Exploring the unique northern Alentejo region of Portugal
25th Apr 2021 – 2nd May 2021
- See website for other dates
Tour code: 26300
Last Modified: 19th October 2020
See what's planned
If you are looking at this one week holiday why not make your stay two weeks by joining us on Escape to the Alentejo and the Ribatejo.
The Alentejo is a warm, dry and mostly gentle region, which has been ignored by all but a few. This holiday is designed by our local resident leaders to explore lesser known Portugal. The Alentejo is a sparsely populated region with open horizons, where the rhythm of life follows the idle sound of regional songs. It is perfect for walking and adventure; a land of tradition and heritage.
This holiday leads you amongst remarkable traces of ancient cultures: dolmens and cromlechs, Roman and Arab vestiges mingling with more recent signs of Christianity of which the numerous medieval castles are but one example. Walk alongside vast wheat- fields and vineyards where intense green and golden colours characterise the plains. In spring time the fields are covered in a carpet of wild colourful flowers.
We travel to the heart of the Alentejo to the picturesque town of Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The intriguing mix of architecture from various eras dating back to the Romans. The wild flowers are a great accompaniment to the excellent walks during the Spring months.
Our final centre is in Portalegre sited at the foot of the impressive São Mamede mountain range and natural park. Here we will find fantastic food and wines, and ancient traditions as well as superb walking amongst picturesque scenery.
What's not included?
This grade 4 walking holiday includes half and full day walks with appreciable amounts of ascent and descent, up to 600-800m. Half day walks are usually 3 hours in length whereas full days are up to 5 hours of walking. Paths are generally good, mostly flat with some hilly areas. The paths are usually gravel, dirt or tarmac but some sections are cobbled and rough. Our walk to Nossa Senhora de Machede may include a stream crossing on steppingstones. The maximum altitude reached during the walks on this holiday is 842m.
Our bottom line is happy travellers, and to that end we trust our tour leaders to use the itinerary below as a basis for providing you with a great holiday. We expect our leaders to make adjustments to the itinerary if the weather, group ability or other local conditions make that necessary. There are normally more options available to our leaders than those listed below and one or more of these options may well be chosen. All distances, heights & timings are approximate.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
Hotel Dom Fernando
We fly to Lisbon Airport and transfer to Evora by coach.
Transfer Time = 1 hr 20
Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel Dom Fernando
We start our discovery of Evora by taking an orientation walk. We wind our way through the cork oak woodlands before following the meandering river to the tranquil lake at Nossa Senhora da Tourega. Here we can visit the ruins of an ancient roman villa and bathing complex. After lunch we venture through the beautiful rolling valley of the Rio Valverde and its typical whitewash Alentejo village.
Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel Dom Fernando
Today we explore the Ribeira de Valverde, passing through the whitewashed villages of Valverde and Guadalupe. We wind our way through the cork oaks and over open rolling Alentejo countryside to the beautiful tranquil lake at Nossa Senhora da Tourega. We pass prehistoric monuments and classic Alentejo scenery.
Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel Jose Regio
This morning is free for you to explore the local area or have a relax in the hotels swimming pool. We transfer to Portalegre with a visit the famous and impressive marble city of Estremoz on the way. Estremoz is surrounded by spectacular winding walls whose upper city still lies behind 13th century battlements. The total transfer time (not including stops) is 2 hours. On arrival we will take an orientation walk of Portalegre before venturing to a local restaurant for dinner.
Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel Jose Regio
Our walk today is along the Ribeira de Nisa. From the village of Monte Carvalho the path takes us eastwards to meet the river which we will ascend through a small gorge to the plateau, offering magnificent views. We descend through lanes, farmland, beautiful meadows and stunning countryside back to Monte Carvalho.
Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel Jose Regio
Walk from Carreiras to Senhora da Penha on an old roman road, continuing to Castelo de Vide to visit the town. We’ll climb to Senhora da Penha, a little picturesque chapel on the top of the hill where there are panoramic views over Castelo de Vide. We will walk along narrow lanes, bordered by cork trees or stone walls and descend to Castelo de Vide, a picturesque town in the Alentejo located in the cool mountains of the Natural Park of São Mamede. Castelo de Vide is another well-kept border town complete with impressive ramparts, ruined castle, panoramic views and natural spring waters.
Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel Jose Regio
We follow a mountain path and old tracks up to Marvão, where we discover this medieval town perched high on a granite crag of the São Mamede Mountains. Surrounded by walls and with a majestic castle that has defended the population from the Spanish through history. We can admire the spectacular view and then walk along a medieval road with ancient stone walls. It was recently considered one of the "1000 Places to see before you die", by the New York Times. It stands out for its imposing Castle and its Neolithic and Roman remains, including the Roman Bridge and ruins of Ammaia.
Breakfast & Dinner
We say goodbye to the undiscovered Alentejo and transfer to Lisbon airport for our return flight to the UK.
Walks & Excursions
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Currency in Portugal
The currency in Portugal is the euro. You may wish to take some euro cash with you until you reach an ATM. Credit cards may not be accepted in smaller towns and rural areas.
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Tour Leaders & Local Guides
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
Your Travel Details
Our return flights are between London and Lisbon Airport. We travel by private coach for our airport transfers and between centres.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?
If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.
Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.
Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
Passports and Visas
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.
Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.
