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Warm and wide-horizoned, Alentejo's beautiful rural scenery, which changes colour dramatically with the light, is one of the 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. The 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.
What not to miss:
- Discover the picturesque historic centre of Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Stop by the impressive 16th century Amoreira Aqueduct.
- Visit Elvas Fortifications extending five kilometres sat alongside the equally intriguing 18th-century Nossa Senhora da Graça Fort.
- Make a trip to the beautiful hilltop Castle of Marvão.
- Hike through the Arrábida Nature Park.
Although quieter than other areas of Portugal, many of the best places to stay in Alentejo are very popular so do plan ahead and make your booking early.
Remote, Rural and Romantic Alentejo
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. One of the best places to start looking from is Vila Nova de Mil-Fontes.
- Monte de Fornalha is perfect if you're looking for a rustic retreat. Set in amongst the vineyards, this whitewashed farmhouse has been tastefully and traditionally decorated. With three rooms and three suites, as well as a peaceful pool and terrace, this is one of the best places to stay for those who want to escape the rest of the world.
- If you're looking for remote and romantic, the Casa da Ermida de Santa Catarina is a top Hotel Guru choice. Right on a beautiful lake in the spectacular Parque Natural de Serra de Sao. A fair way off the beaten track, yet with plenty to keep you occupied including wine tasting, nature and fabulous walking.
- Pousada de Beja Sao Francisco is 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.
- Monte do Chora Cascas is 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.
Food and wine lovers Alentejo
Vino verde accompanied by sardines and shellfish on the barbecue, Alentejo's cuisine is a pleasant surprise to many. Yes, it's rustic, not fancy, but it's 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.
- Wine enthusiasts should book the Herdade da Malhadinha Nova. This restored farmhouse, and gourmet restaurant is on a 450 hectare, family-owned wine estate. The ten rooms and suites are stylish and modern. The emphasis here is definitely on the food and wine - one of the best places to stay for foodies.
- 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.
- Herdade da Malhadinha Nova is a restored farmhouse and gourmet restaurant set on a 450 hectare family-owned wine estate. Contemporary rooms and excellent spa facilities.
As well as being UNESCO listed, Evora is 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 a wonderful castle and museum, is also worth visiting.
- For five star luxury and high design, book a room in M'Ar de AR Aqueduto. It's has a spa and full restaurant facilities and is right in the heart of Evora.
- Pousada de Loios is a wonderfully luxurious old mansion in the town centre. Romantic opulent rooms and suites have high ceilings, golden decorations, stone floors, creamy bedding and big bath tubs.
The flat countryside makes hiking and biking a pleasure, though the more traditional way of exploring the place is on horseback…
- If your idea of rural includes opportunities to fish, play golf, surf, play tennis, ride a horse - or bike, or birdwatch etc. then Casas do sal is for you. In addition to all the energetic activities, this wonderfully colourful country house is also well located for local markets. Casas do sal has eight rooms, eight suites and four self catering apartments, so it also works well for larger groups.
- Surfers should book Herdade do reguenguinho - this colourfully decorated B&B is only 10 miles from some of the region's best surf beaches. Also close to Sto Andre, so golfers will be happy too.
- If you're looking for great value, we'd recommend the Hotel Convento de Sao Paolo. Once a convent and now a country house hotel set amongst vineyards, the Hotel Convento has plenty of whitewashed-antique-furniture charm. With tennis, walking and biking on offer, this is ideal for active families.
- Herdade da Matinha is a delightful family-run country house surrounded by verdant hills and not far from the beach. Fabulous farm-fresh food and summer lunches are a speciality of the house. Simple but chic rooms with terraces, a swimming pool, gardens, and horses to explore the area.
- Cerca do Sul is 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.
- Casa do Terreiro do Poco is a 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.
- Quinta do Barranco da Estrada is 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.
For a hideaway
- A Serenada Enoturismo is an elegant hotel in the heart of a beautiful winery with cool wine cellar and contemporary bedrooms decorated to complement the natural surroundings.
- Imani Country House is a renovated Portuguese farmhouse replete with every downy comfort. Set in hectares of beautiful gardens, there are two swimming pools and sumptuous suites.
- Tranquility is the order of the day at this heavenly retreat, Sublime Comporta. Minimalist rooms are designed for comfort and relaxation and there is a deluxe wellness centre.
- Estalagem de Monsaraz is a rustic inn perched on a mountain ledge with stunning valley views. Charming rooms and suites have stone floors, wooden furnishings and private balconies.
- Pousada de D Joao IV is a luxurious mansion of five star status. Elegant bedrooms centred around a balustraded garden, there is a swimming pool and excellent traditional cuisine.
- Convento do Espinheiro is a beautiful five star hotel with state of the art facilities. Contemporary classic rooms and suites with private balconies and all the mod cons.
