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Just how hot does it get in the Alentejo?

Travel forums are often buzzing with weather — and some voices say that Alentejo is quite warm in summer. But is it? Portugal has a mild temperate climate with wet winters, dry summers. The Alentejo is about 30% of Portugal from the River Tejo to the mountains of the Algarve, and from the Atlantic to the border with Spain. In summer the Alentejo is sunny, warm and quite dry. Temperatures can rise to 90F or 33C inland, but sea breezes keep the coast in the high 70Fs or 20Cs. But, there are three things to consider: There is no humidity; the big open blue sky is often clear of all clouds, which means that as soon as the sun goes down so does the air temperature; and it rarely rains. Nighttime temps can drop as much as 30 degrees in summer.

The hill and plains of the Alentejo can appear purple at sunset, and the cork forests, fields of sunflowers and olives, are only occasionally punctuated by fortified hill towns. To many Portuguese - the Alentejo is a country all its own. The distinct dialect, unique countryside and flora, the local slower pace of life is far from the norm. If you want to see and breathe in a unique place, this is it. And, it has evolved in a way that getting about and exploring is much easier — but the essence is still the same. The rest of the Alentejo is spread out — and often towns are miles apart and the areas between are filled with cork forests, wineries, olive groves and patches of big rounded pines.

So, yes, the Alentejo is warm and dry, but less so than Arizona, Andalusia or North Africa. In fact, with cool nights and no humidity, it is pretty nice. It is intersected with lakes, ocean and rivers — and most hotels and inns offer air conditioning as well as heat.

Don’t be deterred by the heat. Come for the wines, the olives, the hiking, and the beaches — and stay for the people, the landscapes — and not having to worry about losing a day to rain or clouds. Get in the spirit of the place, and just relax!

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