When most people think of Portugal, they think of the cosmopolitan city of Lisbon or the beaches of the Algarve, but one of the best places we stopped on our trip was the town of Évora. This town is situated in the Alentejo region of Portugal and is often referred to as “the bread basket” of Portugal, due to the abundance of agriculture and livestock that come from this region.
If my boyfriend and I had not spoken to our flight attendants on the flight to Porto, we would have completely skipped over this area. As Portuguese individuals, they told us if they had to give us one tip, it was to stop in the Alentejo region. They gushed over the quality of food and the beauty of this area. They were not wrong.
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Why You Need to Go to Alentejo
If they had to give us one tip, it was to stop in the Alentejo region.
As we drove from Coimbra, a university town up North, down to Évora we could not believe the natural beauty that was around us. As we got closer to Évora, the landscape changed into gorgeous fields that went on for miles, reminiscent of the countryside of Tuscany. It is not surprising after seeing these gorgeous fields, that this area is fertile and good for farming.
The Alentejo region is known for growing cork-oak trees, which is where cork comes from. Portugal produces over half of the cork that is used world-wide and a majority comes from this region alone. As we passed through these fields, I could not stop staring out the window.
When we pulled up to Évora, I could tell that it was a special place. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is surrounded by a medieval wall that is leftover from when the Romans controlled the city. Inside the city you will find adorable white walled buildings with splashes of yellow and blue on them. Alongside these buildings are monuments that have been there for hundreds of years. You should spend a few hours just walking around the city and learning about all of its incredibly rich history.
Besides the historical beauty that Évora has to offer, it has the most amazing food I have ever had. After a long journey through the country, we were incredibly famished. We searched the small alley-ways to find the restaurant Adega do Alentejano. You walk through a cork curtain into a restaurant that looks like a wine cellar, with barrels lining the walls and lots of tools hanging up on the wall. The tables are covered in red and white checkered tablecloths and it does not scream a foodie’s paradise.
As we sat down and stared at all of the options on the menu, the owner of the restaurant asked us one question: “Can you eat a lot?” We practically screamed back YES! He told us exactly what we should order and we blindly followed his lead. We started with wine that he poured directly out of the barrel and was a great mixture of sweet and dry. Then, out came plates of black pork, bread and cheese, in which we devoured in appreciation. This was followed by a tomato soup with bread that I can honestly say was one of the best things I have ever eaten in my life! I will dream of this soup for years to come. Plates continued to come out and we continued to eat. If you are looking for the best food in Portugal, look no further. I can honestly say that the food in this region lives up to its name.
Delicious food, natural beauty, and incredible history, what’s not to love? If you’re planning a trip to Portugal and you want to experience something amazing, then make sure you stop in the Alentejo Region. You will not regret it.
Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this guide!
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