For contemporary style
- Brimming with style and modernity, Villa Extramuros is a delightful retreat in rural Portugal. The whitewashed rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated with modern art.
For an apartment or villa
- If you're travelling with family or a group of friends it may be a better option to book a villa or apartment. For a wide range of properties for all tastes and budgets we recommend you visit our online partner Booking.com.
- For destinations in southern Alentejo the closest airport is Faro in the Algarve (Faro-Beja takes about two hours by car). You can also fly to Lisbon (ideal for Portalegre and Evora) and drive from there.
- The heat is ferocious during summer, especially inland. The best time to travel is therefore after September or in spring (April - May) when it has cooled down and main roads are less crowded with tourists.
- If you plan to hire a car, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in Alentejo
Casa da Ermida de Santa Catarina 6 rooms from $103SANTA 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.Value chicViews - Great views from hotelRemote - Off the beaten track.Secluded setting - For escaping.Recommended by - I Escape
Casa do Terreiro do Poco 6 rooms from $109Borba, Alentejo
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.Families - 2 room family apartment.Sailing - Can be booked nearby.Local markets - Good for local colour.Birdwatching - Good birding near the hotel.Recommended by - I Escape
L'And Vineyards 22 rooms from $171Montemor-o-Novo, Alentejo
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.Sights nearby - Town of Montemor-o-Novo.Secluded setting - For escaping.SpaSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorRecommended by - Small Luxury Hotels
Casas do sal 8 rooms from $109Alcácer 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.Value chicFamiliesLocal markets - Good for local colour.Remote - Off the beaten track.Recommended by - I Escape
Pousada de beja sao francisco 35 rooms from $95Beja, Alentejo
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.Sights nearby - Beja Public Garden, Convento de Nossa Senhora da Conceicao, Beja Regional Museum, Praca da Republica, Beja CastleSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorLocal markets - Good for local colour.Great walks - Good for walkers.
Herdade do reguenguinho 8 rooms from $183Santiago 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.Beach Life - An excellent base for surf enthusiasts. The owner will point you in the right direction to find the best waves.Sights nearby - Explore the pretty Roman Evora a World Heritage town.Surfing - A nearby surf school for all levels.Swimming Pool - Outdoor pool.Recommended by - I Escape
Estalagem de Monsaraz 18 rooms from $69Alentejo
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.Views - Beautiful valley views.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorTraditionalSights nearby - Well located for major sights.
Monte da Fornalha 3 rooms from $103Nr 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.Value chicRomantic - Good for couples.TraditionalGreat walks - Good for walkers.Recommended by - I Escape
Pousada de D Joao IV 39 rooms from $91Vila 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.5* Luxury - Very high service standards.Romantic BreakSights nearby - Castelo de Vila Vicosa and Paco Ducal, Jardim de San Pedro and Castelo Do Alandroal.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor
Hotel Convento de Sao Paolo 16 rooms from $74Redondo, Alentejo
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.FamiliesValue chicViews - Amazing views over the surrounding countrysideSights nearby - Museum on site!
Herdade da Cortesia 30 rooms from $163Alentejo
Herdade da Cortesia enjoys a lovely location - situated in between Maranhão Lake and the charming town of Avis. This sleek 4* boasts understatedly classy accommodation with lovely views of the area, as well as a splendid restaurant and plenty of activities for the whole family to get stuck into.Remote - Off the beaten track.Designer - Uniquely designed interiors.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor
M'Ar de AR Aqueduto 64 rooms from $130Evora
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.5* Luxury - Very high service standards.City StyleSights nearby - Situated in the centre of UNESCO heritage city EvoraSpa
Pousada de Loios 39 rooms from $165Evora
A wonderfully luxurious old mansion in the town centre. Romantic opulent rooms and suites have high ceilings, golden decorations, stone floors, creamy bedding and big bath tubs. Excellent restaurant serving traditional thoroughfare, gardens and swimming pool. A great choice for couples.Romantic BreakLuxuryRomantic - Good for couples.Sights nearby - Gothic Cathedral of Évora and the Temple of Diana.
