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Castles, Cliffs and Countryside
Sleepy Alentejo is an agricultural region of rolling hills and cork plantations, south of the Tagus River. Many of the Booking.com accommodation options are Alentejo guest houses featuring traditional wooden beds with painted headboards.
The main city is historic Évora with its medieval cathedral, partly intact walls and remains of a Roman temple. There are also Roman remnants in Beja, with its hilltop castle and whitewashed houses, and Serpa, whose aqueduct forms part of the city walls.
Mértola is nestled in the Guadiana Valley Natural Park, while Portalegre is the gateway to the Serra de São Mamede Natural Park. Also here are beautiful Marvão, set on a steep escarpment and guarded by a castle, and Castelo de Vide whose castle is on a less-pronounced hill.
The South-West Alentejo and Vicentine Natural Park is on Portugal’s west coast and many Alentejo beach hotels are found in Vila Nova de Milfontes and nearby Zambujeira do Mar, on a clifftop reminiscent of the Algarve.
By the Spain border, hilltop Monsaraz is partly enclosed by walls of a castle overlooking Alqueva Lake, formed by the dam downstream. Across the lake is the castle of Mourão, while to the north is Estremoz, known for colourful marble. East is UNESCO World Heritage-listed Elvas, whose 6 km aqueduct and 2 star-shaped forts are quite a sight.
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