|Private tours in Lisbon & surroundings||
Cross the bridge “Vasco da Gama” over Tagus river, and have a superb view.
Stop at Borba, known for a castle, local delicacies and the famous wine produced here. Borba is also famous for
its marble which has been used in buildings all over the country and the rest of the world. Actually all streets in
Borba are paved with marble and it has significant signs of architectural importance all over the town like bell
towers, doorways, baroque fountains, ironwork grids, loggias, ramparts, windows, stairways and most of all the
chimneys, which in Borba make part an impressive collection.
The life of the town revolves around the Praça Cinco de Outubro with the town hall and parish church. Drink a
glass of white or red wine along with some local cheese or sausage and continue to Vila Viçosa.
A jewel in the treasure chest of Alentejo, besides the marble which has long been the mainstay of the local
economy. Vila Vicosa is often known as the marble capital and the beautiful quarried stone can be viewed in all
forms of architecture especially houses and palaces but also fountains, churches and convents. Here, in Vila
Vicosa every house looks perfectly whitewashed, window sills are always bursting with plants and flowers.
The Palace Square in front of the Ducal palace is one of the most beautiful ones in the country. It is situated at
the entrance of this noble and aristocratic town. Stop at the Ducal Palace, the former residence of the Dukes of
Braganza from the beginning of the 16th century. Within the fifty rooms open to the public are housed precious
private art collections. The castle is also a truly imposing monument.
And then we cross the border and arrive to Badajoz in Spain. Different country, different language. Located on the banks of the Guadiana
River, only six kilometres away from Portugal. A stroll around the historic quarter will reveal Arab walls, interesting monuments, as well
as picturesque streets and porches - at the foot of the Alcazaba, around the square Plaza de San José and Plaza Alta. Another square,
Plaza de España, houses the City Hall and the cathedral of Badajoz.
In the area surrounding Plaza de España, one of the best places for Extremaduran cuisine is found. The cuisine of Badajoz includes ancient
recipes made with local products, as well as others that have been brought from America, like paprika and potatoes. Tomato soup, roast lamb
and fried trout are some of the dishes that should be served with the excellent Iberian sausages. The wines should have the label Designation
of Origin - Ribera del Guadiana.
Before arriving to Lisbon we stop at Arraiolos, set in delightful surroundings on a low hill above the wide Alentejo plain, with magnificent
views. The town is noted for its brightly colored woolen carpets which are made in a kind of cross-stitch.
This form of carpetmaking, presumably inherited from the Moors, has been practiced here since the 17th C. The early designs were mainly
Persian imitations, subsequently becoming geometric and more local. Arraiolos carpets, still mostly in strong colors, have been back in fashion
since the mid 1970s.
|...Alentejo is a south-central region of Portugal. Its name's origin, "Além-Tejo", literally translates to "Beyond|
the Tagus" or "Across the Tagus". The region is separated from the rest of Portugal by the Tagus river, and
extends to the south where it borders the Algarve. The landscape is mostly one of soft rolling hills and plains,
with cork oaks and olive trees, or the occasional vine. In the north agriculture is based mostly livestock-based,
with as cows, sheep and pigs (both white and black); to the south the agriculture is mostly arable. Alentejo
includes towns and villages which are living museums, some of them barely touched by the passing of time.
Alentejo is also filled with ancient history and on every corner you can discover archeological sites of interest.
The Alentejo area is commonly known as the "bread basket" of Portugal. A fitting title for this vast open
countryside with undulating plains and rich fertile soil. With very few exceptions all the major towns are mainly
reliant on agriculture, livestock and wood. Typical products from this area are grain, sunflower, carthame, fruit,
vegetables, olives, wines, cork, eucalyptus, lamb, pigs, kid, granite, schist and marble. This richness of produce
has been taken from the land for thousands of years as visitors may encounter throughout most of the region signs
of human existence from thousands of years ago. Topographically the countryside varies considerably, from the
open rolling plains of the south of the Alentejo to the granite hills that border Spain in the north-east. To feed the
water needs of this considerable area a number of public dams have been constructed. In the heart of the productive
agriculture zone of Moura, there is the largest dam in Portugal named "Alqueva", and also and one of the largest
water surface areas in Europe. The capital of the "Baixa Alentejo" is Beja, whilst the capital of the Alta Alentejo
is Évora. Both these cities are rich in their history, ruins of historic buildings and occupation, either by Romans,
Vandals, Moors, or feuding royal families within Portugal...