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Fortified hilltop villages loom over ancient cork oaks, medieval pathways wind through chestnut forests, sandy trails look down over hidden beaches and clear blue ocean. By using guided transfers, this self-guided walking tour unlocks the startling variety of Alentejo in a way which is unique to Pura Aventura, from the hills of the Spanish border to the rugged Atlantic coast.
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Arrive in Lisbon today, where you are met for a private two-hour road transfer that will take you east to the quietness of the Alentejo's 'montado' countryside. On arrival our local representative will give you a welcome briefing to provide you with maps. This afternoon you can take a stroll around the village or along the rural paths around Beirá before dinner in the village's only restaurant.
Start walking today along the rolling terrain of the Alentejo, discovering its rich montado forest of cork and evergreen oaks. You could stop for lunch or buy yourself a picnic in the small town of Santo Antonio das Areias, after which you will walk along ancient walled paths crossing the Sever River into the picturesque village of Galegos, right on the border with Spain. This area is known for its smuggling history, especially in the years of the Spanish Civil war.
The views of Marvao guide your way in this great walk to a unique town. Perched on a ridge overlooking the Tejo river valley, Marvao has been a site of strategic importance from the earliest times, something you can fully understand when you climb up to the castle to discover the vast views around you. Take time to visit the local museum and explore the narrow streets before dinner at your Pousada overlooking Spain.
Today, drop down through the chestnut tree forest along an ancient medieval road to reach the hilltop village of Castelo de Vide, an untouched gem with layers of history. Stroll around the Jewish quarter and up to the castle. In the afternoon you could do the short steep climb to the Nossa Senhora da Penha chapel to enjoy wide views over Castelo and the Alentejo plains to the North.
Take a break from walking today for the 90-minute drive to Evora, where your private guide unlocks some of the fascinating history of Alentejo's capital. Enjoy a guided tour of the city – most famous for its striking Roman temple - and the surrounding Iron Age monuments. This is also the perfect place to learn about the importance of cork as a crop in this part of the world, home to 60% of the world's cork production.
Today you’ll be driven to the coast to start walking once more, enjoying wonderful views over the Costa Vicentina. You’re walking along the ‘Fishermen’s Trail’, a strikingly beautiful cliff-top path passing deserted beaches and the Cabo Sardão Lighthouse, where you can see the only sea cliff stork nests in the world. At the wild Tonel Beach, you’ll turn inland to arrive at your beautiful accommodation.
Start today's walk with one of the most outstanding views in the entire territory: Odeceixe beach seen from the majestic Ponta em Branco. In fact, today’s route passes any number of beautiful beaches: the last conveniently being the best for a refreshing swim. Towards the end, enjoy a drink in the fishing village of Zambujeira do Mar before covering the last 5km along the coast to arrive back at the Tonel beach and onwards to your hotel.
It's around two and a half hours' drive with your private driver up to Lisbon this morning, so set off with your private driver in time to get to the airport for your flight home. Alternatively, spend a couple of days discovering the buzzing city's mix of great restaurants, historic shops and beautiful buildings.
Though this trip will be put a fair few miles on the clock of your boots, it should not be terribly challenging for anyone used to hill walking. You’re on foot every day, but with plenty of time to relax into the slower pace of life in Alentejo. Distances on your walking days average around the 15km mark, with one shorter day of just 7km. Elevation gains/losses are not dramatic by and large. In some cases, particularly at the coast, these can be lengthened or shortened and your guide can explain these options at your welcome briefing. You don't have to worry about your luggage, this is taken ahead for you each day, leaving you to walk with a day pack.
If you’re looking for something which introduces you to the north of Portugal and the Douro Valley, in addition to the south, then may we point you in the direction of our Portugal Explorer self-drive trip.
As an Inn to Inn trip, we cannot tinker too much with the route without losing the essence of what makes it special. Tailoring options tend to involve adding in an extra night to slow the pace further, giving you more time in Lisbon either pre or post-walk or perhaps adding an extension to take in the north of the country around Porto and the Douro Valley.
Departs on a date to suit you from March to June and September to November. However, please note the holiday cannot start on a Monday. Weather-wise, we advise against doing this trip in July/August due to soaring summer temperatures, and it's probably worth tending away from late June and early September if you find it uncomfortable to walk in the heat.
The price is per person based on two sharing and includes:
First-class accommodation with breakfast, some lunches and most dinners
Luggage transfers between hotels
Detailed walking notes, OS maps and GPS device
Guided tour in Évora
Guided private transfers
Welcome briefing with Pura Aventura guide and phone support throughout
Private airport transfers
Alentejo Holiday Guide with personal recommendations
Pura’s expertise, local contacts, support and advice throughout
International flights are quoted separately for this holiday. Best routing is into and out of Lisbon (LIS).
In keeping with the variety of places you see on this trip, your accommodation is equally mixed. These are comprised of welcoming and comfortable guesthouses, a pousada (comparable to the Paradores of Spain) and a couple of more traditionally 'premium' hotels towards the end, one of which has a swimming pool.
For more details, please get in touch to request a full itinerary.
Thoughtfully engaging with the changing environments and communities through which you pass will have a direct positive impact on the lives of the people and the continued preservation of the land. In some cases, this preservation is taken a stage further. For example, one of the hotels in which you stay is run by one of the country’s foremost conservationists, protecting a habitat for more than 150 bird types. Another partner works to preserve the area’s wine and olive oil producing industry, other hotels protect the cultural heritage of the region by renovating historical buildings.
As well as time with our local partners and the guided day in Évora, this exclusive itinerary has been designed so that you have guided transfers between the coast and inland, so have that resource to widen your understanding of local life and history.