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Aspects of the Alentejo (1100G)

Alcácer do Sal
Guided Tour Aspects Of The Alentejo (1100G) - Évora
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Description
GUIDED TOUR
Alcácer do Sal, Évora and Portalegre

The Alentejo (literally "land beyond the Tagus") is a warm, dry, mostly gentle region north of the Algarve that has been ignored by all but a few. 

Alentejo is a sparsely populated region with open horizons, where the rhythm of life follows the idle sound of regional songs. 

It is perfect for walking and experiencing an unforgettable adventure: a land of tradition and heritage.

This tour will take us along the remarkable traces of ancient cultures: dolmens and cromlechs. Roman and Arab vestiges mingling with the most recent signs of Christianity of which the numerous medieval castles are but one example.

We will walk alongside vast wheat-fields and vineyards where intense green and golden colours characterise the plains and where, in the springtime, the fields are carpeted with millions of wildflowers to delight the eyes.

We see vast fields dotted with cork or olive trees with herds of grazing animals, cows, sheep or sometimes pigs usually enjoying the shade of the trees.

The villages with their whitewashed houses dazzle the eyes.

The people here are very proud of their heritage and they preserve the ancient buildings and also the ancient practices. This is a region that has a very rich handicraft tradition – pottery, embroideries, hand-painted furniture, wrought ironworks, etc.

The local gastronomy is varied and delicious and perfectly matches the famous local wines. 

This is a tour where the quietness and silence of the endless landscapes invite us to share nature in a rural environment and socialize with the people that live and work there. 

This is a spectacular tour showing us three very different facets of this remarkable region and it takes us to the most ancient vestiges of our history and heritage.

We start our discovery in Alcácer do Sal. Alcácer combines a beautiful setting on the margins of the Rio Sado with striking scenery and a wealth of historic remains. 

The town’s name comes from the Moorish al qasr meaning ‘the castle’, and the “sal” refers to the age-old production of salt in this area.

Another industry, typical of the coastal Alentejo region of Portugal, is the production of the“white gold of Alcácer”, pine nuts, as evidenced by the vast plantations of stone pines.

Moving inland we travel to the heart of the Alentejo, to the picturesque walled city of Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Here we find an intriguing mix of architecture from various eras dating back to before Roman times and charming streets full of many cafés and attractive restaurants serving local Alentejan cuisine. 

In the surrounding countryside, wild spring flowers are a great accompaniment to our excellent walks. 

Our final centre is in Portalegre, the gateway to the eastern Alentejo.

An absolutely glorious region of genuine beauty, real bucolic life, great landscapes and people very proud of their heritage.

Sited at the foot of the São Mamede mountain range and Natural Park, the region contains a wealth of historical monuments and awe-inspiring views. Here we will find fantastic food and wines, ancient traditions, beautiful handicrafts as well as superb walking amongst striking scenery.
Itinerary
WEEK’S PROGRAM
Each day breakfast will be taken in the Hotel before leaving for the day’s program.
We will usually leave the Hotel between 9.00 am and 9.30am.
On our return to the Hotel each day we will have time to relax and change before dinner which is usually taken at 7.30pm.
Each evening the guide will give a preview of the next day’s program.
Day’s program is subject to alteration due to weather and local conditions.

DAY 1
Arrival in Lisbon
We'll meet you at Lisbon airport and bring you to the Hotel.
Overnight in Alcácer do Sal.

DAY 2
Senhor dos Mártires Walk
Today we do a circular walk taking in the town and the surrounding countryside covered with the sweet pines that are the “white gold” of Alcácer, the verdant rice paddies & the abundant birdlife on the banks of the Sado river. 
Overnight in Alcácer do Sal.

DAY 3
Santa Catarina Walk
A gentle and varied walk up the valley of Santa Catarina. A mix tracks and paths, past rice paddies and fields and through the cork oak woodlands for which the area is so famous. We walk through the typical village of Santa Catarina on our way to the impressive dam of Pego do Altar, built to enable the irrigation of the rice crops. 
Overnight in Alcácer do Sal.

DAY 4
Carrasqueira Walk and Transfer to Évora
Our morning walk to Carrasqueira before transferring to Évora takes us to the Porto Palafítico (palaphytic – elevated on stilts) da Carrasqueira, a curious fishing port with a labyrinthine system of piers constructed on props sunk into the mud. A stunning walk with pleasant views over the estuary of the Rio Sado.
Transfer to Évora. Orientation walk around the city. Free time.
Overnight in Évora.

DAY 5
Valverde to Nossa Senhora da Tourega
The Ribeira de Valverde passes through the village of Valverde, a typical Alentejo village.
We walk alongside the river through shady woodland winding our way amongst cork oaks to the beautiful lake at Nossa Senhora da Tourega where we will be able to visit the ruins of an ancient Roman villa and bath complex.
Overnight in Évora.

