Travel to Portugal’s Alentejo to experience rugged luxury; foods, wines and culture of the region and find out what gives this its distinct feel.
Portugal is Britain’s oldest ally and the Alentejo region is the home to probably the world’s most famous luxury shoe designer, Christian Louboutin. Find out what gives the region such authenticity and why it can offer the monied hipster crowd some wanderlust chic. Some superb surfing, this unspoilt region is perfect to get away from the cameras, bustle and 24/7 existence of the city. Maybe this is your Portuguese Easy Rider adventure to find some rustic charm, a place to discover yourself, where you are not going to be recognised or bothered but maybe find a good location for your next movie.
I’m thinking Jack Kerouac and the Beatnik generation as the regions unspoilt feel reminded me in a good way of how travel used to be.
One road at time. Our intrepid duo down their computers, laptops and gadget ridden vestiges of the modern world and saddle up their pony, in this case their chauffeur service to London Heathrow to explore with abandon some of Portugal’s Alentejo region.
Our leady lady and her lover check in with TAP airlines and head up into the skies for the short flight to Lisbon
Flying into Lisbon senhor e senhora Butler are dressed for success but in a low-key luxury way. Bags picked up, he is in linen slacks and blue Savile Row shirt with the sleeves rolled up and she is in a Italian Cotton blouse with rugged jeans and big belt and buckle. They are travelling in luxury but minimalist, carrying Globetrotter vintage luggage. They have found a vintage car hire rental in Lisbon where they are hiring a piece of Vintage, a 1975 Jensen Interceptor Convertible. As they hit the open road they glide over the big suspension bridge, the sun is out, the roof is down and though its not California I would be playing the theme from that classic Clint Eastwood movie, “Play Misty for Me” and with it that fantastic track “Gator Greek – Dirty Boogie” [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVt4maKik28[/youtube]
If your flights let you we suggest your start off with some lunch at the award winning A Talha de Azeite, Grândola restaurant which embodies the cuisine from the region.
Time to check into the Sublime Comporta hotel a top piece of luxury, off a dirt track,
nestled in the middle of the pine trees, you are close to the beach and is a perfect luxury hotel to unwind.
Try a late morning or two, some massage and walks along the beach.
After two days of chilling, hit the road relatively early
and head for the beautiful Roman Town of Evora for some culture, wandering and food. It really is a perfect place to take in this very special place which has been a world heritage site since 1986. Dating back to 57 BC when the Romans called Evora a city we suggest you start with The Emperors temple.
Stop and wander through the courtyard in the middle of the city. Take a side road to find a great place for lunch at Café Alentejo
If your culture is yearning you can take in stories of Diana Goddess of Hunting, find out about the famous Roman Aqueduct and the meeting of the three rivers.
End up wandering through the largest cathedral in Portugal.
Mid-afternoon stop for coffee and cake, preferably the famous Pastel De Nata, which I absolutely adore.
At about 5sh hit the road as you will pass through what I refer to as outback country as the red earth and Eucalyptus trees reminds me of the great explorers finding their new world.
and as you approach The Alentejo Marmoris Hotel –
you will pass through real mining country, in this case marble which is big business and adds to the fact that Portugal as a country creates a lot of products for the home.
The following day take a late start,
not forgetting to stop and look around the long rectangular courtyard in the village.
And head off for a drive, ending up on some dirt roads to see what I refer affectionally as the Goat Lady – Herdade da Amendoeira
This really is a find and if you were looking for a retreat to write your book, this would be perfect, and I suppose it’s hardly surprising they run yoga retreats as well.
In addition to some very pretty village rooms she has over 1500 animals, goats cheese, liquor and honey.
The distillery is very old, producing the famous Penny Royal liquor and in the summer, serve lunch. In total, they make 12 liquors with 13 staff.
Though not strictly luxury a night at Pousada de Arraiolos is really worth it, with its historical buildings and sublime setting this really is special and if you love your hunting and riding this is a perfect spot.
A visit to the winery at Herdade da Ravasqueira is a must-
And possibly a stay if you are lucky enough. The lunch I had there was one of the best, if not the best last year. It simply tasted divine. It reminded me of my mother’s cooking. The olive oils, herbs and flavours were to die for mmmmm
The winery was bought in 1943 as a hunting lodge. It now produces wine, some cork, black pork, olive oil, honey. They have this amazing museum with 37 horse carriages. The vineyards cover around 3000 hectares which is quite large for Portugal, amounting to about 1.5 million bottles. The wine is really quite outstanding.
If you have a chance a couple of hours wandering around the market and streets of Estremoz’s weekly Flea Market is really a lovely insight into real local Portuguese life.
Expect locals and not tourists and is a perfect place for some food before hitting the road back to Lisbon.
TAP Portugal flies direct from London Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester to Lisbon up to 10 times daily, prices start at £41 one way including all taxes and surcharges.
For further information, visit www.flytap.com or call 0345 601 0932.
Some stunning scenery, genuine and fresh foods, sublime wines and just a few wonderful surprises this is perfect for those who need to feed the soul, mind and stomach.