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.

Reasons You Need to Visit Alentejo Portugal

Alentejo is the hidden gem of Portugal. This under-the-radar region is often referred to as the new Tuscany.  With its pastoral landscape, it includes endless olive trees, cork trees, vineyards and wheat fields. Sounds a bit like Tuscany doesn’t it? Much of the population makes a living from agriculture. The natural setting is not overrun by tourists or tourism. And, 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 enjoy nature. And that is exactly what I did!

This is your guide to Alentejo. Reasons you need to visit Alentejo Portugal and everything you might need to know to plan your next trip here. Let’s go to Alentejo!

Where is Alentejo Portugal

Let’s start first with where you can find Alentejo. This area stretches across a third of central and southern Portugal between the Algarve and Lisboa regions. Portugal’s largest region lies southeast of the Tagus River, bound on the east by the Spanish border and on the southwest by the Atlantic Ocean.

Best Places to Visit in Alentejo Portugal


Arraiolos is a village famous for its tapestry rugs. These rugs date back to the 16th century and 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 whitewashed buildings with bright gold trim. Looming above this small authentic town is the Castle of Arraiolos or Paço dos Alcaides. This Roman-Gothic castle was built in the 14th century and inside the walls, you’ll find a 16th-century Igreja do Salvador church.


Beja, the main town in Baixo Alentejo, offers visitors lots of interesting and impressive historical sites to explore. An incredible hilltop castle with views of the sea and wheat fields is worth a visit alone. Visit on a Saturday as it’s market day, and the town is a buzz with activity. A charming square, with pretty architecture and great shops, makes this one town to add to your Alentejo visit.


Elvas is a town heavily influenced by Spain due to its close proximity to the border. Due to centuries-old fears of being attacked, a series of fortifications and walls were built to protect the town. A castle and two fortresses are the top things to see in Elvas.


Estremoz is one of the ‘white cities’ that you recognize from a distance, which simply 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. This beautiful walled city features a castle, several historical churches, a fountain and other historical monuments.


Evora, the capital city of the Alentejo region, is one of the best places to visit in Alentejo Portugal. This beautifully historic city is a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its well-preserved old town center and having so many significant monuments. Things to do in Evora Portugal:

  • Diana Temple, a roman ruins
  • Evora Chapel of Bones
  • Aqueduto da Água de Prata, a 16th century Aquaduct
  • Churches – Sao Francisco, Santo Antao, Graca

Read more: Check out my guide to visiting Evora with all of the top things to do


The tiny hilltop village of Marvao offers beautiful views out over the Serra de Sao Mamede mountain range and surrounding countryside. That’s it, but it is ever worth it! This is quickly becoming a popular place to visit, so hurry now and go see it before the secret is out.


The hilltop village of Monsaraz is very picturesque. Nothing much to see or do, other than an imposing castle and the charm of the whitewashed houses. It’s the view of the surrounding countryside that more than makes up for it.


The fortified town of Moura is home to many historical sights and cultural landmarks, like an old castle now in ruins, and beautiful old churches and buildings oozing with charm. Lots of cozy cafes and restaurants are tucked away in the Moorish quarter making this a delightful place to spend a couple of hours.

Map of Alentejo Portugal

After highlighting 8 places to visit in Alentejo here’s how your itinerary might take shape. Make Evora (or a nearby area) your home base, one of the days go south, and the other head north to make the most of your Alentejo visit.

Going South Heading North
Evora to Beja (80 km)
Beja to Moura (52 km)
Moura to Monsaraz (50 km)
Monsaraz to Evora (53 km)
Evora to Arraiolos (20 km)
Arraiolos to Estremoz (40 km)
Estremoz to Elvas (40 km)
Elvas to Marvao (77 km)
Marvao to Evora (122 km)

Discover the Alentejo Coast

The Algarve gets all the attention as offering the best beaches in Portugal. Alentejo, as the hidden gem of Portugal, means there are a lot of top beaches in Alentejo that are under the radar. As you discover the Alentejo coast, here are the top beaches in Alentejo.

In the area of Grandola, visit these:

  • Troia Gale Beach is best for calm waters and being close to Serra Da Arrabida Nature Park
  • Comporta Beach is best known for being close to the Trioia Peninsula and Sado Estuary Nature Park
  • Carvalhal Beach is popular with surfers and kite surfers
  • Melides Beach is known as the biggest beach in Portugal and offers lots of amenities and water activities (paragliding, surfing)

Go to Sines for these two beaches:

  • São Torpes Beach is known as being the best beach to surf in Alentejo
  • Samoqueira Beach is the best secluded beach in Alentejo

In the Odemira area, visit these top beaches:

  • Zambujeira do Mar Beach is known as the most picturesque beach with its soaring cliffs
  • Furnas Beach is best for its gorgeous location combining a visit to the coastal town of Vila Nova de Milfontes and Vicentine Coast Natural Park
  • Almograve Beach is thought to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Alentejo with both sand dunes and rocky cliffs

Visit Alentejo Nature Parks

The South West Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park is known as the best preserved stretch of European coastline, covering over 100 km, from Porto Covo in the Alentejo to Burgau in the Algarve. The landscape is marked by steep cliffs overlooking long stretches of sand. For nature enthusiasts, there are rare bird sightings and marine life that won’t be found anywhere else.

Enjoy Alentejo Wine

Alentejo is well-known for its wine region. This hot, dry area is highly respected for its red wine. The most popular wine tour is found in Evora, Adega da Cartuxa. Take a guided tour of the wine cellar, and food and wine tasting of some of the best Alentejo wines and regional products. 

For architecture lovers, a visit to Adega Mayor is a must. Architect Siza Vieira created a modern horizontal whitewashed building to house the award-winning wines.

Visit Heradade do Esporao, one of the oldest wineries in Alentejo. Add this tour when you visit the small town of Monsaraz.

Guided Tours in Alentejo

Monsaraz and Wine guided tour from Évora. Leaving Evora, why not seize the opportunity to go back in time and explore the medieval village of Monsaraz? Interact with locals at a family owned pottery. Take part in a wine tasting with unique wines. Click here for more information.

Megalithic and Cork Forest guided tour from Évora. Drive across the Montado, the cork oak forest. Discover the possible meanings of mysterious 7,000-year-old megalithic monuments. Click here for more information.

From Évora: Arraiolos Culture and Wine Guided Tour. Discover the wine and culture of the town of Arraiolos on a guided trip. Meet rugs artisans, enjoy breathtaking views from the medieval hilltop castle, and visit a local winery to try their wines. Click here for more information.

Alentejo: Cork Forest Safari with Optional Lunch. Enjoy this 2 hour Jeep Tour exploring the traditional cork forests of the Alentejo. Your local guide will give you full explanations during the tour, as you discover the in’s out’s of the cork world. Click here for more information.

Where to Stay in Alentejo Portugal

Our home base to explore the Alentejo region was at Villa Extramuros situated in the countryside near the village of Arraiolos. The modern architectural design of the exterior complements 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 by the owners François and Jean-Christophe. There are 5 rooms (our room was #4) each with its own terrace and it includes a yummy full breakfast in the morning.

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. Staying at Villa Extramuros was one of our Alentejo highlights.

As a holidaymaker…

We didn’t realize just how beautiful this region was until we got here. There is so much to explore – from its traditional towns to its beaches and natural parks. Travel to Alentejo and give yourself lots of days to explore. Hopefully, this list of what to do in Alentejo Portugal helps your list of things to do.

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