Alentejo has proved to be the perfect destination for a trip after the Covid-19 pandemic. Although it is the largest region in Portugal, it has a population of around 500 thousand inhabitants, the same number of people living in the city of Lisbon. This means that the population density of the Alentejo is very low, a sign that travelers will be as free from agglomerations as from traffic and worries.
To top it off, the Alentejo region has several isolated accommodation options in the middle of beautiful fields, where tourists can enjoy nature and tranquility.
In addition to enjoying what nature has to offer, a good choice is to visit the small towns and villages of Alentejo, where you can stroll and see incredible historic buildings up close, as well as taking in the breathtaking scenery. We have listed some of these locations below!
Situated at the highest point of the Serra de São Mamede, Marvão has about 500 inhabitants and has a magnificent medieval castle. As it is at a high altitude, the view from the surroundings is simply stunning. But the scenery of the village itself is also charming, with small stone streets and buildings that make it look like time stopped there hundreds of years ago.
Slightly larger than Marvão, Évora Monte is just 30 km from Évora, the main Alentejo destination. The village combines impressive landscapes and military constructions that date back to the Middle Ages. The main attraction is the Paço Ducal de Évora Monte, a castle with four turrets arranged in a square shape and a beautiful interior, with vaulted ceilings.
This village has more residents than the previous two, but it does not win by much – the number is approximately 800 inhabitants. Monsaraz is on a hill, protected by walls and topped by a castle. Its scenery of stone streets lined with white houses with flowered windows is simply charming. From the top of the castle, you can enjoy a spectacular view of the magnificent Alqueva lake, the largest artificial lake in Europe.
Located further south of the Alentejo, in the middle of the Guadiana Valley, Mértola gathers about 2 thousand inhabitants in a village full of personality and history to tell. It differs from other Alentejo destinations because, in the past, it was a Roman city and, later on, it became the capital of an Arab kingdom. This cultural mix is present in several historical remains, such as the Church of Our Lady of the Annunciation, which was a mosque and today functions as a Christian church. The Islamic heritage marks this village like no other in Portugal and can be seen in local architecture today.
Castelo de Vide
Very close to Marvão is Castelo de Vide, with a population of around 2,300 people. It is one of the most beautiful Portuguese villages, with narrow stone streets and white houses. It also offers a beautiful view of the surroundings, and on clear days, you can even see the beginning of Spanish territory! In this destination, what draws attention is the Jewish heritage, very present in places like the neighborhood of Judiaria and the medieval Synagogue.
The heritage of Arraiolos, which has only 3,300 inhabitants, goes beyond historical buildings, although the Castle of Arraiolos is fascinating, and one of the few in the world with circular architecture. This Alentejo village is responsible for the production of the famous Arraiolos rugs, true masterpieces embroidered by hand with a stitch created centuries ago.
Vila Nova de Milfontes
This is the destination with the largest population on this list, but still barely exceeds 5,000 inhabitants. Vila Nova de Milfontes could not be left out as it is the only one we mentioned that is on the coast, close to the most beautiful beaches on the Costa Vicentina. The friendly town has a lovely historic center which, in addition to the traditional castle and church, also has a lighthouse.