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mark-hodson
Award-winning travel writer
Annabelle Thorpe

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The Alentejo

Our verdict:

Blissful beaches, unspoilt villages and a pace of life that feels deliciously slow, the Alentejo is Portugal's best-kept secret. Explore inland hilltop towns, walk the quiet coastline and take time to discover a region that has remains relatively undisturbed by tourism. An easy hop from Lisbon, it's also ideal for a twin-centre city+countryside break.

Recommended tour operator: Sunvil

Sunvil says

We call the Alentejo “the real Portugal”. It is reminiscent of the Algarve 40 years ago but even more beautiful. The Alentejo may be Portugal’s largest region but it is home to just 5% of the population.

With its pristine coastline of white sand beaches and dramatic cliffs, flower-filled meadows, medieval towns and white-washed villages and superb wineries, the Alentejo is sandwiched between Lisbon and the Algarve. You’ll even find Europe’s largest stone circle – bigger than Stonehenge.

For a special city stay, head to Evora on a four-night luxury break. This medieval walled city is a Unesco World Heritage site and boasts no fewer than 22 churches. We include a hire car from Lisbon airport (75 minutes away) and four nights in the fabulous Convento de Espinheiro hotel, a converted monastery, national monument and one of the finest hotels in Portugal.

On our four-night Alentejo Castle break, you’ll stay in two Pousadas – both of them historic castles converted to low-key, comfortable hotels. A hire car is provided so you can explore as much of the region as you wish, from the vast Lake Alqueva (bigger than Sussex!) to medieval hilltop towns and the beaches.

If you have more time, check out this unique family self-drive holiday, combining a week in a fabulous nature reserve with three nights on Lake Alqueva on board your own motorboat.

The region’s walking routes (known as the Rota Vicentina) are as diverse as they are scenic. We can put together a walking break with characterful hotels en route.

Go further afield on our two-centre self-drive holiday which combines the beauty of the Alentejo and Spain’s little-known Extremadura region.

Discover our full range of short breaks and longer holidays in the Alentejo.

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