countryside and beach
Pick-up / Drop-off – Lisbon
SOUTH-COUNTRYSIDE AND BEACH, is an itinerary of beach and leisure, with cultural and gastronomic enhances of an unveiled inland Alentejo. Starting at the magnificent Lisbon, this itinerary goes through some of the most beautiful coastal landscapes of the West Coast, however, the trip inland, is a nice contrast to those looking for more than just beach. You´ll find a genuine Portugal, with marked traditions and stunning scenery.
Day to visit Lisbon. Our suggestion is to start by an overview of downtown in the Parque Eduardo VII, coming down to Marquês de Pombal Square and Avenida da Liberdade. Head downtown and find Restauradores Square and Rossio. Take a view of the Tagus River and Praça do Comércio, climb up to São Jorge Castle. From up there the view is amazing all the way to the South Bend where you can see Cristo Rei Statue and 25th of April Bridge. Through Alfama and some other “bairros”, you will find that Lisbon is a mix of old costumes and traditions, and new trendy shops and restaurants, amazing night life and a breathtaking cultural environment.
Later head to the Belém quarter, and go back 500 years in time. This was the starting point to sail away and discover new lands and traditions. From the Belém Tower, an old defense fortress, to the Monastery of the Jerónimos, built in the 16th Century.
But a visit to Belém isn`t complete if you don`t try the famous pastry, Pastéis de Belém. You will love them, add a bit of cinnamon and powder sugar, tastes better.
After visiting Lisbon, head towards Almada, the left bank of the Tagus river, also known as the South bank, over the April 25th of April bridge (same construction has the Golden Gate in San Francisco). Head towards Caparica; with 20kms of sandy beaches, it is ideal for both, swimmers and surfers.
1st overnight – PE Fonte da Telha
GPS: 38.56704801320902, -9.193090795492594
Towards South you´ll find Sesimbra, with a clear and calm sea, ideal for swimming, and also for the food, since it´s a fisherman’s village.
Then, head to Palmela village, with superb views of the district of Setúbal and where you can visit the Castle, a national monument, now converted into a charming hotel. This region is also known for its wines, especially the famous “Moscatel” of Setúbal, and for its pastries, the “Tortas de Azeitão”.
Known as the “Costa Azul” (Blue Coast) and with its own microclimate and Mediterranean landscape, the hills of Arrábida reach an altitude of 503 meters, and provide challenging nature walks and amazing views. From the top of the mountain, one can see also the peninsula of Tróia, your next destination (you can go by ferry from Setúbal).
On the way to Sines, one of the main commercial ports of the country, you drive through Carvalhal. There are over 40 kms of desert and wild beaches.
In the next stop, in the village of Porto Covo, you will find Praia Grande, one of the most sought after by locals and tourists. Located near the north exit of the city. With good access, spacious and sheltered by cliffs, it is one of the most crowded during the summer, with blue flag, and a good surf spot. Among other beaches in the area are the Espingardeiro beach, the Pequena beach, the Buizinhos beach and the bay of Porto Covo.
2nd overnight – PE Porto Côvo
GPS: 37.8523817340743, -8.789037730516043
Heading South will undergo Vila Nova de Milfontes, located in the estuary of the Mira river, which gives shelter to several species of birds and marine life, and Zambujeira do Mar, where in August is held the Southwest Festival, the largest music festival during the summer.
Next stop Castro Verde, a small agricultural town that owes its name to an old prehistoric Castro. You should visit Castro Verde on the 3rd Sunday of October to visit the agricultural and craft fair that dates back to the 17th century. It is very well-known and every year attracts thousands of visitors. Also, very interesting to see is the Basilica, covered from top to bottom with magnificent hand painted tiles. The panels of the upper section of the basilica, depict scenes of the battle of Ourique, a town 14 kms away, where Afonso D. Henriques, routed the Moors and was proclaimed King of Portugal.
Then visit Mértola village, an important river port from the 11th century, rising it´s castle in a dominant position on one of the Guadiana river stretch. Its importance was such, that during a short period in the 11th century was the capital of a small independent Islamic Emirate.
After, you´ll spend the night at the river beach of Tapada Grande – Mina de São Domingos. The beach is simply wonderful. It is equipped with a cafe/restaurant with terrace and picnic tables right near the beach, so you don´t have to walk far. The overnight parking for Motorhomes is 100 meters from the beach and has very good condition.
3rd overnight – PE-TP Praia Fluvial Mina de São Domingos – Tapada Grande
GPS: 37.672309, -7.504258
The first stop will be on the Alqueva Lake, the largest artificial lake in Western Europe. It was constructed for the purpose of irrigation of the entire region and production of electricity, in addition to other complementary activities.
Today, the Alqueva Lake is used for boating, water sports and it is an ideal area for Stargazing, because of its total absence of light pollution. In its margins, we can visit places like Luz, Mourão, Monsaraz, among others.
