New York, NY-When the editors of Condé Nast Traveler voted on the best 'destinations for the world today' they came up with a unique list of just nine places. Only three were in Europe, and one of them was a relative newcomer to the world stage: Portugal’s Alentejo. The Alentejo is the perfect off the beaten path destination that is more than worth the journey. It is like nowhere else.
Editor David Moralejo put it this way: I call the road to the sea through Portugal’s Alentejo region the place where the beatniks read Pessoa; you can imagine Kerouac breezing through its small hotels, surf camps, and villages scattered with craft shops, markets, and bohemian bars. For me it’s a place of happiness. There are boutique hotels like São Lourenço do Barrocal and Dá Licença and olive groves, cork oaks, and infinite horizons. The road ends at Vicentine Coast National Park, a wild, protected coastline in southern Europe. A paradise for surfers, it has electrifying sunsets, but the icy waters stop it from ever getting too crowded.
Condé Nast Traveler acknowledges that the world has changed, and so has the type of destination people now seek — and it is no surprise that the Alentejo joined Condé Nast Traveler's elite destinations as it offers a unique and authentic experience that is worth the trip. And, the Alentejo is less than an hour by rail or car from Lisbon and Humberto Delgado Airport.
According to Visit Alentejo: So many people are ready to get back into travel, but the destinations they will seek will be different, due to the impact of the pandemic. Set less than 6 hours by air from the East Coast of the US, Portugal’s Alentejo offers vast plains, unique landscapes and a rich culture, and a sustainable approach to both life and travel.
Since the time of the Romans, the Alentejo has been below the radar — known for its clear light, wines, cork, history, cuisine, cycling, beaches, and hiking. The Alentejo is a luminous place of green plains, mountains, wine lands, olive groves and cork forests. The Alentejo is a lightly populated region with open horizons and where life follows the rhythm of the land. Making up 30% of Portugal, this picturesque land is bound to the North by the Tejo River, and by mountains to the Northeast, Spain and the River Guadiana mark the border to the East, and the Atlantic Ocean is the border to the West. The Northeast has a series of historic walled towns. Around Évora (called one of the most beautiful cities in Europe), one finds the enchanting castle towns of Monsaraz, Vila Viçosa, Estremoz, and Arraiolos (famed for its handmade tapestries and rugs). To the South, the rolling plains are even less inhabited, the only shade being provided by olive and cork oak tree forests. A trip to the museum-towns of Alvito, Beja, Serpa and Mértola will offer many adventures.