commanding position over the Alentejo plains and is rich with both Roman and Moorish heritage.
Despite the very agricultural nature of the region, it does feature some interesting attraction, including majestic castles, elaborate religious architecture as well as a megalithic sight – Almendres Cromlech – and a Neolithic one – Gruta do Escoural.
The local gastronomy is very simple and satisfying, based as one might think on pork, bread and herbs. The local black Iberian pigs are the source of a very well-known cured ham, presunto, and this is also the area that produces the best Portuguese olive oil, as well as some quite tasty wines. As an interesting side-note, this area is the where half of the world’s cork comes from, the cork oaks of the Alentejo provide it.
Considering the very low population numbers and the fact that the region is mostly agricultural one can surmise that the climate is mostly arid in the region, however there are quite a few lakes as well as the Alquevada dam – the largest man-made reservoir in Western Europe. The Alentejo coast isn’t something to shift your eyes from either.
The entire region can be at your feet with the help of our Portugal car rental services.