Monsaraz, known locally as Ninho das Águias (Eagles’ Nest) – is perched high above the border plains, a tiny village nestled into fortified walls close to the Spanish border. The views from the walls are magnificent: to the north and west, you survey a typically flat Alentejo plain of vineyards and olive groves, while to the south and east a watery expanse glitters far below the village, part of Europe’s largest artificial reservoir behind the dam at Alqueva.
The village does its best to attract visitors with a series of little galleries, craft shops and restaurants, but it’s really the castle, the higgledy-piggledy streets and stunning views that keep people coming.
Four thousand years ago, the region around Monsaraz was an important centre of megalithic culture, and various dolmens (covered temples or tombs), menhirs (standing stones) and stone circles survive today. An hour and a half’s driving circuit takes in most of these, and if you throw in lunch and a vineyard visit at nearby Reguengos that’s a good day out. Don’t miss a small village called São Pedro do Corval, masters of traditional hand painted pottery.
The final site for this day is the city of Évora. Its historical, well preserved center, is one of Portugal richest in terms of monuments, which gave the name of the City Museum, and since 1986, declared World Heritage by UNESCO. The city is surrounded by a wall, protecting its cultural heritage. The local gastronomy and wineries are reasons why the city is called the “Alentejo Capital“.
4th overnight – PE Évora
GPS: 38.576423313822275, -7.914415569482458
First stop of the day, Estremoz, lies in the center of a district rich in marble quarries – so much so that the material is used extensively in the most commonplace surroundings, as you’ll see when you wander its marble-clad streets and squares. It was once an important border settlement where Dom Dinis, an early monarch who set about fortifying Portugal’s frontiers, chose to locate his hilltop palace. Meanwhile, down in the lower town, the vast main square known as the Rossio – properly, the Rossio Marquês de Pombal – has long been the site of one of Portugal’s finest markets, held every Saturday. It starts and finishes early, so it pays to stay over in town on Friday night if you can.
The attractive hilltop town of Elvas, was once one of Portugal’s mightiest frontier posts, strategically positioned just 15km from Spanish Badajoz, to the east across the Guadiana River. Its star-shaped walls and outlying forts are among the best-preserved military fortifications in Europe, a factor that subsequently helped gain the town UNESCO World Heritage status. Its military significance long past, and down to a population of around 25,000, it looks largely to tourism these days – Spanish day-trippers pop over to climb the steep cobbled streets and sit in the restored central square, while the vibrant Monday market (held on alternate weeks) is a big attraction, held just outside town behind the aqueduct. Otherwise, the town’s main annual bash is its week-long Festa de São Mateus, starting on September 20 and including the largest procession in southern Portugal.
By the time, you’ve negotiated the winding road up to Marvão you’re ready for sensational panoramas, and the remote border outpost doesn’t disappoint. From the dramatically sited rocky outcrop high above the undulating mountain, there are unbeatable views, while within a complete circuit of seventeenth-century walls lies a higgledy-piggledy town of fewer than a thousand residents, inhabiting neat houses with granite windows and pitched red roofs.
5th overnight – PE Marvão
GPS: 39.3941, -7.37347
First stop of the day, the small town of Castelo de Vide, throws up one of the nicest surprises in the Alentejo. A castle rises up above a fairy-tale townscape of bright white houses, while steep cobbled streets and placid squares are lined with well-watered pots of geraniums, tumbling house plants and two-meter-high sunflowers. Mineral springs pepper the local hills and the town is full of public fountains in gleaming squares and shaded gardens. It’s one of those places that begs an aimless, meandering stroll, and it’s very easy to find you’ve spent a couple of days here doing not very much at all quite happily.
Now head towards Nisa. Considered by an American magazine as one of the best in the world, the Cheese of Nisa is the most recognized and appreciated cheese of the Alentejo. Cured, semi-hard and a color between white and yellow, of handicraft production, it is made with raw milk of ewes of the local Merina Branca breed, coagulated with thistle and follows a process of slow draining of the curd and subsequent maturation, done in three distinct phases, during 45 days.
Situated in the borderline of Ribatejo and Alentejo regions, Ponte de Sôr is an essentially agricultural council. Cattle breeding, olive and cork production provide important revenues. It is one of the less populated zones of Central and South Portugal. It is possible to travel many miles without seeing one or two farms. Located in the middle of Sôr river stream, Montargil dam, mainly conceived for agricultural purposes, has created a vast reservoir. Nowadays, it is an area ideal for leisure, fishing and nautical sports that attracts many visitors.
Montargil is a true waterside resort where you can participate in waterskiing, sailing, windsurfing, rowing, trips in a hovercraft and sports fishing. The Maranhão reservoir, today provided with a leisure complex integrated within the new municipal Camping Park, is yet one more Alentejo location intimately associated with heritage. Overlooking the lake rises the town of Avis, with a historical centre which certainly deserves a visit.
