The south-central region of Portugal, known as the Alentejo, stretches from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to Spain in the east, and is bordered on the north by the Tagus River, and on the south by the Algarve. It includes part of the state of S├ętubal as well as the states of Portalegre, Beja and Evora.
The Alentejo consists of rolling hills, quiet olive groves, fields and fields of cork trees, and several rivers. The towns here tend to be small and picturesque, and the cities, like Evora, tend to have very long histories. Some of Portugal’s best parks are here as well, and there are some nice beaches on the western coast.
The area is known as Portugal’s breadbasket, and much of the local economy is agricultural in nature. Cork and olives are two of Portugal’s most important exports, and the Alentejo is also known for excellent cheeses, ham, wine and sausages. There are also large marble quarries in the area.
One highlight of the Alentejo is the picturesque town of Evora, which is home to a sort-of still standing Roman Temple as well as the creepy Bone Chapel. Not far from Evora is Estremoz, which is home to a fine castle. The city of Portalegre is popular with visitors for its tapestry workshops, old convents and museums. The historic city of Beja, which seems to have somehow been involved in every peninsular war for the last 2,000 years, is home to an interesting castle. It also houses the Museo da Rainha D. Leonor, one of the most important museums in the country, which features stunning religious art showcased in a fifteenth-century convent.