Destinazione di viaggio

The pink winter sky in Alentejo

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There are very peculiar natural beauties in Portuguese territory, of which we are very proud, and which are well-kept secrets. Recently, the natural and sustainable component of tourism has been the focus of attention in some tourist destinations, which we will talk about in this chronicle.

Today I tell you about the beauty of the interior Alentejo, the same Alentejo as the cearas, the endless starry sky, the olive groves as far as the eye can see and the medieval castles. The route starts in Portalegre, where we tell you of probably one of the best restaurants in the country for which it is mandatory to book a place, Tombalobos, easy to find on social networks and whose notoriety has crossed the border with Spain for several years. Here it is advisable to have lunch as our itinerary takes us to the interior of the countryside, where there are some particularly beautiful places to highlight and of which little is known.

I am particularly passionate about this Alentejo, the Alentejo of loneliness, of stillness, of the incredible winter sunset that leaves the entire sky pink in the month of December, characterized by a dry and intense cold that deserves a fireplace at the end of the day. Now let’s start here: Portalegre> Lunch at Tombalobos. Mandatory to book (+351 245 906 111 / tombalobos.pt/ tombalobos@gmail.com). Then, after a King’s lunch, it is advisable to visit the village of Castelo de Vide, a peaceful village with a strong historical connection to the medieval castle of Marvão that is only 9.6 km away and that will be an immersion in the life of the shepherds of today.  You can download the Rota on this institutional site of the City Council.

The recommended thing is to take appropriate footwear for a walk in the countryside and taking a backpack with the essentials to spend the night in Marvão, where you can enjoy the rural landscape and the silence that prevails only interrupted by the rattles of the grazing animals that walk around.

The sunset in Marvão is something truly incredible and the views are from a special distance, particularly unique on this promontory. We advise you to stay overnight here (http://innmarvao.com) and the next morning retrieve your car to continue your journey. Next destination Évora for lunch.

The travel distance lasts approximately two hours and is done between the farms where wild cattle and the Lusitano horse are produced. Arriving in Évora, the destination for lunch is the Fialho Restaurant, probably one of the most special places in the city that preserves its gastronomy and the Alentejo tradition in its maximum splendor, whether by the suppliers of local products or the mastery of the chef. It is mandatory to book (+ 351 266 703 079 / restaurantefialho.pt)

After a mandatory visit to the historic center of Évora to see the temple of Diana and the Chapel of Bones in the Church of São Francisco, it is time to return to the N2 road a path to Mértola where we advise you to sleep and see the night show of Dark Sky Alqueva. The Dark® Sky Alqueva is a territory that covers an extensive area, of about 9,700km2, around the great Lake Alqueva and that extends through the Portuguese municipalities of Alandroal, Barrancos, Évora, Mértola, Moura, Mourão, Portel, Redondo, Reguengos de Monsaraz and Serpa. It also includes Spanish territory with the municipalities of Alconchel, Cheles, Fregenal de la Sierra, Zahínos, Olivenza, Táliga, Higuera, Oliva de la Frontera, Higuera la Real, Jerez de los Caballeros and Valle de Matoros.

Due to the quality of the night sky, this territory is certified as Starlight Tourism Destination and was the first in the world to obtain this certification. The territory of Mértola has been part of the certified area of ​​the Dark Sky® Alqueva Reserve since 2018. With an extension of 1,279 km2 and a population density of 5 inhabitants / km2, Mértola has very low levels of light pollution. Here, visitors can enjoy unique and unparalleled opportunities to see the night sky and enjoy the stars for most of the year, as Mértola has an average of 286 clean nights without clouds. There are several quality places to sleep in the center of Vila de Mértola. We invite you to choose.

The next morning the challenge is to make the way to Alcoutim and Vila Real de Santo António off the Guadiana River and in the middle of the natural park. The journey takes about 2 hours and we recommend a long and pleasant journey. The view is incredible. Arriving in Tavira, the dish of the day should be Arroz de Lingueirão, an Algarvian specialty that has its splendor here. Good appetite and good trip.

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Mariana Calaça Baptista

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