Pousada Mosteiro do Crato 24 rooms from $115Alentejo
Pousada Mosteiro do Crato is set in a rural 14th-century convent in Alentejo. This classy spot offers sleek and contemporary accommodation featuring plenty of warm hues. Make use of the outdoor pool - perfect for a refreshing dip - or simply meander around the gardens. An upmarket rural escape!Great walks - Hike through the Serra da Penha and make sure to stop off at the wonderful lookout pointBack to Nature - Pousada Mosteiro do Crato is surrounded by gorgeous countrysideSpaSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorRecommended by - Small Luxury Hotels, Tablet
Torre de Palma Wine Hotel 19 rooms from $154Alentejo
Torre de Palma Wine Hotel is set in an historical building dating back to the 14th-century, typical of Alentejo in its whitewashed façade. The boutique modern interiors belie the hotel's exterior and are filled with an array of colourful furnishings and pieces of artwork. A fantastic rural escape!Great walks - Head off to the beautiful Serra De São Mame National Park, 40 minutes awayViews - Great views from hotelRomantic - Good for couples.SpaRecommended by - Sawdays, Tablet
Quinta do Barranco da Estrada 9 rooms from $114Santa 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.Country Escape - Tucked away by a stunning lake boasting lovely walks, plenty of watersports and a variety of wildlife and rare birds.Families - A perfect holiday for all the family with a relaxed vibe and plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained.Birdwatching - The surrounding Cork Oak forests are home to a wide variety of birds and the owner is professional guide.Great walks - Make the most of the lovely walks around the lake and bring Frank's dog for an adventure.Recommended by - Sawdays
Convento do Espinheiro 92 rooms from $203Evora
A beautiful Five Star hotel with state of the art facilities. Contemporary classic rooms and suites with private balconies and all the mod cons. Lovely terraces with views, top of the range spa, kids club, and excellent restaurant. A holiday spot for the luxury traveller.Spa breaks5* Luxury - Very high service standards.Romantic BreakFoodies
Santiago Hotel 32 rooms from $113Alentejo
Santiago Hotel is a stunning contemporary property overlooking Santiago do Cacém. It boasts chic whitewashed rooms with wonderful views of the area. Dine out on the terrace and spend your days lounging by the pool. A charming stay - perfect for countryside exploring or simply relaxing in the sun.Value chic - Santiago Hotel is a lovely stay at great value - what more could you ask for?Cooking classes - There are free weekly workshops at A Terra Restaurant - just turn up and get involved!Great walks - Go hiking through the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa VicentinaSights nearby - Go see the Mirobiga Roman Ruins or head over to Pesseguiero Island
Sublime Comporta 14 rooms from $211Alentejo
Tranquility is the order of the day at this heavenly retreat. Minimalist rooms are designed for comfort and relaxation and are seconded by the hotel's deluxe wellness centre. Relax in the stunning outdoor pool area and in the evening enjoy delicious regional cuisine. A secluded oasis.Beach Life - Nestled in the sleepy fishing village of Comporta in Portugal’s rustic Alentejo, just a short stroll from a beautiful beach.Romantic Break - A secluded and sedate getaway, with daily tasting menu, deluxe spa, stunning views and design accents.Surfing - Right on the Atlantic ocean, it's a good spot for surfing, especially in autumn.Cooking classes - Traditional Portuguese cooking lessons are offered by the head chef.Recommended by - I Escape, Kiwi Collection, Tablet
Villa Extramuros 3 rooms from $143Arraiolos, Alentejo
Brimming with style and modernity, Villa Extramuros is a delightful retreat in rural Portugal. Its whitewashed rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated with modern art. In the evening enjoy Mediterranean cuisine in the villa's restaurant. Perfect for a romantic escape.Country Escape - A minimalist B&B set in rugged countryside, and filled with a contrasting selection of designer features and locally woven rugs.Great walks - There are plenty of lovely walking trails in the surrounding olive groves.Sights nearby - Visit the amazing, unspoilt UNESCO World Heritage Site city of Evora.Romantic - Good for couples.Recommended by - Tablet
Herdade da Matinha 20 rooms from $92Alentejo
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.Wellbeing - Fresh air, good food, and communal dining; it's all about simple pleasures!Organic food - All the ingredients are fresh from the surrounding farm and countryside.Country Escape - This hotel is all about the simple life in the countryside.Views - Great views from hotel
Cerca do Sul 7 rooms from $69Brejão, Alentejo
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.Value chicFamiliesGreat walks - The village of Odeceixe calls for a nice walk through the main square and narrow streets.Sights nearby - Aljezur is 15 minutes away with quite a few attractions.
Imani Country House 7 rooms from $154Guadalupe, Alentejo
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.Garden - Set in two hectares of gardens.Eco - Everything is green.Swimming Pool - 2 swimming pools.Country EscapeRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
Herdade da Malhadinha Nova 10 rooms from $286Beja, Alentejo
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.Foodies - A gourmet menu with fantastic wine.Wine tasting - 450 hectare estate with vineyards.Gourmet - The emphasis is on food and wine.Swimming Pool - Lovely Outdoor PoolRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape
Monte do Chora Cascas 7 rooms from $150Alentejo
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.Romantic BreakFamiliesSights nearby - Caves of Grutas do Escoural.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorRecommended by - I Escape
A Serenada Enoturismo 4 rooms from $103Grândola, Alentejo
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.Wine tasting - The property makes its own wines and can organise a tour and tasting.Swimming Pool - Outdoor infinity pool overlooking vineyardsSurfing - Surf lessons at nearby surf schoolFishing - From October 1st until May 30th