ALENTEJO

Experience


Fronteira - Ecotourism Centre of the Ribeira Grande

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.

The countryside that extends between Fronteira and Monforte is irresistibly beautiful: there are undulating, verdant meadows where sheep and cattle graze; olive plantations, in neat order, climb up the hillsides; the montado (oak woodland and pasture) of cork and holm oak provide a stunning play of light and shade; the vineyards change colour with the seasons; thousands of wild flowers paint the fields as spring bursts forth. This is the valley of the small river called Ribeira Grande, with a vegetation that is dense and leafy, dozens of species of birds, ruins of ancient water mills, and curious vestiges of history such as the Sanctuary-Caves of S. Bento das Lapas, which only those venturing on foot can get to know.

The best discovery activity we can suggest for this area is precisely that – a walking excursion: the "Rota (route) da Ribeira Grande” (PR2, 9 kms, medium level of difficulty, with some steeper inclines) which sets out from and ends at the Centro Ecoturístico da Ribeira Grande, close to Fronteira. At the Tourist Office you will find an information leaflet for the excursion, a guide to the birds of the region (Guia de Observação da Avifauna) and also information to help you get to know the heritage of this beautiful town. On the way to the departure point, walk up to the Igreja (church) da Senhora da Vila Velha, a visit to which is well worthwhile, and fill your eyes with the panorama that can be enjoyed from this viewpoint. And don’t forget to take a packed meal with you; the three or four hours that the trip needs are short enough time for seeing all the places you are going to encounter. On your return, have a rest on the river beach and also inform yourself about the Centro de Observação Astronómica, which is situated in this complex. If you get a chance to observe the night sky, take it; in the Alentejo it is exceptional. If you love walking, there are four more PR signposted excursions. If time is short, you should do at least one more: the "Rota da Serra das Penas” (PR 5, 11 kms, around 3½ hours, level of difficulty, low), an excellent pretext for getting to know the town of Cabeço de Vide, its Historical Centre, its very ancient lanes and paths and the antas (dolmens) da Serra das Penas. While in Cabeço de Vide, visit the Termas da Sulfúrea (sulphur baths), next to the former railway station and today converted into a hotel, where the characteristic theme-based panels of tiles by the artist Jorge Colaço are still conserved.

If you continue in the direction of Vaiamonte, you again meet the Ribeira Grande at the Praia Fluvial da Ponte Romana (Roman bridge river beach).

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From Farm to Table
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Alentejo Museum Guide
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Time to be Happy
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