The Alentejo has a clear vocation for Activity Tourism and for Nature Tourism. The beauty of the landscape invites excursions on foot, on mountain bikes and on horseback, and the country lanes known as estradas municipais, despite the absence of cycle lanes, are excellent for cycling-tourism.
On the rivers, the reservoirs and the coast, many water-based activities are possible. The beaches are of the highest quality. And the sky, with this fantastic climate, is ideal for parachuting, paragliding, ballooning and microlight flights.
Spend some of your leisure hours at the Parque Ecológico do Gameiro and visit the Mora Fluviarium and a programme for people of all ages. Access is from Cabeção, a land of small adegas (wineries) and good wine producers. (www.fluviariomora.pt)
The Park includes the Gameiro reservoir, where you can bathe, take a trip in a pedalo or paddle a canoe for a stretch of around 3 kilometres. The equipment can be hired on the spot.
For sports fishing, the Raia river has a concession zone of almost 10 kilometres with two stretches; one on the left bank, with space for 200 rods and the other on the right, with 65. There is an abundance of fish species: black bass, barbel, boce, bordalo (a species of goldfish), carp, goldfish, sun perch, pimpão (another species of goldfish) and eels.
The Fluviarium, an interesting freshwater aquarium, offers us "Excursion along a River”, a live, informative exhibition about river fauna, from the source to the mouth. Side by side and at a steady pace, between rocky outcrops and sandy riverbanks, we make our way, learning about the mysterious inhabitants of the riverbed, of the pools, of the streams, of the waterfalls, of the reservoirs, of the migration zones, of the estuary, of the mouth. At the end of this trip, comes a surprise: the habitat of the agile and amusing otters, who have as their privileged viewing place the glass wall of the restaurant, which provides one of the boundaries to their enclosure.
Montargil and Maranhão
Montargil is a true waterside resort where you can participate in waterskiing, sailing, windsurfing, rowing, trips in a hovercraft and sports fishing. The Maranhão reservoir, today provided with a leisure complex integrated within the new municipal Camping Park, is yet one more Alentejan location intimately associated with heritage. Overlooking the lake rises the town of Avis, with a historical centre which certainly deserves a visit.
By car or bicycle, the simplest and most beautiful excursion to make in the area is Avis – Ervedal – Figueira and Barros – Benavila. In Benavila, if you go in the direction of Alter do Chão, you will discover, soon after crossing the first bridge, the simple chapel of Senhora de Entre Águas.