In this magnificent landscape it is nature that holds sway: jewel-like carpets of wild flowers clothe every meadow, creating a lush paradise for walkers who can find shelter and shade under the dark leaves of thousands of cork and holm oak trees.
Every season charms its way across the fields, but it is during springtime that lavender and chamomile fill the air with heady scents and colours, providing a scenery rich in pastures for all roaming cattle and shelter for partridges and wild rabbits.
The sky is the limit in Alqueva's Dark Sky Reserve, an area covering more than 3.000 square kilometres surrounding the biggest artificial lake in Europe. The excellent atmospheric conditions and clarity make it possible for visitors to enjoy stargazing for most of the year. The night sky seems to have more sky in the world's first “Starlight Tourism Destination”. This is, in fact, one of the best of all places to watch the sky and the stars at night.
São Lourenço do Barrocal boasts its own unique beef herd of pedigree cows, whose origins lie in the native Alentejanas, crossed with specially imported French Salers and Limousin bulls. Moving about the blanketed countryside, the herd is part of the landscape, supplying our farm to table restaurant and the whole working estate with meat characterized by its depth of flavour.
In the Alentejo, birds are the best barometer of the changing seasons. In April, it’s the appearance of the first swallow hatchlings that herald the coming of spring. Here you can find and watch all kinds of birds that come and go like the great bustard, now a protected species, after having been hunted almost to extinction in the nineteenth century.
Storks are probably the most recent permanent natural phenomenon. Whereas in the past they would leave in the Winter, these days higher temperatures have allowed them to stay all year round in these lands.