6th overnight – PE Fluviário de Mora
GPS: 38.95424, -8.10757
In order to better understand the Portuguese Wines, visit the vineyards, the palaces, the cellars, the gardens, the art, and experience wine tasting on some the best wineries of the different regions. We´ll book your visit.
ÉVORA – Tour and wine tasting at Adega da Cartuxa
EA – includes visit to the Cellars and Vineyard and wine tasting – 1 wine selection by the Eugénio de Almeida Foundation.
Price: € 5.00 p/person;
Cartuxa – includes visit to the Cellars and Vineyard and wine tasting – 3 wine selection by the Eugénio de Almeida Foundation.
Price: € 10.00 p/ person;
São Bruno – includes visit to the Cellars and Vineyard and wine tasting – 3 wine selection by the client, of all the Eugénio de Almeida Foundation range (except Pêra-Manca Red). Price: € 20.00 p/ person (*);
Sto. Inácio de Loyola – includes visit to the Cellars and Vineyard and wine tasting – 5 wine selection by the client, of all the Eugénio de Almeida Foundation range (except Pêra-Manca Red). Price: € 30.00 p/ person (*);
(*) According to wine availability.
ESPORÃO – Tour and wine tasting at Adega – Herdade do Esporão
Located in the heart of the Alentejo and part of the Wine Route, the doors at Herdade do Esporão are open to visitors, every day.
Visit the vineyards, the kitchen gardens and ampelographic field; travel back in time, discovering the history of Defesa do Esporão and the objects found at the Perdigões Archaeological Complex. Or simply take a break to try regional products, to unveil the secrets of how we make our wines on a visit to the wineries and cellars, and to challenge your senses with a tasting at the wine bar.
Guided tour of the Wineries and Cellars with classic tasting of 2 wines, Defesa White e Defesa Red
Price: € 6.00 p/ person;
Guided tour of Wineries and Cellars with tasting of 4 wines: Alentejo vs Douro Selection – Defesa Red and Esporão Reserve Red versus Assobio Red and Murças Reserve.
Price: € 15.00 p/ person
Guided tour of Wineries and Cellars with tasting of 4 wines: Varietals vs Blends – tutored tasting of one single varietal white and one single varietal red versus Defesa White and 4 Castas.
Price: € 15.00 p/ person
Low Season: November, December, January e February.
Medium Season: October, March, April e May.
High Season: June e September.
Peak Season: July e August.
The prices are per Campervan and include:
- Campervan delivery at Lisbon Airport;
- Detailed explanation of how the Campervan operates;
- Information about the different activities and experiences at the client’s disposal;
- 6 nights of Campervan rental, with capacity for 5 people (we recommend 4);
- 5 seats with safety belts
- 2 double beds (length 188 cm – width 120 cm), 1 removable single bed (length 185 cm – width 70 cm)
- Interior Bathroom Specs: washbasin / hot water shower / chemical toilet
- Kitchen Specs: sink / 2 burner gas stove / 80 litre fridge / table for 5 people / complete kitchen utensils
- Rotating front seats, 160 litres clean water tank, 100 litres dark water tank, Electricity 12V / 220V
- First Aid Kit, Fire extinguisher, Security safe, Many storage compartments
- 2 Bed Kits for 2 (pillows, duvets and cover sheets)
- 4 Towel Kits for 4 (shower and hand towels)
- Outdoor Table and Seats
- 4 Relax Chairs
- WI-FI Router (4GB included)).
- 24/7 roadside assistance and 24/7 phone assistance;
- ULTRA Insurance Protection, that includes Windows Insurance, Passengers Insurance, Drive Outside Portugal, Unlimited Kilometers and allows Up to 5 Drivers;
- Campervan return at Lisbon Airport;
SOUTH – COUNTRYSIDE AND BEACH itinerary, contemplates free overnight locations, chosen by our team and unique experiences for the client. However, if you prefer to overnight in a campsite, here are our suggestions:
1st overnight – CAMPSITE – Parque Orbitur Costa de Caparica
2nd overnight – CAMPSITE – Parque Campismo Porto Covo
3rd overnight – CAMPSITE – PE-TP Praia Fluvial Mina de São Domingos (no Campsite around the area)
4th overnight – CAMPSITE – Parque de Campismo de Évora
5th overnight – CAMPSITE – Parque Campismo Quinta do Pomarinho
6th overnight – CAMPSITE – Parque Orbitur Montargil
Campsites overnight have an average additional price of 48,00€ (daily average, Campervan plus 4pax)
Have fun during the holidays and take the opportunity to experience some of the activities that we offer you. We can book for you; just show up at the scheduled date and hour and enjoy the most.
|Skydive at Évora||starts at 149,00€|
|Surf Lessons at Caparica and Melides||starts at 55,00€|
|Ballooning at Coruche and Beja||starts at 150,00€|
|Water Sports at Alqueva||starts at 30,00€|
The prices of the activities are per person.