Stretching from the banks of the Tejo River to the mountains that surround the Algarve, the Alentejo is the heartland of Portugal. The Alentejo has inspired countless epic tales and adventures. A land with intense flavors of wine and a local cuisine that is unlike anything else, and as fresh and as local as the land it comes from. A place where you can enjoy both bliss and thrills, surrounded by rolling plains and mountains, blue rivers, pristine beaches, and villages painted in white and blue. And, the sunlight is warm and unique. Discover the Portuguese region rich in natural beauty, adventure, culture, flavors and welcoming smiles.
The list of winners of the World Travel Awards, Gala Europa, has just been announced, and the Alentejo’s Dark Sky Alqueva won two awards:
- Europe's Responsible Tourism Award 2020
- Europe’s Leading Development Project 2020.
Dark Sky Alqueva is a nonprofit organization and features some of the darkest and clearest skies on Earth thanks to a lack of light pollution. Check out
Dark Sky Alqueva’s virtual tour and see some of the celestial sights in this video. See stars, meteors, planets and the Milky Way light up the sky over historic buildings and serene landscapes
Dark Sky Alqueva was the first Starlight Tourism Destination in the world, receiving certification from the Starlight Foundation in 2011. The reserve covers an area of 3,900 square miles (10,000 square kilometers) around Lake Alqueva. It includes both sides of the border between Portugal and Spain, making it the first cross-border Starlight Destination in the world, too. With the quality of the sky certified by the Starlight Foundation in nine Portuguese municipalities in the reserve — Alandroal, Barrancos, Moura, Mourão, Reguengos de Monsaraz, Portel, Évora, Mértola and Serpa — Dark Sky Alqueva offers a diversity of daytime and nighttime activities.
Portugal was voted the best travel destination in Europe for the 4th year in a row in the 2020 World Travel Awards, the Oscars of Tourism, an award given by industry professionals whose ceremony this year took place in a virtual format.
New villa opens Underground, featured in Wallpaper
Also, on Alqueva Lake, a new Casa de Terra villa is now open, built underground, and just featured in Wallpaper.
Set between the soft rolling hills and sweeping skies of Portugal’s Alentejo region, a few feet from the shores of Alqueva – the largest constructed-made lake in Europe – the underground house is buried under the earth’s surface, on the site of a pre-existing property that was submerged when the lake was built. The owners’ ecological responsibility was also to make the house disappear into the landscape.
Using concrete as the prime material, the house’s only visible element is a canopy, with a circular skylight, which conceals the common areas and covers an outdoor patio that offers both sunrise and sunset views of the lake. The three bedrooms are set further in the ground.
“All of our houses started as our family’s homes, and they’re now open to whoever wants to experience them. They are part of our story and echo the importance of feeling at home. Along the way, we realized that we are not alone in the search for happiness and fulfillment, and thus it felt right to share our values and visions with everyone else - one house at a time. We named this search & sharing process Silent Living, and it has been the most amazing adventure of our lives, so far.”
Portugal’s newest Berardo Museum is in the Alentejo
The Berardo Museum in Estremoz is a new museum space that is a joint initiative of the Berardo Collection and the City of Estremoz.
This new museum will share elements of the largest and most respected private collection of tiles in the country.
The collection consists of tiles in situ, heritage integrated in the Quinta and Palácio da Bacalhôa (Azeitão) and the Palácio Tocha (Estremoz), and more than 4,500 artifacts, dating from the 13th to the 21st century.
Installed in the historic Tocha Palace, a property classified as a monument of public interest, the museum tells the stories and history of the last centuries of tiles, through the inaugural exhibition, entitled "800 Years of Tile History".
The Berardo Estremoz Museum project was co-financed through structural funds, within the scope of Portugal 2020, the national component being guaranteed by the Berardo Collection.
New Luxe Hotel open in historic horse Farm
A luxurious new hotel has opened in Portugal’s Alentejo region, set in the Royal Horse Farm at Alter do Chão. The Vila Galé Collection Alter Real - Equestrian Resort, Conference & Spa features 77 rooms, three outdoor swimming pools, a spa with heated indoor pool, and a restaurant serving Alentejo cuisine. It also has a horse museum, as well as a traditional olive oil press, and access to the Royal Horse Farm.
The new hotel was an investment of ten million euros to convert a portion of the state-owned Royal Alter Horse Farm, with a concession for 50 years under the Revive Program.
The new hotel is a mix of luxury with equestrian tourism. Guests have the opportunity to take a guided tour of the farm, and also experience riding a horse for the first time. Carriage rides; lessons and horseback rides are available for all skill levels.