Portalegre is the northern region of Alentejo, staggeringly quiet with huge plains and climbing mountain slopes almost completely void of people. There are many signs that civilizations once thrived here, with pre-historic dolmen and menhirs adorning the flower strewn plains, giving Portalegre an almost mythical atmosphere. The few small villages and towns that are found in Portalegre are filled with authentic Portuguese charm, and you are always assured a very warm welcome when you arrive at your Portalegre holiday rental property.
Portalegre is a fantastically natural area, and the mountains of the Serra de Sao Mamede are home to an amazing array of flowers, leading to much of the area being designated as a national park. The Sierra de Sao Mamede is famous for its hiking routes, which lead for many miles throughout the flower strewn peaks and gullies, whilst the many riding stables of Portalegre offer a vast range of excellent guided rides, catering for every level of experience, and lasting for anything between a few hours and a full week.
Despite being a landlocked region, water sports are great fun from Portalegre accommodation. There are a huge range of reservoirs in Portalegre perfect for a range of water sports, especially those of Apartadura, Maranhao and Montargil. Along side sailing and windsurfing facilities, these reservoirs are ideal for swimming from the small, sandy lakeside beaches, especially during the hot summer months. Golf also thrives in the Portalegre region. If you are hoping to find time for a round from your Portalegre holiday rental villa, the 18 hole course at Marvao is a fantastic place to start you golf holiday in Portalegre.
Portalegre has a very long history, evidence of which can be seen across the region. There are more than fifty pre-historic sites in Portalegre including the amazing Castelo de Vide near Meada, which are the largest on the Iberian Peninsula. Roman ruins, monuments and buildings can still be seen in much of the area, as Portalegre was an important agricultural centre even then. The most impressive of the Roman villas in Portalegre, the villa Torre de Palma is a wonderful site, adorned with beautiful mosaics picturing the progress of the Roman Empire. Northern Portalegre is awash with huge medieval castles, many of which have UNESCO recognition, including Marvao, Castelo de Vide and Alter do Chao.
The town of Portalegre itself has a huge amount to offer tourists. The whitewashed houses, with their golden trim, glisten in the summer sun, and despite years of altercations throughout history, there are still some wonderful tourist attractions to discover. The Cathedral, with its three convents, is beautiful, and currently contains many of the region’s most famous paintings.
Average temperatures in Portalegre are remarkably constant. During June, July and August, temperatures reach well into the mid 30’s (˚C) with amazing regularity during the middle of the day, whilst in winter, you would be unlucky to experience daily temperatures of less than 10˚C.
Lisbon Airport (LIS) lies just over 200km from a holiday rental property in the centre of Portalegre. There are frequent flights from the UK, and there are both coach and rail links from Lisbon to Portalegre town. If you would really like to get to know the region, getting a hire car from the airport is a great option.