The Alentejo region of Portugal is often referred to as the new Tuscany. With its pastoral landscape, it includes endless olive trees, cork trees, vineyards and wheat fields. This area stretches across two-thirds of central and southern Portugal between the Algarve and Lisboa regions.
Portugal

Let’s Go to the Alentejo Region in Portugal!

The Alentejo region of Portugal is often referred to as the new Tuscany.  With its pastoral landscape, it includes endless olive trees, cork trees, vineyards and wheat fields. Much of the population make a living from agriculture. This area stretches across two-thirds of central and southern Portugal between the Algarve and Lisboa regions. I immediately fell in love with its simple and tranquil way of life. There is nothing touristy about it. The whole point of coming to this unpopulated area is to slow down and to enjoy nature. And that, is exactly what we did!

The Alentejo region of Portugal is often referred to as the new Tuscany. With its pastoral landscape, it includes endless olive trees, cork trees, vineyards and wheat fields.

Where we stayed

Our home base for the next few days was at Villa Extramuros, situated in the countryside. As you drive onto the property you’ll pass by rows of cork and olive trees and a herd of grazing sheep. You can’t help but be mesmerized by the modern white house juxtaposed against the bright blue sky and natural surroundings. The only sounds you hear are the birdsongs and the clanging of bells that hang around the neck of the sheep. It is lovely. 

Stay at Villa Extramuros in the Alentejo region of Portugal

We are welcomed by owners François and Jean-Christophe, who provide a quick tour of their home. The modern architectural design of the exterior compliments the minimalist contemporary style of the interior. It includes an extensive collection of furniture and decorative pieces from all the great artists and designers of the 20th century. Virtually every collected piece has been carefully chosen and placed.

Guests can enjoy a few common areas large enough to offer a great deal of privacy. A large L-shaped lounge and separate dining areas. Each of the five guest rooms have their own large private terrace. Our room, #4, offers a perfect view of the local town of Arraiolos. Lastly, they provide a delicious full breakfast that sets you up for a day of exploring. 

Villa Extramuros, an award winning architectural designed property found in the Alentejo region of Portugal. The modern design of the exterior compliments the minimalist contemporary style of the interior which includes an extensive collection of furniture and decorative pieces from all the great artists and designers of the 20th century.
Villa Extramuros, an award winning architectural designed property found in the Alentejo region of Portugal. The modern design of the exterior compliments the minimalist contemporary style of the interior which includes an extensive collection of furniture and decorative pieces from all the great artists and designers of the 20th century.
Stay at Villa Extramuros in the Alentejo region of Portugal
Guests of Villa Extramuros have access to several exterior spaces. Terraces, lounge areas, and a courtyard. As well, an incredible infinity pool that overlooks the peaceful countryside. 

Confession time…staying at Villa Extramuros was our initial draw to this region. And, if you love and appreciate interior design, Villa Extramuros needs to be at the top of your list of places to stay.

The Nearby Towns

Arraiolos

Arraiolos is a small town just north of Évora in the Alentejo region of Portugal.

Arraiolos is a small town famous for its tapestry rugs. These rugs date back to the 16th century. Their designs were heavily influenced by Persian and Turkish carpets. In the center of the town, you will find many shops and a museum dedicated to this art. This is a traditional town, full of whitewash buildings with bright gold trim.

Arraiolos is a small town just north of Évora in the Alentejo region of Portugal.

Looming above the small town is the Castle of Arraiolos, also known as Paço dos Alcaides. This Roman-Gothic castle was built in the 14th century on the top of the hill. 

Arraiolos is a small town just north of Évora in the Alentejo region of Portugal.
The position of the castle overlooks the white houses of the town. It is one of the few in the world to have a circular architecture making this a interesting site.
Arraiolos is a small town just north of Évora in the Alentejo region of Portugal.
Inside the walls, you'll find a 16th century Igreja do Salvador (church).

Driving distance from Villa Extramuros to Arraiolos is less than 5 minutes.

Évora

Évora, the capital city of the Alentejo region in Portugal. This beautifully historic city is an UNESCO World Heritage site due to its well-preserved old town center and having so many significant monuments.

