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Meet the Alentejo: The Perfect Destination

The world is changing and many are asking: what is the perfect post-COVID destination. Less than 6 hours from the East Coast of the US, Portugal’s Alentejo may be just the place. Wide open plains, unique landscapes and a rich culture, the Alentejo has a sustainable approach to both life and travel. The Alentejo is the perfect off the beaten path destination that is more than worth the journey.
So many people are ready to get back into travel, but the destinations they will seek will be different, due to the impact of the pandemic. Here are a few simple reasons, the Alentejo has everything the next travel audience will want. 

No crowds

Since the time of the Romans, the Alentejo has been below the radar – known for its light, wines, cork, history, cuisine, cycling, beaches, and hiking. With just 500,000 inhabitants, crowds and big hotels with tiny elevators were never part of the equation.

Short flight away

Located just 1 hour from Lisbon, the Alentejo is a direct flight from most airports in North America. So, it has shorter travel times and no layovers making it an easy trip.

Effective Management

All of Europe experienced COVID-19, but Portugal’s travel industry worked with the government to put lots of safety measures in place. Rated one of the top 15 healthcare systems in the world, Portugal has the planning, infrastructure and logistics which helped it get through 2020.

Rest & Relaxation

The Alentejo is a mystical place of gliding plains, rising mountains, and the largest cork forests in the world. The Alentejo’s Cork Country is a sparsely populated region with open horizons where the rhythm of life follows the rhythm of regional songs. And this fertile land produces more than half of the world's total cork supply. Today, the Alentejo remains rural and natural with thousands of miles of cork forest and a variety of wildlife. Its large towns are living museums, still in their ancient walls, with a sense of timelessness that is increasingly difficult to find elsewhere. From the monumental charm of the regional capital of Évora, to the impossibly high castle tower at Beja in the south, history, tradition, and grandeur are everywhere. It is a place with a harmony between nature and humanity and where we can remember so much of what we have forgotten. These lands of cork once bore the likes of Vasco da Gama to explore the world. Today, the world is invited back to discover the Alentejo.

Where is Alentejo Portugal?

The Alentejo is a luminous place of green plains, mountains, wine lands, olive groves and cork forests. The Alentejo is a lightly populated region with open horizons and where life follows the rhythm of the people. 
Making up a 30% of Portugal, this picturesque land is an hour's drive from Lisbon. It is bound to the north by the Tejo River, and by mountains to the Northeast, Spain and the River Guadiana mark the border to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean is the border to the west. The northeast has a series of historic towns, such as Nisa, Castelo de Vide, Marvão, Portalegre and Alter do Chão. Further south, the landscape becomes warmer and flatter. Around Évora (one of the most beautiful cities in Europe), one finds the enchanting castle towns of Monsaraz, Vila Viçosa, Estremoz, and Arraiolos (famed for its handmade tapestries and rugs). To the south, the rolling plains are even less inhabited, the only shade being provided by olive and cork oak trees. A trip to the museum-towns of Alvito, Beja, Serpa and Mértola will offer many adventures.

Forbes said of the region: The Alentejo Is The New Region To Go To In Portugal

While, the NY Times wrote that: A Portugal of Pristine Beaches, Tiny Villages and Little Else. The country’s Alentejo region has the last unspoiled stretch of Atlantic coast in all of southern Europe, with 40 miles of nearly untouched beaches.

How far is Alentejo from Lisbon?

The distance between Lisbon and the Alentejo is 117 miles (189 km). The best way to travel to the Alentejo is by car or train.

Where are the cork trees in Portugal?

Cork is part of the natural wonder that people from the Alentejo have upheld for centuries - it is harvested from a specific layer of bark, on the cork oak tree. This layer, the phellem layer, is composed of a water-repelling material that has unique features: it is impermeable, buoyant, elastic, and fire-resistant. Cork oaks grow in the Montado (cork forest) . In fact, 73% of Portugal’s production of cork comes from this area of the country. 


Also, since cork is now gaining traction in the design world and is a great insulator of both heat, cold, and sound, there’s a hotel in Évora in which the building is clad in cork. When in the Alentejo, you can also go on cork tours to see with your own eyes how it is made - the harvesting of this Alentejo pearl. 

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