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Holidays in the Alentejo

(other):
Item # 421175
Location: Portugal, Alentejo
Town: Alentejo
Name: Alentejo Travel Guide
Sleeps:
Category: Holiday Resorts, Resorts and Destinations
Website: http://www.visitalentejo.pt/
Posted by: Prime Holiday
Description:

The vast undulating, sun baked plains of the Alentejo are characterized by their sparse rural population, rolling grasslands and golden wheat fields interspersed with cork oak and olive groves. The historic town of Évora was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986.

The Alentejo is perhaps one of Portugal's best-kept secrets for people looking to get away from the holiday crowds. Ideal for nature lovers and photographs, especially in the spring, when the region is carpeted with wild flowers.

Successively invaded for over 1,500 years by Romans, Visigoths, Moors, Spaniards and the French, the Alentejo has a rich history. There is a wealth of fortified medieval castles and royal places dating back to Portugal's Golden Age. You can also find Roman temples and even 4,000-year-old megalithic monuments.

The Alentejo's main occupation is agriculture. It was Julius Caesar who introduced large estates devoted to cattle and wheat farming, which are still in existence to this day.

Cork is currently the most important product with the Alentejo producing around half the world's supply. The cork comes from the bark of cork oak trees, which are stripped every few years. However, with the use of plastic corks on the increase, farmers are diversifying and viticulture and horticulture are becoming more important.

The Alentejo has great potential as a tourist destination. With excellent beaches on the west coast and the recent completion of the Alqueva dam creating the largest artificial lake in Europe, developers are beginning to take note. The government is also encouraging tourism in the Alentejo, with plans for high-speed train links to Lisbon, Spain and the Algarve, adding to the new motorways, which have already improved access.

Photo Copyright from Top to Bottom:
Évora - João Paulo
Portalegre - José Manuel
Beja - João Paulo
Monsaraz - Mark Ritsema
Évora - João Paulo
Alqueva - John Copland