Évora, the capital city of the Alentejo region is a must visit. This beautifully historic city is an UNESCO World Heritage site due to its well-preserved old town center and having so many significant monuments. It remained undamaged by the great earthquake of 1755.

This lively city features a roman temple, medieval walls, several cathedrals and many more historical landmarks. Also its stunning architecture. The low whitewash houses, decorated with painted tiles, mustard-yellow trim, wrought-iron balconies and red tile rooftops. And, not to mention the fine selection of eateries. 

Praca do Giraldo is the main square in Evora Portugal
The main and busiest square was named after the 12th century hero of the Reconquista Gerald the Fearless, who defeated the Moors and expelled them after 450 years of rule in the city. The public square was where the public executions took place, mainly during the period of the Inquisition.
Évora, the capital city of the Alentejo region in Portugal. This beautifully historic city is an UNESCO World Heritage site due to its well-preserved old town center and having so many significant monuments.
This 12th century cathedral is an example of Gothic architecture, known for having asymmetrical towers. It took a half a century to be built, and was later added to throughout the Middle Ages. As such, it dominates the city, and is almost always visual when looking at the skyline of this city.

Driving distance from Villa Extramuros to Évora is 15 minutes.

Estremoz

Estremoz is one of the ‘white cities’ that you recognize from a distance. The name of ‘white city’ refers to the colour of the houses, as well as, the deposits of white marble. Estremoz marble is known worldwide, and this city is the second largest exporter of it. 

15 Best Things to Do in Estremoz (Portugal) - The Crazy TouristThis walled city features a castle, several historical churches, a fountain and other historical monuments. What is most interesting is the divide of two well defined areas. The lower and commercial area is called ‘vila nova’ or new village. This sits on the flat part of the city. The other, ‘cidade velha’ or old city, sits above by the castle. This offers a  winding web of streets and alleyways. Both are charming. 

Driving distance from Villa Extramuros to Estremoz is 30 minutes.

Towns a bit farther

Other towns worth visiting in the Alentejo region, that are 1 hour away from Villa Extramuros are:  

  1. Castelo de Vide – a traditional hilltop village close to the Spanish boarder
  2. Marvão – a scenic hilltop village full of whitewash buildings features a castle and roman ruins
  3. Elvas – a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for being a fortified town is close to the Spanish boarder
  4. Monsaraz – a charming and picturesque village nestled on a hill  

As a holidaymaker…

We didn’t realize just how beautiful this region was until we got here. There is so much to offer – from traditional towns to wonderful wineries – that it definitely needs more time to explore. 

The Alentejo region of Portugal is often referred to as the new Tuscany. With its pastoral landscape, it includes endless olive trees, cork trees, vineyards and wheat fields. Much of the population make a living from agriculture. This area stretches across two-thirds of central and southern Portugal between the Algarve and Lisboa regions.
The Alentejo region of Portugal is often referred to as the new Tuscany. With its pastoral landscape, it includes endless olive trees, cork trees, vineyards and wheat fields. Much of the population make a living from agriculture. This area stretches across two-thirds of central and southern Portugal between the Algarve and Lisboa regions.

37 Comments

  • Lynne

    I’ve head wonderful things about the Alentejo region. The place you stayed looks cool, but I must admit, I like old homes versus modern when in Europe!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Yes, the region completely surprised me and inspired me to return. Agree, normally we stay at places that are older as well, but this was an architectural gem that was too good to pass up. It is nice to experience a bit of both. They did a wonderful job at using materials local to the area, like a lot of cork, which was interesting design element. Thanks for commenting!

  • Andy Strote

    Nice post. We were in the region two years ago. Originally had planned to stay in Evora, but ended up in Estremoz which we loved. One of the few places with an old castle on the hilltop, but rather than a scenic ruin, it’s a 5 star hotel with lots of stores and a church around it. We had no idea until we went up for a visit. Lots to see in Portugal aside from Lisbon and Porto.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Agree, there is lots to see outside those two cities, and I want to explore more. Especially the town you stayed in. It is on our list to explore more of this region. Thank you kindly for commenting.

