|Private tours in Lisbon & surroundings||
Cross the bridge “Vasco da Gama” over Tagus river, and have a superb view of Lisbon. Drive across the largest cork
region in the world for an exciting journey into the past.
We arrive to Moura, a town named “a green Oasis in the breast of a sea of golden cornfields”. The luminous white
washed quarters, the majestic sobriety of the castle and the architectonical wealth proves a miscellany of cultural
inheritances, among which stand out the Roman and Arab, which characterized this town, its legends and traditions.
The Arab influence is still visible at this peaceful town, surrounded by oaks and olive trees, particularly in the narrow
streets and low whitewashed houses, with their peculiar chimneys, of the Moorish quarter.
The castle of Moura is another memory of muslim times. Atalaia de Cabeça Magra is a famous watchtower, which was
built in the 15th century and is a popular destination of Moura. Integrated in the town´s historical center, the Moorish
Quarter is one of the biggest and best preserved of Southern Portugal, a live witness of the Muslim rule. The quarter is
formed by three streets and an alley, where the whitewashed houses gleam and the Arab characteristics are extremely
marked. It is here that the Museum Árabe stands. The churches boasts of their brilliant architecture and historical
backdrop. The church of Nossa Senhora do Carmo keeps its cloister of Gothic and Renaissance influence.
Nature lovers will enjoy the beauty of the banks of the river Guadiana, where typical oar-boats, hexagonal and with
flat bottom, are still used.
Next is Serpa. Famous for its creamy cheeses, pork sausage and sweets, Serpa is a sleepy agricultural hilltop town of white houses, called the
white city, still languishing in the Middle Ages. The small market town offers the classic Alentejan attractions – a walled centre, a castle and
narrow, whitewashed streets of handsome bougainvillea-clad houses (many of them faced with azulejos and latticed XV century windows) and
lush gardens. Of Moorish origin, Serpa's castle with several doorways, was rebuilt by King Dinis in the late 13th century and affords a superb
view of the town and surrounding countryside – the wild beauties of Guadiana river, endless fields of grain and cork-oak groves. Owing to its
rich past, Serpa offers much in historical interest to visitors, including numerous interesting old churches.
An then comes Beja, commandingly perched on a hill in the fertile plain of Baixo Alentejo and also an oasis amid the sweltering, featureless
wheat fields. History reaches back to the roman times. Moorish architecture is visible in the cobbled streets and houses of the old town, and a
castle from the 13th century overlooks the immense flat area of Alentejo one of the most important agricultural regions of Portugal. Many
buildings are whitewashed in the traditional Alentejano style, adorned with Moorish chimneys and intricate azulejo tiles.
The most prominent historical structure is the medieval Castelo de Beja. The imposing marble keep tower is the tallest in Portugal. Climb the
spiral staircase to the battlements, which offer an incomparable view over Beja and the golden plains. With its many fine old buildings and
winding alleys lined with gleaming white houses, some of them with charming iron grilles, windows, doorways and covered arcades, make its
old town well worth a visit on any tour of Portugal. Beja reveals an unhurried old quarter with a cluster of churches and a beautiful convent.
The whitewashed church of Santo Amaro dates back to the 5th century, an example of architecture from the Visigothic period. The grandiose
Convento de Nossa Senhora da Conceição is a national monument.
The best place to rest after a sightseeing walk is in Praça Diogo Fernandes.
And finally we proceed to Cuba, a quiet little town in Alentejo created in the XIII century and which is said to be the birth place of Christopher
Columbus, discoverer of America - we'll see his statue in one of the main squares of the village. Drive across the narrow streets of Cuba, a village
nestled deep in the Alentejo countryside that offers up wonderful restaurants and local gastronomic delights. This lovely and historical place
offers a friendly and warm welcome from its locals who will share stories with you on the origins of the village’s name. Tradition is big here,
with weekly summer parties and an abundance of wine tasting.
The miles and miles of open fields provide you with a backdrop that will tantalize your eyes and offer you the opportunity to witness wildlife
and nature at it’s best.
|...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...