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Heading South

June 28, 2012 - 5:00pm

Comporta, Alentejo

On the other side of the River Tagus you will discover a world of plains, mountains and sea, lit by a benevolent sun that provides yearround warmth. On your journey south you will visit a country “planted by the sea” which will seduce you with its natural charms, riches and people. In the Alentejo you can enjoy that most precious of luxuries, time, and the Algarve will reveal its well-kept secrets..

ROMANTIC ALENTEJO LANDSCAPES

To set out in search of the Alentejo is to encounter a world of unique sensations and experiences, ideal for those who wish only to have time to be happy. This is why we say that “the Alentejo gives you everything”. A land of golden plains, dotted with such historic towns and cities as Évora, Reguengos de Monsaraz and Beja, the Alentejo is even more surprising when you discover the long coastline that paints the region blue.

Monsaraz, AlentejoTravelling through the Alentejo countryside is like entering a new world where time passes more slowly. Take your time to discover the abundance of churches and chapels, forts and monuments.

Get to know the people who have the knowledge and wisdom to reveal the mysteries of the region. Enjoy the powerful tastes of the garlic, olive oil and aromatic herbs that flavour a gastronomic tour, washed down with superb Alentejo wines and sweetened by the sugary regional desserts made from eggs, almonds and pumpkin.

Here and there you will come across mountains or lakes, such as the Alqueva reservoir, that interrupts the serenity of these romantic plains and makes the Alentejo an irreverent region that invites you to embark on adventure sports, off-road challenges, long hikes and even balloon trips.

The coastline is where the Alentejo meets the sea, whose turbulent waves are an irresistible attraction for lovers of extreme sports. Places like Herdade da Comporta are perfect examples of this contemporary Alentejo: a revitalised region that draws life from the union between innovation and the preservation of environmental and cultural identity. A new Alentejo of calm, protected beaches where the traditions of the land and the wild landscapes live in harmony with one another, providing an innovative and sustainable tourist offering.

Almancil, Algarve

THE BLUE SKY OF THE ALGARVE

As you travel further south, the landscape changes. The colours of the Algarve are characterised by the blue hues of the sea, the whiteness of the sand and the green of the mountains.

Ria Formosa, AlgarveIn the lands of the Algarve there are many secrets for the traveller to unveil, hidden gems still waiting to be discovered. More than simply lounging on the beach sunbathing, from the Costa Vicentina to Vila Real de Santo António the sea invites you to experience the thrill of nautical sports and to rise to the challenge of discovering dozens of islands and islets in the Ria Formosa lagoon. The regional cuisine offers you the fresh, salty flavours of the best fish and shellfish in the world, which you will find in ‘cataplanas’ (casseroles) and other colourful dishes.

You should absolutely not miss the cosmopolitan, laid-back atmosphere of thevibrant Algarve coast. Throughout the summer there are thousands of parties and festivals, in particular the attractive tourist and entertainment facilities in destinations such as Vilamoura and Lagos and other seaside resorts.

But life in the Algarve also includes exploring the craggy countryside of the ‘barrocal’, admiring the pink flowers of the almond trees and climbing the green mountains of Monchique, where you will find hills and valleys criss-crossed here and there by streams and rivers.

Algarve tipycal house

In Alcoutim you can discover the rural Algarve of whitewashed houses, where sustainable, ecological tourism blends into the landscape and allows you to enjoy your holidays at the same relaxed, calm pace as the locals.

These two facets of life in the Algarve, the party spirit of the coast and the calm of the countryside, represent the legacy of the peoples who once inhabited this “al-Gharb”, leaving behind them ruins, castles, city walls and other historic monuments and sites for you to explore today.

And when you return, bring with you a sweet memory of the Algarve in the form of the famous sweets which bear the taste of the region’s figs, almonds and carob beans.