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Gay Travel to Europe: Why the Alentejo is Rural, Welcoming and Wonderful!

A lot has been said about how welcoming Portugal is to gay travelers these days. In 2019, ILGA-Europe put Portugal in the top 10 of Europe because of progressive LGBTQ rights legislation. In 2019 Portugal was also named the world's best LGBTQ-friendly travel destination. 

But what about the Alentejo? A rural and traditional place, just about 1 hour from Lisbon. Will gay travelers feel welcome here? To answer that you need to look at the people of the Alentejo. Portuguese are a very welcoming people, with no history of xenophobic attitudes or beliefs. In fact, it is the rare case in Europe where far right politics have gained little traction. 

But the Alentejo is a special place. And, quite out of sync with rural regions across Europe. The Alentejo is actually the most left-leaning, progressive part of the nation, and many towns have mayors from the Coligação Democrática Unitária party, an environmentalist, pro-labor and left coalition. While the Alentejo is by far not the most religious part of the country, it is a place where equality and social justice are at the top of the agenda. 

Yes, the Alentejo is rural and sparsely populated, but its people have a modern and welcoming outlook on life. As result, people there welcome everyone for who they are. So, if you’re looking for a place where tranquility abounds, the Alentejo is it. This is a constant feeling you get when you find yourself surrounded by the Alentejo’s endless landscapes, its unique pace of life, and its green plains. It is a land of simplicity where nature takes the leading role and the past is everywhere. Visitors who take the time to explore the Alentejo will discover special cultures, a stunning Atlantic coastline, and the most peaceful villages you can imagine. The feeling starts when driving along the country roads, surrounded by the extensive groves of cork oaks, olive fields, and vineyards. On the western coastline, surfing on empty beaches or visiting the ones surrounded by dunes speak to the calmness of Alentejo.

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