About this book
Bradt’s Alentejo remains the only standalone guide to this emerging region, providing all the information needed to find that idyllic rural retreat, beachside boutique or romantic hotel set in a converted palace. Restaurants, wines, cafes and cultural sights have all been meticulously chosen and reviewed by the author and there is a wealth of background cultural and historical information to unlock the secrets of the Alentejo’s colourful past and captivating present.
This new second edition has been thoroughly updated to reflect all the most recent developments and includes a new section on castle towns, expanded information on Alandroal and Juromenha, new coverage of Alegrete and the Serra de Sao Mamede and new features on everything from The Siege of Badajoz to Alentejo wild flowers, Portuguese grape varieties and the Rebel Prince of Marvão amongst others. More hotels and tours have also been added, especially around Évora, Monsaraz and Marvão.
The Alentejo is Portugal’s Andalusia – without the crowds – a landscape littered with Moorish monuments, sleepy villages and Crusader castles. The beaches are glorious sweeps of white sand, broken by rocky coves nested by storks, or backed by caramel coloured sandstone cliffs. The towns and villages of the interior appear little-changed since medieval times – clusters of sugar-cube houses tumble down hills from heavy-set castles. There are palaces and there are myriad megalithic monuments – lost in the rolling countryside in the olive groves, or among orange trees and withered cork oaks. Wild boar and lynx roam the extensive forests and heathlands – which offer wonderful hiking and hill walking. And the food… fresh Atlantic bream, sizzling prawns, forest-reared pork and dozens of glorious wines with which to wash it down.
Expert author and fluent Portuguese speaker Alex Robinson has been visiting, writing and photographing Portugal for more than 20 years and in this new edition has evolved his guide to the Alentejo even further to make an ideal companion for a successful trip whatever your interest, age or budget: hikers, wine and food lovers, weekend travellers, history enthusiasts and those looking for a second home are all catered for.
About the author
Alex Robinson has been visiting, writing about and photographing Portugal for more than twenty years. His work has been published in magazines including the Sunday Times, Wanderlust, Budget Travel and Viagem e Turismo – Brazil’s premier travel publication. He is the only British journalist to win Brazil’s prestigious Editora Abril journalism award, is the joint recipient of a US National Magazine Award, a Croatian Golden Pen and a Friends of the Earth International photography award. Alex speaks fluent Portuguese and visits the Alentejo several times a year.
PART ONE GENERAL INFORMATION
Chapter 1 Background Information 3
Geography, Climate, Natural history and conservation, History, Government and politics, Economy, People, Language, Religion, Culture
Chapter 2 Practical Information
When to visit, Highlights, Suggested itineraries, Tourist information, Tour operators, Red tape, Getting there and away, Health, Safety, Women travellers, Travelling with a disability, LGBT travellers, Travelling with kids, What to take, Money, Budgeting, Getting around, Accommodation, Eating and drinking, Public holidays and festivals, Shopping, Sport, Media and communications, Arts and entertainment, Cultural etiquette, Travelling positively
PART TWO THE GUIDE
Chapter 3 Evora and around
History, Getting there and away, Orientation, Getting around, Tourist information, Tour operators, Where to stay, Where to eat and drink, Bars, nightlife and entertainment, Shopping, Other practicalities, What to see and do
Chapter 4 The Southern Alto Alentejo
Tourist information, Getting there and away, Getting around, Tour operators, Elvas, Estremoz, Evoramonte, Redondo, Montemor-o-Novo, Borba, Vila Viçosa, Alandroal and Juromenha, Monsaraz and Reguengos de Monsaraz, Mourao and the Alqueva Lake
Chapter 5 The Northern Alto Alentejo
Tourist information, Getting there and away, Getting around, Tour operators , Arraiolos, Arronches, Parque Natural da Serra de São, Portalegre, Castelo de Vide, Nisa and the far north, Marvão, Alter do Chão and around
Chapter 6 The Alentejo Coast
Tourist information, Getting there and away, Getting around, Tour operators, Alcácer do Sal, Tróia and the beaches of the far north, Grândola, Santiago do Cacém and the central beaches, Vila Nova de Milfontes and the southern coast
Chapter 7 The Baixo Alentejo
Beja, Alvito, Cuba and the road to Évora, Viana do Alentejo, Serpa, Moura, Parque Natural do Vale do Guadiana and Castro Verde Special Protection Area, Castro Verde, Ourique, Almodôvar, Mértola
Appendix 1 Language
Appendix 2 Glossary of Portuguese, Arabic and Technical Terms
Appendix 3 Portuguese Monarchs and Presidents
Appendix 4 Further Information
Recommended reading from National Geographic Traveller