Alentejo X On a hazy morning | part two

In the first post about Alentejo I provided you with an overal view of the region. In this post I will give you an impression of the possibilities of this area, by showing an overview of the places I’ve visited.

Towns and cities:

Flor da Rosa
The location of our first hotel, Pousada do Crato. A charming little village where I took a lot of pictures during sunrise!

Marvão
The highlight of my visit! A beautiful little medieval village situated on the top of a mountain (843 meters). The view is amazing and you can can stroll through the narrow streets with white houses until you reach the castle.

Estremoz
A town known for its marble and the 13th-century hilltop castle (check out the view from the tower!). For a modern style lunch you can visit Mercearia do Gadanha.

Evora
A beautiful city, classified by UNESCO as a world heritage site. There are a lot of historic sites you can visit; like the Roman Temple, the Igreja de São Francisco and the Cathedral of Santa Maria. It’s also great to just walk around in the old streets of the city center.

Nature / active:

Serra de São Mamede National Park
This mountain range in Portalegre district is great for walking or horse riding. We went on a horse riding and carriage trip with an amazing team who are part of Vetal, based in a brand new building including stables in Portalegre. If you are interested in walking tours I would recommend Vagar Walkingtours and Landescape walks to show you around!

Azenhas da Seda
A beautiful, green oasis situated near a little river. Azenhas da Seda offers a differend kind of water activities like canoeing, hydrospeed and hike and swim. This location also hosts a glamping and it's a perfect location for hiking tours. I really loved this hidden treasure!

Culture:

Museum Atoleiros 1384
The interpretation centre dedicated to the Battle of Atoleiros, which was fought on 6 April 1384, a short distance from the town of Fronteira. It’s a very interesting place to vist and a must see for people who are into architecture. The architect of the building is Gonçalo Byrne.

Ducal Palace of Vila Viçosa
A palace with a stunning facade, almost completely made out of marble! Don’t forget to check out the neighbouring historic Pousada including their gardens.

Hotels:
There are a lot of different options to stay in the area like the luxurious Pousadas (traditional or historic hotels), situated at amazing locations and the smaller, more intimate hotels, often run by a family. 

Pousada Convento Arraiolos
A very luxurious historic Pousada near the village of  Arraiolos.

Pousada Mosteiro do Crato
A beautiful, luxurious Pousada located at a castellated monastery in the village of Flor da Rosa. The rooms overlook the endless fields of rural Alentejo and you can see the mountains in the distance. 

Hotel Santo Antonio
A centrally located hotel and a must visit for the amazing view of the sunrise from the breakfast room! And don’t forget to watch the sunset over the village from the hilltop next to the hotel. 

Cabeças do Borrego
I would love to come back to this small, intimate hotel, owned by the family Afonso. The estate has all organic vineyards, olive groves, vegetable gardens, all kinds of native fruit trees and a chicken coop. For breakfast and dinner they serve home made organic food and wines, all from their own garden!

Ecorkhotel
We enjoyed a great dinner in this eco friendly design hotel. It’s the first cork hotel in the world (they used cork for the exterior of the building as acoustic and thermic isolation). I was really impressed by the concept and architecture of this hotel. Next time I will definitely book a room!

Hotel Vip Villa Rica
We stayed here for the last night of the tour. It's the perfect (business) hotel when you have to catch an early flight. Lisbon airport is only ten minutes away.

On our Instagram @onahazymorning you can check #alentejoXonahazymorning for more images!

Many thanks to Visit Portugal, Visit Alentejo and TAP Portugal for inviting me on this beautiful and interesting trip!

You can find more information about Portugal and Alentejo at:

http://www.visitalentejo.pt/en/

www.visitportugal.com

Alentejo X On a hazy morning | part one

Last week I got the opportunity to visit Alentejo, a very large region east of Lisbon. The region has borders with Beira Baixa in the North, Spain in the East and Algarve in the South. Alentejo also has a coastal area facing the Atlantic Ocean and it’s the least populated region of Portugal.

