Alentejo: Where to stay, shop, eat and relax

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Portugal

Hotels

M’ar de Ar Aqueduto, Evora
City slickers will love this central, five-star spa hotel’s elegant fusion of modern and traditional. Behind the Palácio dos Sepúlveda’s 15th-century Manueline facade, the minimalist design extends to an impressive complex of terraced sun decks and pools. mardearhotels.com

Herdade da Malhadinha Nova Hotel & Spa, Beja
Great flair and attention to detail distinguish the Soares family’s ultra-comfortable 10-room hotel, a stylish farmhouse renovation. As the surrounding vines, olive groves, pureblood Alentejo cattle, black pigs and estate-sourced menus attest, it remains a working farm. malhadinhanova.pt

Herdade do Sobrosa, Vidigueira
With more than 65 bird species, deer, mouflon and wild boar, photographic and game hunting safaris at the Machado family’s secluded 1,600ha estate (pictured below left) offer a taste of the wild. Enjoy a star-gazing tour before retreating to your Moroccan- themed room. herdadedosobroso.pt

Restaurants

Fialho, Evora
This family-run institution and training ground for many of Alentejo’s best-known chefs is a long-time champion of traditional regional gastronomy. Good old-fashioned service and an impeccable Portugal- and Alentejo-focused wine list. restaurantefialho.com

Tasquinha do Oliveira, Evora
Fialho protégé Carolina d’Oliveira’s dazzling array of petiscos (tapas) set the tone at this ambitious yet intimate 14-cover restaurant. Her husband Manuel guides you through an encyclopaedic Portuguese wine list. The mains are awesome. +351 (0)266 744 841

São Rosas de Estremoz
Tucked within Estremoz castle’s imposing battlements, Alentejan cooking is the star. The restaurant rises above the town’s leading wine estates, but as the chef/patron Margarida Cabaço makes wine too (at Monte dos Cabaços), the list is extremely well grounded. +351 (0)268 333 345

Casa do Forno, Monsaraz
Separated from Spain by the Alqueva dam, the fortified hill-top town of Monsaraz is a must-see. Here at this restaurant, simple but flavoursome dishes such as borrego no forno (roast lamb) are served in hearty portions, providing fuel for negotiating its steep, cobbled streets. +351 (0)266 557 190

Vila Velha, Vidigueira
Artfully decorated with vintage farm tools, it’s not just Paula and José António Caetano’s delicious rustic peasant fare and well- selected wines that pay homage to the Alentejan way of life. +351 (0)284 436 550

Shops

Divinus Gourmet, Evora
Local enchidos (charcuterie), cheeses, olive oils, honey and wines from many prestigious Portuguese producers. Sample here or take away. divinus.pt

Enoteca do Redondo
Housed in Alentejo’s regional wine museum, where better to make an informed purchase than at this wine-bar-cum-shop? + 351 (0)266 909 100


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