Baixo Alentejo is the southern lower half of the Alentejo. This area is one of the hottest in Portugal with temperatures sometimes reaching over 40°C in summer. As a result of the almost constant yearly sunshine solar power companies have invested in huge solar power stations in the backland. Besides boundless horizons, rich colors and much sun, you will find endless fields with crops of cork; olive trees, wheat fields and fruit trees. But this is also the land of tasty meat from domestic animals, such as cows, goats, pigs and in particular the black pork (porco preto). Species that populate the hills of Baixo Alentejo like wild boar, rabbit, hare and partridge can be hunted by strict rules. It is precisely all these products generously offered by nature that give the local food special taste. The Guadiana river flows through and the Baixo Alentejo region shows natural landscapes and urban areas of a rare and fresh beauty. Baixo Alentejo appeals to the stillness and is perfect for the discovery of the Portuguese historical, cultural and religious heritage.
Places of interest:
The settlement of this town dates back to the early days of the Portuguese monarchy.
Castro Verde is a town within a territory known locally as the Campo Branco (White Plains). It is made up of extensive areas of rolling hills, referred to as peneplains, which vary in altitude from 100–300 meter above sea level. This area is perfect for nature lovers and especially for bird watching.
Ferreira do Alentejo has the name of being the capital of olive oil (Capital do Azeite). The Baixo Alentejo is well known for their olive oil and Ferreira de Alentejo celebrates this with a yearly fair in March. This month all the local restaurants and pastries dedicate the menus and sweets to be served with olive oil. Normally the village offers courses of olive tasting, walks to local estates to see olive mills and learn about the proces and workshops on how to make olive oil biscuits and traditional soap of olive oil.
Mértola is located on a rocky spur, high above the Rio (river) Guadiana. The cobbled streets of medieval Mértola are worthwhile visiting. A small but imposing castle stands high, overlooking the traditional white houses and a charming church that was once a mosque. Many traces of Islamic occupation are still intact, thus Mértola is considered an open-air museum (vila museu). Take some time to visit this beautiful small town and visit the Islamic Festival that is held every 2 years in May (for 2017 it will be 18 until 21 of May). Mértola is surrounded by the splendid countryside of the Parque Natural Vale do Guardiana, home to the rare black stork (Ciconia nigra).
Moura is a relatively large town in the thinly-populated Alentejo region. The Moors occupied the town for five hundred years that ended in 1232. The town’s Mouraria (Moorish quarter) is one of the best-preserved in southern Portugal, consisting of an alley and three streets of narrow, cobbled lanes with low whitewashed cottages featuring classic turreted chimneys. Moura is close to the River Guadiana, where typical flat-bottomed hexagonal rowing boats are still used. Moura is also the nearest large town to the “biggest artificial lake in Europe”: the Alqueva Dam.
Serpa‘s old town, build within the town walls, is an atmospheric place of narrow cobbled streets lined with orange trees, red-sloped roofs and white sun-baked houses. On the west side of the town walls stands the remains of an impressive eleventh century aqueduct. Serpa is famous for its cheeses, which are sold along with plenty of other local produce at a huge market that takes place on the fourth Tuesday of every month by the Rua de Santo Antonio.