Things to see & do in
Alentejo, Portugal

Sparsely populated, with a landscape and culture that feel as though they’ve gone virtually untouched for centuries, the Alentejo region is where many Portuguese people retreat to in summer when the cities get too hot. This is the ‘bread basket’ of Portugal. You’re going to find Alentejo queijo (cheese), presunto (ham) and wine on the menu all over the country, and the traditional cork industry also depends heavily on the this region’s fertile soils.
Here in southern Portugal you’ll explore halcyon rural landscapes, ears of wheat rustling in the breeze thick with lavender and eucalyptus; gnarled olive groves and vineyards and shepherds minding their flocks, then on the coast hidden beaches with golden dunes and rolling surf, and charismatic fishing villages. As you would expect from a largely agricultural area, the terrain is generally quite flat until you get to the sea when it becomes steeper and rugged.

Alentejo vacation ideas

Family vacations in Alentejo

Alentejo is more laidback than the Algarve with its evergreen and water-gobbling golf courses and over-busy beaches, but it’s no less fun for families. And given that it’s beloved by Portuguese families – many adults can instantly recall their own happy childhood memories of Alentejo – it’s a pretty safe bet yours will too. You might stay in a traditional whitewashed resort on the Atlantic coast, with surfing, canoeing and stand up paddle boarding on the itinerary; plus cycling, walking and even abseiling if you go inland. And those sunsets...

Cycling vacations

No surprises that Alentejo is a superb destination for cycling vacations, though probably give it a swerve in late July and August. Don’t expect anything too strenuous; cycling here is all about soaking up the magnificent countryside and coastal scenery, but there are more ambitious routes out there if you prefer. Cycling trips here are usually tailor made and self guided, giving you independence within an achievable framework, and the option to build in relaxation days where you want. Daily distances range from 30-60km, and you can expect all the support you need, including luggage transfers and comprehensive route maps.

Walking vacations

Walking vacations in Alentejo often focus on the Rota Vicentina, a sprawling network of trails. The most well known and arguably most picturesque is the Fishermen’s Trail that hugs the coast for 125km over five sections. These are usually point-to-point, self guided trips that see you staying in pre-booked guesthouses and B&Bs. You may also take a route that dips in and out of the Algarve, which borders Alentejo, and this is also one of the finest places in Europe for bird watching, which is easily combined with a walking vacation.

Our top Portugal Vacation

Alentejo & Algarve self guided hiking vacation, Portugal

Alentejo & Algarve self guided hiking vacation, Portugal

Independent coastal walking vacations in the Alentejo Coast

From 480 8 days ex flights
Tailor made:
This independent vacation is available any day of the year except August and the last two weeks of July.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Portugal or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

When to visit Alentejo

The best time to visit Alentejo is generally during spring or autumn. Expect a typically Mediterranean climate. Summer temperatures can easily hit 40°C, though it’s cooler on the coast, while the winters tend to be mild but can be quite wet. Late summer and autumn are particularly lovely when the orchards and the vines are swelling with their bounty.
Portugal is easier for vegetarians than other European countries. Fresh, wholesome food.
- D.H. Dharmavasita
“Well organised and pitched at an ideal level for our 8, 11 & 13 year old boys... We had not joined a group vacation like this before so don't know whether we were just lucky with our fellow travelers but we felt it added hugely to the enjoyment of the activities to be with like-minded families.” – Tanya in a review of her Alentejo coast family activity vacation

“Fabulous. Stages were the right length, comfortable but varied hotels. Lovely people. The trail is spectacular and I’m pleased we started from the beginning and saw some of the inland. Portugal is easier for vegetarians than other European countries. Fresh, wholesome food.” – D.H. Dharmavasita in a review of a self guided walking vacation in Portugal
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: Jocelyn Erskine-Kellie] [Topbox: Mario Cruz] [Walking : Claudio Franco] [When to go: Jocelyn Erskine-Kellie] [Vegetarian food: Marco Verch]