ALENTEJO

Experience


In Campo Branco

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.

If you enjoy great open spaces and are dedicated to birdwatching, Campo Branco will be a place of choice for you. This area is the most important area of pseudosteppe or cereal-growing steppe in Portugal, resulting in the extensive cultivation of dry-land cereals in rotation with fallow land. On the maintenance of this ecosystem depends the existence of many species of birds that are at risk, such as the Great Bustard, the Little Bustard, the Lesser Kestrel, the Bittern, the Black-bellied Sandgrouse, the Crane and Montagu’s Harrier. The importance of the zone was the reason it was made part of the Natura 2000 Network.

As well as the pseudosteppe, other types of landscape can be observed, together with a range of fauna. Observation is today made much easier by the signposting of six walking excursions, supported by the brochure "Percursos Pedestres do Campo Branco”, published by the Liga para a Protecção da Natureza (LPN – League for the Protection of Nature).

How should the visitor proceed? If you would like to take part in an organised programme of birdwatching (or "birding”), you need to book a visit, by telephone, fax or email, at the Centro de Educação Ambiental de Vale Gonçalinho – the heart of the estates that the LPN acquired within the ambit of the Sustainable Castro Verde programme – giving at least eight days’ notice. If you have your own equipment and would like to walk through the area independently, just go to the Castro Verde Tourist Office and ask for the booklet for the excursions (www.cm-castroverde.pt). Even without booking, you can visit the Centro de Vale Gonçalinho and do Percurso (excursion) 6, "Vale Gonçalinho – Pereiras”. As far as the best time for these walks is concerned, you can do almost all of them throughout the year, except for July to September, when it is too hot. If you would like to see the nuptial rites of the male Great Bustards, you should choose March and April.

Whatever your programme, visit the heritage and savour the particular atmosphere of the town of Castro Verde.

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Time to be Happy
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Alentejo Museum Guide
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