  • Jeremy

    Omg, it is so pretty ! Love the cobblestone paths, and the stone walls ruins ! And that villa and the pool are perfect ! You must share how I can book a stay in that villa !

  • Marvi

    Never heard much of Alentejo before, but it does sound like a relaxing place to visit with its historical landmarks. Three days does seem pretty short to visit all those interesting towns. Villa Extramuros looks pretty great too. The bit and pieces of accessories in the room and the common area looks really interesting. I love the pool and how it is surrounded by trees!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Yes, never enough time to visit an entire region. But it was enough of a taste to know we wanted to return and explore further. Thank you for commenting.

  • Neha

    Wow, I am humbled to say that I didn’t even know about the Alentejo region till I read about it here. It does look lovely, and just the kind of place I would like to visit. I love the whole cobblestone and whitewash look of the village in the picture. Gosh, my bucket list grows longer every day!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      I was in the same place as you before we arrived, having not known much of this region. But it is definitely an area I want to return to and explore further. It was full of history, tradition and so much diversity of landscape that it really is a hidden gem. Hopefully you get to travel there one day soon. Thanks for commenting. Happy Travels!

  • Leah

    Villa Extramuros looks like something straight from the TV show ‘Grand Designs’… if you haven’t seen it, you’ll love it. I used to go to Portugal a lot, but never heard of this area it looks beautiful!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Leah, Villa Extramuros is certainly award-winning architectural design! This area is a hidden gem, and hopefully it stays that way!

  • Candy

    I’ve never heard of this area either and it was so interesting to see how modern the architecture was. I also really like the decor! I love going to these lesser known areas as it’s more relaxing and it’s usually when you can really soak in the culture and the views 🙂

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Agreed! I really hope this area stays hidden. There is much to be discovered beyond the well-known cities.

  • Mohana and Aninda

    The Alentejo region looks like a dream…I could be a farmer living in the countryside with a herd of sheep <3 The cities look attractive too. The architecture and the tile work…all are very appealing.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Glad that you enjoyed the photos, and it for a moment in time allowed you to daydream just a bit as what it might be like to live in that region. Thanks for commenting.

  • Ketki

    I had never really heard about Alentejo Region and I kind of hope less people find about it, because it is too pretty! Loved your experience.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      I agree. It is a hidden gem. And, I too would like it a secret. Hope you get to visit it again one day.

  • Mei and Kerstin

    We’ve visited Lisbon two years ago and really loved it (Sintra too). Algarve is on our bucket list, so next time we go to Portugal we’ll make sure to visit Alentejo Region too, and especially Evora! Thanks for sharing this, we love your photos!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you for commenting. I am glad to hear that this inspired you to possibly add it to future travel plans.

  • Nicola

    This seems like such a beautiful and authentic region to travel to. We’ve only been to Lisbon in Portugal and that was quite some time ago now, it really makes us realise how much we need to return and also how much more there is to see!

  • Riana Ang-Canning

    Thank you so much for introducing me to this region of Portugal I knew nothing about! I absolutely loved visiting Tuscany last year and would love to recreate that vibe in Portugal. I’m so into the idea of a tranquil setting and little towns – and few tourists! My partner and I are wanting to spend a month in Portugal as part of our “baby trip” (travels during parental leave when we have a baby one day) and this might be the perfect area!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      You are most welcome Riana. I know you’ll love it, as it is similar to Tuscany- just far less tourists. I hope you add it to your baby moon trip.

  • Emma

    Your accommodation looks so very different from anywhere else in the area. But I kinda love it. That said, the historic sites around look amazing. That church! What a lovely region to explore

    • The.Holidaymaker

      I completely agree with you on the place we stayed at. The modern architecture does still blend in, but that’s way it was so fantastic.

  • Linda (LD Holland)

    We spent 4 weeks in Portugal but sadly missed the Alentejo region. But from your post, it is clear we need to fix this when we return to Portugal. How could we miss a region referred to as the new Tuscany! A region that is less touristy will draw us to explore all these charming small towns like a local.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Oh that’s too bad you missed exploring this region. It was definitely a highlight of our entire trip. We felt we needed more time, and look forward to returning to explore it more. Hopefully you get a chance to as well.

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