Brexit Passport Advice
You should have at least 6 months validity left on your passport from your date of arrival.
If you renewed a 10 year passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your passport’s expiry date. These extra months will not count, so you should ensure that your passport is not older than 9 years and 6 months from the date of issue at the time of travel.
You may wish to renew your passport sooner rather than later, in order to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans.
Please ensure to regularly check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for updates on passport requirements leading up to and after Brexit or contact us for more assistance.
UK Government Brexit Information for Passports can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-Brexit.
The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport under these rules which can be found at www.passport.service.gov.uk/check-a-passport.
In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. The UK Government also has information for travellers available at gov.uk/EUexit
Non British Passport holders should consult the host country’s embassy for applicable passport and visa entry requirements.
Where are we going to stay?
Hotel Dom Fernando
Av. Dr. Barahona 07005 Evora Portugal
00351 26 673 7990
Evora is a well preserved medieval capital of Portugal’s south-central Alentejo region. Evora is a World Heritage Site surrounded by 14th century walls, filled with history through its winding narrow streets. Evora has many of the services you may require such as banks, ATM's, supermarkets, bakeries and doctors. Situated a 10-minute walk from the old historic centre, the modern Hotel Dom Fernando offers a restaurant and an outdoor swimming pool. The en suite air-conditioned bedrooms are decorated in a contemporary style with a dash of traditional Alentejo features, and are equipped with satellite TV, hairdryer, safe, radio, free WIFI and telephone.
Hotel Jose Regio
Largo Antonio Jose Lourinho 7300-088 Portalegre Portugal
00351 24 500 9190
Portalegre is a small town at the centre, surrounded by a cluster of northern Alentejan towns, each with their own tale to tell. The stylish and tasteful four-star Hotel Jose Regio has been designed with an eye for detail and an appreciation of sleek yet welcoming aesthetics. It celebrates the writer José Regio, one of Portalegres most famous sons. The hotel has a friendly and attentive team of employees and is well located in the centre of town, and close to cafes and attractions. It is environmentally friendly too, with solar panels providing hot water. Bedrooms have calming clean designs, with nods to literature and unique poetry quotations displayed on the walls. Other features you would expect from a four star hotel are there, including air conditioning, safes, tea and coffee making facilities, mini bar, room service, TV and hair dryers in the rooms. There is a gym, beauty salon, chic cafeteria and a reading room, full of Portuguese literature, maybe a chance to brush up on your Portuguese?
We enjoy buffet breakfasts and dine in local restaurants for dinners. The Alentejo region is known as the culinary heartland of Portugal and our evening meals will allow us to sample some of the local dishes along with the excellent local wines. Local restaurants are sometimes simple but allow us to enjoy an authentic experience and sometimes lively atmosphere in a traditional Portuguese restaurant along with local diners and the Portuguese hospitality. Portuguese dishes are usually created using locally sourced fresh ingredients, and usually consist of soup, meat or fish, vegetables and potatoes. Portugal is famous for its fresh fish and usually it is caught, cooked and eaten the same day! Lunches are not included. We may take these at a local café or as a picnic.
Footwear & Kit List
Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
Electricity in Portugal
Electricity is supplied at 220 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a European two pin adaptor with round pins. More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information
Maps, Guidebooks & More
Apart from any books available in local libraries, the internet is now an excellent resource for information about holidays in Portugal. You may find the below websites, books and programmes useful.
The Map Shop
Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk
Find out more
Visas and Passports
No Visa Required
Staying Healthy On Holiday
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for Portugal
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Portugal.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
You may wish to consider immunisations against Tetanus.
Dengue fever exists in Portugal; please take normal precautions against mosquito bites.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
You must be adequately insured to join our holidays. We do not insist that you insure with us but we require that you are adequately insured for the nature of your holiday. You will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.
Please ensure that as a minimum your travel insurance policy covers you for travel to your holiday destinations (country and geographical region) and for medical expenses, mountain rescue (including helicopter rescue) and emergency repatriation to your home country in the event of illness or injury. Your policy should also provide adequate cover for the activities, included and optional, you are likely to participate in during your holiday.
See our brochure or website for further advice regarding holiday insurance.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
Please take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you; it will help you in the event of you needing medical assistance during your holiday. Please note that the EHIC has an expiry date, so please check that your card is valid for the duration of your holiday. Please note however the EHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.
For more information please visit ehic.org.uk.
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.
Staying In Touch
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
We welcome all comments about our holidays and value ideas for the future. If you have provided us with an email address we will invite you to complete an online questionnaire or to add feedback to our page on the independent review site 'Feefo'.
Please note that this Holiday Information sheet may be periodically updated and reissued.
In most cases the revisions will be minor and the overall nature of the holiday will remain unchanged. Should we make a major change to your holiday arrangements between you booking your holiday and your date of travel we will notify you to specifically draw your attention to any significant change.
You may wish to review the latest version of this Holiday Information Sheet online prior to travel.
Please note that any advertised offers, benefits or initiatives may be discontinued at any time.
Our office is open and our Sales & Reservations team are available to speak to you from:
Please quote your Booking Reference number and Tour Code whenever contacting us.
We wish you an enjoyable holiday!
Our holiday walking grades
Full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain.
Most of these holidays have an element of sightseeing as well.
Half day walks will probably involve about 3 hours of walking, with full day walks having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to 600m.