The Alentejo is just that bit you drive through to get to the Algarve right?
WRONG! While the warm waters of the Southern coast are the classic choice for holiday goers in Portugal, if you are looking for a quieter scene that still has the scenery, you definitely need to explore the Alentejo.
During our four-day road trip, we fell in love with the region that boasted stunning coastal views, abundant hiking trails, delicious seafood, tranquil towns – and no English karaoke nights in sight. (Sorry Vilamoura).
On the first night we rented a kitsch RV that was parked in the grounds of rural guesthouse Herdade do Freixal (Vila Nova de Milfontes). We were able to enjoy the pool in the day and the hot tub at night, accompanied by a soundtrack of silence.
Every day, we drove out to a different beach and explored the hiking trails. My favourites were Zumbujeira do Mar and Praia da Amália – both had utterly breathtaking views. We spent hours ambling along the walking trails and marvelling at the scenery.
The second place we stayed was near to Odemira, a collection of cabins and treehouses on a Quintal. The owner, Samantha, cooks dinner for her guests each night, giving you the chance to sample local cuisine and chat to the other guests.
There is of course no shortage of fantastic food in the region. My favourite night was a sunset dinner at A Barca Tranquitanas. This cosy restaurant has just a few tables outside which are worth booking for the sunset view. We enjoyed fresh clams and a crisp white wine – a perfect way to end a day of exploring.
On the final night, we splashed out on rural hotel Monte Soalheiro. Situated in quite frankly, the middle of nowhere, it was another ideal location to relax. The incredible views, perfect pool, air conditioned rooms and open drinks bar left us feeling pretty spoiled, and reluctant to leave the Alentejo.
It was amazing to find such tranquility in the height of summer, as well as so many options for unconventional places to stay. And there is still so much more to see! Next time: glamping in Beja? I can’t wait.