During my trip we explored the inland part of the Alentejo, a historic region with beautiful villages surrounded by empty plains, rolling hills and mountains, all covered with cork, oak, olive trees or vineyards. It’s a peaceful and quiet area with very friendly inhabitants, perfectly suitable for small scale tourism. An interesting fact is that a lot of young people from Lisbon and other big cities move to Alentejo because they prefer to live in this quiet, rural region and grow their own vegetables and fruit in their gardens. A trend you currently see in a lot of countries all over the world.

As a vegetarian I was wondering if there were enough options to eat, but the food was amazing and very diverse (lots of vegetables, local cheeses, pasta, potatoes, bread, salads and wonderful local olive oils and wines!). Alentejo has a very dry climate and it can get very hot in the summer, so the best time to travel is during spring and fall. During my visit in October the temperature was about 24 degrees, perfect for a road trip!  

Visit Alentejo Portugal fall 2015 - On a hazy morning

The trip was an interesting combination of culture, nature, villages and small cities. While driving through the area I enjoyed the views over the fields and hills. It’s very interesting to see so many cork trees, approximately one third of all cork trees grow in Portugal (mainly in Alentejo) and it’s the world's most important area for the growing of cork. It’s nice to see where the cork in your wine bottle comes from. Did you know it takes 9 years to grow new cork after it’s removed from the tree?

The next post about Alentejo will be about all the places I’ve visited, so keep an eye on our Journal!

Thanks to Visit Portugal, Visit Alentejo and TAP Portugal for inviting me on this beautiful and interesting trip! You can find more information about Portugal and Alentejo at: 
http://www.visitalentejo.pt/en/
www.visitportugal.com

On our Instagram @onahazymorning you can check #alentejoXonahazymorning for more images!

You can read more about my trip in the second post

Andres


Alentejo X On a hazy morning | deel één

Vorige week kreeg ik de mogelijkheid om Alentejo te bezoeken, een erg grote regio ten oosten van Lisabon. Het gebied grenst aan Beira Baixa in het noorden, Spanje in het oosten en de Algarve in het zuiden. Alentejo geeft ook een kusttreek aan de Atlantische Oceaan en is een van de meest dunbevolkte gebieden van Portugal.

Ik heb tijdens deze reis het binnenland van de regio bezocht, een gebied met veel historie en prachtige plaatsjes omringd door lege vlakten, heuvels en bergen met kurk, eik, olijfbomen en wijngaarden. Het is een rustig gebied met erg vriendelijke inwoners, ingesteld op kleinschalig toerisme. Een interessante ontwikkeling is dat er op dit moment veel jongeren vanuit Lissabon en andere grote steden verhuizen naar het rustige, landelijke Alentejo. Een trend die je nu veel ziet in verschillende landen.

Als vegetariër was ik erg benieuwd naar de mogelijkheden, maar het eten was fantastisch en divers (veel groenten, kazen, pasta, aardappel, brood, salades en fantastische olijfolie en wijnen uit de streek). Alentejo heeft een droog klimaat en het kan erg heet worden in de zomer. De beste tijd om het gebied te bezoeken is het voor- of najaar. Tijdens mijn bezoek was het gemiddeld 24 graden, een perfecte temperatuur voor een road trip!

De reis was een interessante combinatie van cultuur, natuur, dorpjes en kleine steden. Tijdens het rijden door het landschap heb ik genoten van het uitzicht over de velden en heuvels. Erg interessant om zoveel kurkbomen bij elkaar te zien. Ongeveer een derde van alle kurkbomen groeit in Portugal (voornamelijk in Alentejo) en het is het belangrijkste gebied ter wereld waar kurk groeit. Leuk om te zien waar de kurk uit je fles wijn vandaag komt! Wist je dat het 9 jaar duurt voordat de kurk opnieuw volgroeid is nadat het is verwijderd van de boomstam?

De volgende post over Alentejo gaat in op de plaatsen en hotels die ik heb bezocht!

Bedankt Visit Portugal, Visit Alentejo en TAP Portugal voor de uitnodiging om deze mooie en interessante reis te maken! Je kan meer informatie over Portugal en Alentejo vinden via: 
http://www.visitalentejo.pt/en/
www.visitportugal.com

Op onze Instagram @onahazymorning kan je via #alentejoXonahazymorning meer foto's bekijken!

Je kan meer over mijn reis lezen in de tweede post!

Andres