Portugal: Alentejo: Mediterrranean Countryside
Rural Alentejo, the Portuguese countryside, features abundant sunshine, sandy beaches and the fertile Mediterranean landscape of mountain farmlands.
This morning, you will collect your rental car and depart from Lisbon, driving south through the Portuguese countryside to the peaceful region of Alentejo (Drive time 2 ½ hours). Arriving in Cercal do Alentejo, check into Herdade da Matinha Country House & Restaurant, a magnificently restored 19th-century farmhouse, settle in and enjoy an informal, but delicious lunch on the terrace.
This afternoon, set out to hike the surrounding region on your own. Paths and dusty roads wind through the surrounding hills, thick with pine, cork and strawberry tree groves. Stripped cork trees provide welcome shade for local shepherds and their dogs. Goats and sheep lazily chomp on wild herbs and vegetation. Kestrels and Bonelli’s eagles, circle effortlessly in the blue skies overhead. Your hosts will provide you with maps and offer suggestions for the best route based on your interests and activity level. The sea, for the more adventurous trekker, is a gentle 2-hour walk to the west.
Return to your hotel in the late afternoon, where you will join Alfredo, who is both an accomplished artist and the resident master chef, in the kitchen for a cooking lesson. Each day’s menu is unique – comprised of simple, delightful homemade dishes with a focus on fresh, local ingredients.
You will enjoy your creations, paired with local wines this evening.
Begin your day with a morning yoga class and a breakfast of fresh bread, baked locally in traditional open fire ovens. Out in the sunshine, you can pick the juiciest oranges and tangerines from trees in the property’s garden.
This morning, you will drive to the beach for a surf lesson, taking advantage of the offshore morning breezes and rolling waves. The Alentejo coast boasts some of the best waves along the Portuguese waterfront, as well as 300 days of sunshine per year. Lessons are available for adults and children of all ability levels.
Enjoy a picnic lunch on the beach after your lesson.
After lunch take a short drive to nearby Santiago de Cacem. Here you will visit a lovely historical city center with a medieval castle and Roman ruins. Continue to the charming picturesque villages of Vila Nova de Mil Fontes, Zambujeira do Mar. Don’t miss Cabo Sardo with its huge cliff over the ocean.
Return to your hotel this evening in time for another delightful gourmet dinner.
This morning, you have the option of another yoga class before breakfast on the terrace.
You will head out for a guided horseback riding excursion today. Plan a route with your guide before setting out. We suggest a trek through the hills and the bush to the sea. The horses, residents of the hotel property, know the trails well. Stop for a picnic lunch before returning to the property.
This afternoon is at leisure: return to the beach, relax by the hotel pool, or set out for a hike. Alternatively, you may wish to drive to the pretty coastal town of Vila Nova de Milfontes, for an afternoon on the white sand beaches at the mouth of the Mira River.
This evening, enjoy your final delightful farmhouse dinner.
After breakfast this morning, you will depart for your return drive to Lisbon. Return your rental car at the airport in time to meet your departure flight, or continue on to your next Willing Foot destination.
This is just the beginning.
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