If you have read my previous posts about Portugal, like this one about Porto and the North, you already know I am a fan. The beaches are beautiful, the old towns are picturesque and there are a lot of great surf spots! This is my first visit to the Alentejo, the region on the east and south side of Lisbon. The Alentejois known for picturesque, small villages with architecture that is influenced by the Moors, beautiful beaches with stunning rock formations and delicious wines. This is the oldest wine region of Portugal. Cork oaks & olive trees are a big part of the landscape and you’ll taste special olive oils from this region in almost every restaurant. No wonder why the Portuguese like to spend their holidays here. I am going to visit 3 unique, luxury hotels in the Alentejo…
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Our first night we stay at the impressive Torre de Palma, Wine Hotel. Need I say more? This hotel, build in 1338, has been styled to perfection. Every room has its own unique decor, with accents of the traditional interiors in the Alentejo. There is a beautiful restaurant, an indoor and outdoor pool, a winery, a spa and horses that are excellent for trips in the area. The guests are allowed to help with the wine production and if you are lucky enough to stay here the right time of the year, you will find yourself stomping the grapes in a large pink marble reservoir. But don’t worry, you can always go for the easy way and treat yourself to a good old wine tasting. The hotel als many special areas and hide aways, where you can relax & read.
Photos above: Torre de Palma Wine Hotel | Hotels Alentejo
Visit Évora! This is the biggest city in the Alentejo with yellow & white colored houses and Moorish influences. A true must visit. Wander through the narrow streets and visit the impressive Sé: the big cathedral, the macabre Capela dos Osos: the Chapel of Bones and the Roman temple that dates back to the 2nd or 3rd century after Christ. We enjoyed a delicious lunch at Café Alentejo, where I tried a local favorite: bull’s ass. This may be a luxury trip, but I am not the glamour-puss that refuses to try a local delicacy. To be honest: it was not my favorite, but there are many other, safer, options on the menu. Try the delicious Conde d’Ervideira Reserva Branco wine from the Alentejo!
Our next stop is our second stay for the night: Sao Lourenço do Barrocal. At this “Farmscape Hotel & Retreat” you’ll find your peace. The interior has neutral & soft colors. The spa has lovely incence and you can choose you own music during a treatment. Famous Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura renovated the old property in 14 years (!) and turned it into a high end, luxury hotel with 40 rooms. The property has been owned by the same family for over 200 years now. My room, that looks more like a beautiful apartment, includes organic Susanne Kaufmann products in the bathroom. I always find these products at a fancy skincare store in Amsterdam… The restaurant has quiet a unique interior… see photos below. They have their own horses, a gym and a winery, of course. The guests can help with the production.
Photos above: Sao Lourenço do Barrocal | Hotels Alentejo
When you stay at this hotel you should visit the small, idyllic, whitewashed village Monsaraz. In the tiny shops you find local products like handmade carpets and you won’t see a single car… well, maybe one. Climb the steps of the castle for an amazing view over the Algueva Lake: the biggest dammed lake in Europe. Monsaraz had many cosy restaurants, so take your time for a visit!
Photos above: Sao Lourenço do Barrocal and Mosaraz | Highlights Alentejo, Portugal
Our last night in the Alentejo is at Sublime Comporta, Country Retreat. In Croatia I saw a photo of an amazing resort in Portugal on Instagram and showed it to my friends saying: ‘Look at this place!”, not knowing it was already sceduled for my media trip to Portugal.. #luckybastard. The cherry on top.
Photos above: Sublime Comporta | Highlights Alentejo, Portugal
I share a luxury villa with my friend Naomi of Authenticchic Lifestyle. We have a pool, a living room, a kitchen and 2 bedrooms with an ensuite bathroom. OMG! Half an hour later we’re having dinner at the beautiful restaurant of the resort. When I look to my right, I spot 2 Hollywood actors… Alicia Vikander & Michael Fassbender are having dinner right next to us!! According to the Daily Mail the two got married in Ibiza just a couple of days before. This must be their honeymoon! We decide to let them enjoy their time together and don’t disturb them for a photo.
The resort is just an hour away from Lisbon. At night there is a big fire bowl close to the pool where you can relax with a good glass of wine. The only downside of the Comporta area, that has a lot of rice paddies, is the mosquitos.
There are a lot of cool activities you can do in the area. Comporta does not really have a city centre and is loved by famous people because they can stay here anonymously. Horses in the Sand offers beautiful trips for those who love horseback riding. Madonna is a fan. You can spot dolphins with Vertigem Azul and restaurant Sal is recommended. Have lunch at a Escola. We had some delicious, traditional Portuguese food at this restaurant, that used to be a primary school.
Stew with octopus and sweet potato at a Escola.
If you would like to drive further south to visit some stunning beaches, have lunch at Art e Sal, Sines! This seafront restaurant has daily fresh fish and delicious wine. I loved it.
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Torre de Palma, Wine Hotel
Sao Lourenço do Barrocal