Warm and wide-horizoned, Alentejo's beautiful rural scenery, which changes colour dramatically with the light, is one of its big draws. Reeling you in to the slow, relaxed pace of life here amongst the vineyards, white towns (where many of the best places to stay in the Alentejo can be found) and the megalithic monuments.
Alentejo covers almost a third of Portugal, from the Atlantic coast to the Spanish border and the Algarve, but it has only about seven percent of the population. And its charming old white towns, where nothing has changed for decades, are sparsely dotted amongst olive groves and cork forests. Alentejo's beaches are beautiful and on a road trip along white cliffs and virginal coasts you'll feel like you're the only people in the world.
It is a relative unknown but vast, so there are plenty of accommodation options. Some of the best places to stay in the Alentejo are the wonderful old farmhouse complexes. Whitewashed and traditional, many now boast all the mod. cons. and have been chicly styled, but are still inexpensive. The Pousadas de Portugal hotels are good options too. These state run hotels occupy stunning old buildings often religious buildings or castles, and are priced affordably.
The best way to sell it is to say the Alentejo is like Tuscany before everyone visited. But much, much bigger. Places here feel, and treasure, their rural heritage. If you're here looking for a beach just for two, have no fear, there will be plenty to choose from. And one of the best places to start looking from is Vila Nova de Mil-Fontes.
Vhino verde accompanied by sardines and shellfish on the barbecue, Alentejo's cuisine is a pleasant surprise to many. Yes, it's rustic, and not fancy, but it's also fresh, local and original. If you're here for the wine follow the Rota dos Vinhos do Alentejo, or Alentejo Wine Route through the vineyards.
As well as being UNESCO listed, Evora is also the largest town in the region. Its two thousand year old Templo Romano is an exceptionally fine Roman monument, and it has a chapel of the bones featuring the skulls of around five thousand former locals. Just out of town is the Cromeleque dos Almedres, one of the largest megalithic structures in Europe: an oval of around one hundred granite monoliths.
The ancient walled town of Marvão, with its wonderful castle and museum, is also worth visiting.
The flat countryside makes hiking and biking a pleasure, though the more traditional way of exploring the place is on horseback…
Still undecided? Browse though our list of all the best places to stay in the Alentejo., or call, or email, one of our gurus for advice. Alternatively have a look at The Hotel Guru recommendations for the Algarve.
A rustic inn perched on a mountain ledge with stunning valley views. Charming rooms and suites have stone floors, wooden furnishings, and private balconies. Lovely terraces, swimming pool, gardens, and restaurant. Great for families or couples on a budget.
A charming country house B&B with a communal kitchen, gardens, pool, and children's playground. Farmhouse chic bedrooms are excellent value and extra beds can be included. Within striking distance of beaches. A great choice for a budget family beach holiday.
A lovely country house hotel, formerly a convent, surrounded by vineyards. Elegant rooms and suites have white washed walls, killim rugs, and antique furniture. Pool, restaurant, bar and children's activities. Family friendly and great value.
Vila Viçosa, Alentejo
A luxurious mansion of Five Star status. Elegant bedrooms centred around a balustraded garden, swimming pool, and excellent traditional cuisine. A very special spot ideally suited to couples and families.
A delightful family-run country house surrounded by verdant hills and not far from the beach. Fabulous farm-fresh food and summer lunches are the hub of the house. Simple but chic rooms with terraces, a swimming pool, gardens, and horses to explore the area on. The perfect country escape.
A charmingly traditional pousada in the countryside. Large rooms and suites, simply furnished, offer lots of space and excellent value. Sprawling gardens, pool area, tennis court, wonderful restaurant. Romantic, family friendly and good value.
SANTA EULáLIA, Alentejo
Fabulously remote and romantic lakeside guesthouse. Boutique rooms and one enormous suite. Stunning views over the lake, sumptuous day beds, and lots to do around; nature, wine tasting, sights. Ideal for a romantic rural retreat, great value too.
Nr Estremoz, Alentejo
Wonderfully rustic retreat with romantic gardens and rose draped terraces. White washed on the outside and splashed with pastels on the inside. Giant rooms and suites, lovely pool and deck area, and vineyards nearby. Perfect for a romantic retreat.
An elegant hotel in the heart of a beautiful winery with cool wine cellar and contemporary bedrooms decorated to complement the natural surroundings. A large terrace with bar, and sitting room with magnificent views are both ideal sundown locations. An intimate hideaway, just 15 mins from the beach.
Sophisticated townhouse B&B with lovely gardens and a pool. Classically elegant rooms, suites and one family apartment with eclectic touches. A sweet terrace and lemon tree lined courtyard. Ideal for families and local exploring.
Alcácer do Sal, Alentejo
Wonderful and colourful rural country house. Bright, cheerful suites and apartments, perfect for families or groups of friends. Lovely pool and communal dining area. Plenty to do in the area; cycling, fishing, riding, golf etc.
A lovely family hotel in a stunning valley location surrounded by mountains, beaches, and lakes. A collection of studios, apartments, and lodges with all the mod cons, including DVD players. Large crescent pool, lunch and dinner by arrangement, surrounded by outdoor pursuits.
Santa Clara a Velha, Alentejo
An idyllic lakeside hideaway, for complete peace and tranquility in beautiful surroundings. A eco friendly building with charming rustic-chic rooms in a warm and friendly atmosphere. The perfect destination for families with a whole host of outdoor activities.
A Five Star design hotel and spa in the centre of Evora. Phillipe Starke elements, dome ceilings, chrome bedrooms and suites, lots of natural light, and huge bathrooms. Extensive meeting rooms and conference facilities. A luxurious spa spot suited to any city or business traveller.
A fantastic country house in a rural setting. Sunny gardens, large swimming pool, beautiful dining area. Romantic rooms in rustic style have cast iron beds, stone floors, and delicate furnishings. The perfect spot for a lazy summer holiday as a family or as a couple.
A renovated Portuguese farmhouse replete with every downy comfort. Set in hectares of beautiful gardens, two swimming pools, and sumptuous suites. Total rural relaxation with access to wine tasting, sailing, and biking.
L'And Vineyards is an elegant hideout with an exclusive feel thanks to the modern guest suites with private court yards and outdoor fire places. The tranquil retreat has a formal garden and a swimming pool with lakeside views. A fine restaurant serves excellent Portugese dishes in a relaxed setting.
Santiago de Cacém, Alentejo
A colourful chic B&B 10 miles from the best surfers beach. Hip bedrooms and huge suites with stone walls decorated in colourful paint. Lovely infinity pool and garden. Laid-backed, family friendly, and full of options for an active holiday.
A restored farmhouse and gourmet restaurant set on a 450 hectare family-owned wine estate. Contemporary rooms and excellent spa facilities. An ideal choice for foodies, winos and romantics who want to indulge in the latter.