Lydia Toll

Discover the Alentejo and its singular way of life

The Alentejo is one of the best preserved landscapes and one of the least populated regions of southern Europe. Its vast open country is home both to tradition and contemporary culture, renewing itself as a region that is global but not globalised. The sense of beauty is found almost everywhere, from whitewashed villages and craggy outcrops to undulating plains peppered with cork oak and olive trees. Fairly close to Lisbon, it occupies almost one-third of Portugal. Yet, somehow, it is still a confined region, inhabited by friendly people and a quiet charm.

region map

Regional statistics

Area 31.603 square kilometres
Population 759.000 — 49% men / 51% women
Coastline perimeter 182 kilometres
Alqueva lake 250 square kilometres
Vineyards 220 square kilometres
Wine production 1.342.306 hectolitres
Olive groves 1.500 square kilometres
Cattle 562.000
Pigs 798.000
Sheep 1.613.000

Area highlights

One of Portugal’s most beautifully preserved medieval towns

Shaped by more than twenty centuries of history, this world heritage city began a golden age when the Portuguese kings made convents and royal palaces sprung up among medieval streets and houses.

Alentejo Evora

A hilltop castle with stunning lake views

One of the oldest settlements in southern Portugal, Monsaraz retains the marks of hundreds of years of raging battles, conquerors and revenge, all crammed up in its fortified hilltop castle. Climb up and awe at the view. 


Alqueva Lake:
Where fun by day meets the stars by night

Enjoy your holiday in Alentejo and relax in the shores of the biggest artificial lake in Europe, where water sports and boat rides are available all-year-round. For those loving silence and universe's mysteries, there's an immense clear sky by night to watch the stars.

Alqueva Lake
alentejo menhir

Local crafts

Fine potteries made from local clay and naive hands

As Portugal's largest pottery centre, São Pedro do Corval has been the home to families of master potters who dedicate their life to the craft. Adobe bricks and terracotta objects are handmade, each day, in the workshops that border the main street and are a living proof of the region booming crafts.

Alentejo textiles

Pillows and blankets to warm the cold nights

Each village in the Alentejo has its own distinct pattern for the particularly handsome traditional blankets and pillows hand-loomed in wool. The heritage and contemporary designs of Reguengos de Monsaraz are especially lovely, and are perfect for cosying up with on cool nights.

Bread is the almighty product of this region

The bread of the Alentejo is justly famous, as befits an area that, thanks to its hot summers and vast open spaces, has for centuries been known as the breadbasket of Portugal. Most villages have their own bakery, such as Telheiro, where bread continues to be baked every morning in a wood-burning oven.

Alentejo bread
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