DAY 6
Nossa Senhora de Machede Walk
We will walk through open, rolling Alentejo countryside to the very ancient and typical Alentejo village of Nossa Senhora de Machede enjoying along the way the beautiful wooded areas bordering the Rio Degebe.
Overnight in Évora.

DAY 7
Estremoz and Portalegre
Free morning and early lunch in Évora then travel to visit Estremoz on our way to Portalegre, our third centre. Orientation walk in Portalegre.
Overnight in Portalegre.

DAY 8
Ribeira de Nisa Walk
From the village of Monte Carvalho, the path leads us eastwards to meet the ribeira (stream) which we follow through a small gorge on our way to the plateau with magnificent views beyond. Along lanes, through farmland, we descend through cork oak woodland, beautiful meadows and stunning countryside back to the village.
Overnight in Portalegre.

DAY 9
Carreiras to Senhora da Penha and to Castelo de Vide
Walk from the village of Carreiras to Senhora da Penha on an old Roman road. 
We climb to Senhora da Penha, a little chapel on the top of a hill, for amazing views over Castelo de Vide with its castle and its rows of whitewashed houses.
We then walk along narrow lanes, bordered by cork trees or dry stone walls and descend to Castelo de Vide, another beautiful medieval town, nestled in the cool mountains of the Natural Park of São Mamede, among dense olive groves and chestnut trees.
It is a charming border town complete with impressive ramparts, ruined castle, panoramic views and natural spring waters.
Overnight in Portalegre.

DAY 10
Marvão Walk & visit
Perched on a granite crag of the São Mamede Mountains, it was recently considered one of the "1000 Places to see before you Die", by the New York Times. It stands out for its imposing Castle, the stunning views and the nearby Neolithic and Roman remains, like the Roman road, the Roman Bridge and the ruins of Ammaia. 
Marvão is a small medieval town on the top of the hill, surrounded by walls and with a majestic castle that has defended the population from the Spanish armies throughout history. We can admire the spectacular views all around and into Spain and then walk along a medieval narrow road with ancient stone walls.
Overnight in Portalegre

Day 11
Departure
Free time until transfer from Portalegre to Lisbon Airport.
The Hotels
  • Hotel Cegonha** (or similar)
Located in Alcácer do Sal, Cegonha offers a central location overlooking the old town. The air-conditioned rooms are large and include elegant dark-wood furnishings. Each includes a private bathroom, a wardrobe and the suites offer a seating area with a sofa. There is free Wi-Fi access.
  • Hotel Dom Fernando *** (or similar)
Located in the World Heritage city of Évora, a few minutes’ walk from the historic centre, this Hotel features a restaurant and an outdoor pool. It offers air-conditioned rooms overlooking the pool or the city. All rooms are decorated in a modern style with a touch of traditional Alentejo detail and are equipped with satellite TV, radio and telephone.
  • Hotel José Régio**** (or similar)
Featuring free Wi-Fi throughout the property, Hotel José Régio is situated in Portalegre,100 m from the Townhall. All rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. You will find a kettle in the room. Extras include bathrobes and slippers.
What's Included
Accommodation:
  • 10 nights in a twin room (two, three and four stars hotels)
  • Single supplement applied in single rooms
Guide:
  • All guided tours
Meals:
  • 10 Dinners taken in local restaurants with drinks included. We are always able to cater for vegetarian or other special diets (Lunches can be bought from local shops)
  • 10 buffet breakfasts at the Hotel.
Transport:
  • Transfers from Lisboa airport at 12 a.m on the first day
  • Transfers from the Hotel to Lisboa airport at 12 a.m. on last day
  • All land travel (as outlined)
  • Dedicated driver and guide
Not Included
  • Any services not listed as included
  • Flights to and from Portugal 
  • Meals, tips/gratuities, baggage or personal insurance (except as outlined)
  • Admission fees to castles & attractions or events (except as outlined)
  • Personal expenses
  • Supplements
  • Guide services inside monuments
More Info
The land only option allows you to book your own transport to and from the holiday. You will normally meet the group at the arrival airport at 12 a.m as long as you arrive there no later than the group. Similarly, on the way home, you can return to the airport with the group as long as your departure time is no earlier than that of the group.

This guided tour already includes a transfer departing from Lisboa airport at 12 a.m. on arrival day and returning to Lisboa Airport at 12 a.m. on last day.

If none of this option suits you, please add to your booking a transfer that does. You can also rent a car.

To this tour, we only accept transfers departing from Lisboa Airport or Lisboa.

Departure dates:
  • ON REQUEST