AREA AND POPULATION
The Alentejo occupies an area of 27,000 kms2 and has around 500,000 inhabitants. The population density is low, varying between six and fifty inhabitants per square kilometre. Space and silence never fail you.
Alentejo has a temperate climate, with continental and Mediterranean characteristics. The summers are hot and dry, the winters wet and cold, and in spring and autumn temperatures are delightful, with moderate highs and lows.
The average lowest temperature in the coldest months, December and January, is 6ºC, and the average high in July and August, the hottest months, is 30ºC. These averages include, in winter, days with temperatures around or a bit below 0ºC and, in the hottest summers, the mercury can climb above 40ºC. The differences in daily temperature in summer are significant, sometimes in the order of 15º – 20º. In the coastal areas, the temperatures and variations are modified and made more agreeable by the influence of the sea.
In winter you need to wrap up well and in summer wear fresh, light clothing with a jacket for the evening. Sunglasses and a good sunblock are important.
HOW TO GET AROUND
People with their own transport will have no difficulty in moving around and orientating themselves within the Alentejo. Cyclists should be aware that there are no cycle lanes or tracks except for small sections close to urban centres. There is a good network of roads, with rapid transit along the principal routes: motorways (signalled by "A”) and main roads (signalled by "IP”). If you use the motorways you will need to pay tolls. Once you are in the Region, you should choose to travel by secondary and "municipal” roads. The latter are the best, since they are simply the oldest asphalted routes through the countryside and carry little traffic, thus offering the best means of enjoying the landscape, of getting to know traditional ways of living and working, of coming across the most hidden cultural heritage and of making contact with a people who are naturally courteous and welcoming.
When planning to travel by public transport, you should note that the timetables are designed to cater for residents and are not always best suited for the purposes of tourist travel. Information: www.rede-expresso.pt; www.cp.pt; www.rodalentejo.pt
There are taxi services in almost every locality.
24-HOUR HEALTH PROVISION
In the case of an accident, phone the national emergency services number: 112
Citizens of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, who belong to the social security system in their own countries, should have with them a European Health Insurance Card.
There is always a pharmacy open 24 hours in each of the towns and cities that are the administrative centres of concelhos. Information about these is posted in all of the pharmacies. In some shopping centres there are Áreas de Saúde ("health areas”) where some medicaments can be bought.
Weekdays: 9.00/9.30 – 19.00/19.30
Lunchtime closure: 13.00 – 15.00
Saturdays: 9.00/9.30 – 13.00/13.30
Some establishments do not close at lunchtime and remain open on Saturday afternoons.
The hunting season begins on 15th August and finishes at the end of February. In March and April, in hunting reserves for tourists and for members, partridge are released and there are wild-boar stands. Before setting out on a nature excursion at this time, those travelling independently should check at Tourist Offices whether there is any possible hunting activity in the area.