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A rural escape to the Alentejo: A house to call your own!

A trip to Portugal’s Alentejo is all about breathtaking landscapes and enjoying the peace of nature. The Alentejo’s ‘montados’ cork forests are home to countless rare species of plants and animals, and largest forests in Southern Europe. The cork oak, or sobreiro, is the soul of the Alentejo, a living landscape that can only be found around the Mediterranean basin. The cork trees extend for miles and their renewable bark is harvested every 9 years, and the tree can live for centuries. The cork oaks provide food for the cattle, which in turn allows the preservation of native species and the continued use of ancient herding techniques.

Here are some unforgettable rural escapes that will lift the weight of the world off your shoulders:

Set on the foothill of the Grândola Mountain Range, the Herdade das Barradas da Serra is a farm spread across 1976 acres and in the same family for five generations.
It is in the middle of a cork oak forest, but only fifteen minutes from the beaches on the Alentejo coast and an hour drive from Lisbon.  This is an authentic and harmonious rural tourism escape.

Herdade do Vau Hotel is set near the Guadiana River near three historic settlements: Beja, Serpa and Mértola. This inn is just outside the National Park do Vale do Guadiana. This peaceful country house was rebuilt in 2012. The winery opened in 2007.

Featuring a swimming pool, a garden and pool views, Agroturismo Xistos is located in Cerca-offering a real farm stay. Nearby is hiking, cycling and fishing. Not far away is Beja and Mértola.

Monte da Estrela Country House & SPA is in the countryside, surrounded by historic villages and close to the Great Lake Alqueva where you can enjoy the river beaches and water sports.
With a kitchen they ensure that guests get in touch with the rich Alentejo cuisine, enjoying a homemade breakfast at the beginning of the day.

Outside of the town of Campo Maior, Monte Alto is owned by a family linked to farming for more than five generations. Here guests can experience the essence of the country life on a farm that grows it’s own food. This country retreat has 8 rooms, and offers hiking, cycling and photography. The property is covered in cork oak and grazing Alentejo black pigs and sheep, all part of sustainable and organic farming. In the garden, local varieties of vegetables thrive. The Farm is next to the Abrilongo Dam, perfect place for a fishing trip, a picnic or a hike along the border with Spain.

Set amid 1,000 acres, Vale do Manantio has wheat fields, olive groves, and river-crossed pastures near the waters of Alqueva Lake. With 14 well appointed rooms, a huge pool looking at Alqueva, and a breathtaking Alentejo view, this is a place to relax. And, in season they offer hunting trips in the region.

Amid the Alentejo region’s three natural parks, two natural reserves, 30 areas under the European Union’s nature protection network Natura 2000, and three Ramsar Sites, the Alentejo has a lot of hiking and cycling opportunities. It is where to go for the back-to-nature feel and to enjoy an understated luxury escape.

The Alentejo is as diverse as the number of animals that call it their home. Characterized by the untouched and preserved beauty of its plains, wildlife sanctuaries, pointed cliffs and pristine beaches, there is another side to the region that allows for a more than blissful observation. 

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