Overview

There’s a very different side to Portugal, and it’s awaiting you on our Alentejo Fly Drive holiday.

Like most visitors to the capital, we love Lisbon – we love the people, the architecture, it’s galleries and museums, markets, restaurants and café bars. But sometimes you want to be out of the city, away from the crowds and the regular tourist hotspots. Cross south of Lisbon’s Tagus River and you’re in Alentejo: you’re ‘beyond the Tejo’, and into a region where rolling plains and rustic rural villages sit side-by-side with fairytale castles and medieval hilltop palaces.

The Romans were the first to tame this land – their regimented fields of wheat, olive farms and terraced vineyards still lie side-by-side with a wilder hotchpotch of ancient cork and chestnut trees. It’s a region that’s rich in history, from its neolithic standing stones and preserved Roman ruins, to its gilded cathedrals and grand aqueducts: the impressive monuments to a golden era, when the Portuguese were the pioneering explorers of Europe’s seaborn Age of Discoveries. For modern-day travellers, there’s a pleasant timelessness to many of its towns, and a unique character to the buildings you’ll see, the cuisine you’ll eat, and in the warm welcome you’ll receive from the people.

The regional capital Evora is a living museum, whose beautiful patchwork architecture reflects the history of Portugal itself – the Roman ‘Diana’s Temple’ sitting in the shadow of the Manueline cathedral, with day-to-day life centred around the 19th century Praca do Giraldo. In Estremoz, the ‘Cidade Branca’ famous for its fine white marble, you’ll sleep in the old palace of King Dinis and Queen Isabel. Their Torre das Tres Coroas tower points the way west to Elvas: the 16th century military stronghold which once protected Portugal’s eastern border: it towering Aqueduto da Amoreira is one of Alentejo’s most striking landmarks.

To the north, Marvao was also tasked with protecting the country from its strategically-important 800m high escarpment – today, it’s a peaceful village where you’ll unwind and admire the sweeping panoramic views across eastern Portugal with Spain beyond. Heading west, you’ll exchange Marvao for one final hilltop castle at Palmela, overlooking the protected Parque Natural da Arrabida – its secluded beaches and crystal clear seas are one of neighbouring Lisbon’s best kept secrets.

Itinerary

You’ll begin your holiday with a direct flight to Lisbon. Our driver will collect you on arrival for the transfer to your overnight hotel in the centre of Lisbon.
You'll collect your hire before drivig east to Evora and your accommodation at the M’ar de Ar Aqueduto Boutique Hotel.
You’ll explore Evora with our resident guide, with visits to the grand Praca do Giraldo, the Templo Romano de Evora, the infamous Capela dos Ossos: the Chapel of Bones. Evora is a living museum, and its beautiful patchwork architecture reflects the history of Portugal itself. Our guide will also introduce you to the traditional cuisine of Alentejo - Farinheira de Estremoz, Queijo de Evora, Pao Alentejano, Tiborna, and Barrigas de Freira: possibly the most well-known, well-loved of Evora’s desert.
You’ll leave Evora, driving north to your new accommodation at the Pousada Castelo Estremoz - the former palace of King Dinis I and sainted Queen Isabel.
Your day’s free to explore Estremoz on foot. Known as the ‘Cicade Branca’ or White City, in reference to the fine marble produced locally, this was once the royal seat of King Dinis I and Queen Isabel, (you’ll see her statue in the Largo de Dom Diniz). It’s also famous within Portugal for its unusual clay figurines and the Berardo Estremoz azulejos tile museum: often voted one of country’s most beautiful museums.
You’ll leave Estremoz today, heading south to your new accommodation in the hilltop town of Marvao. Enroute, you’ll visit the border town of Elvas, famous for its impressive 16th century aqueduct and it’s unique, star-shaped fort, and the Roman ruins at Ammaia.
You’ll explore Marvao on foot: a hilltop fortress town of Marvao and one of the jewels of the Serra de Sao Mamede Natural Park.
You’ll explore Marvao’s larger neighbour, Castelo de Vide, the Coureleiros Megalithic Park, and the 7000-year-old Menhir of Meada.
You’ll leave Marvao, heading west to your new accommodation at the Pousada Castelo Palmelo.
You’ll explore the protected Arrabida natural park and the old industrial city of Setubal, the home of the revered Choco Frito.
You'll return your hire car to the airport before flying home.

From 2400 per person

We can create a tailor-made holiday to suit your budget.

Direct flights from the UK, accommodation in twin/double en-suite rooms on a B&B basis, airport transfers, a full-day guided tour of Evora and a hire car.

Location

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