LisbonStories goes South

     It’s no secret that I love the north of Portugal but I have to admit that the south has its charm too.

     Alentejo is a land of small towns, small businesses and old traditions, still hand-made. It’s also a region that takes its time to explore, as time goes by very slowly. This way, I decided to spend a couple of days, with time and no defined schedule or itinerary, to discover this region.

     To start, I’ll be joining a wine course provided by Silvia from “Wine Time – Da vinha ao copo“. Silvia is the person that does our winery tours in Alentejo. Her knowledge about wine and the wine-making process has been impressing me and our clients so much that I begged her to create a wine course. She was skeptic at first, but the course sold out quite fast!

     After the course? I don’t know. Small dairies and sausages factories, a huge dam, archaeological sites, small towns and old craftsmen are all on my list.  It may take me longer to update our facebook page, but as a reward, I promise I’ll be including some of these places in our tours.

     Looking for unique wine tours? Just keep posted!

Discover Evora

After my last post about Évora tour with wine tasting and picnic lunch several people emailed me asking more information about Évora. Here is the answer:

Évora is the main town of Alentejo, an undiscovered region in the South of Portugal. The landscape is marked by the green of the grass, brown of the land and the white of the white washed with the blue or yellow stripes around the doors and windows frames.

Évora isn’t a big city, but going there from Lisbon on a daytrip, it has plenty to keep you busy and entertained. Close to St Francis church there’s the farmers market, where one can sample and see the regional products such as cheeses, sausages, vegetables and honey. Besides being excellent, all my customers keep tipping the farmers as they can’t believe how cheap things are.

In terms of heritage one can start the visit with the Bones chapel (which walls are covered by human bones, taken from a cemetery in the 17th century), St. Francis church, Graça church, Giraldo square, the main square of the town; the Roman temple (built 1800 years ago) and finally, the Cathedral. Évora’s cathedral is one of the few places where you can find an image of Our Lady pregnant, inside a church. The image dates back from the 16th century, but in the 17th century they were all forbidden and destroyed, which makes it even more special.

If you’re thinking about coming back to Évora, don’t leave the town without visiting “Pousada dos Lóios”, a luxury state inn installed in a former monastery, from the 16th century. And don’t forget to book the tour!

Looking forward to visiting Évora? Share your thoughts with me and this article with your friends.

Évora with picnic lunch and wine tasting

    Yesterday I had the most amazing day with Carol and her family. They are a happy family of 6 composed by her parents, her and her husband and two kids, aged 8 and 14. They all wanted to visit Évora but while her husband wanted to visit a winery and try some wines, her parents wanted to see the country-side and her kids wanted to do something fun.

    In order to please everyone we visited Évora in the morning and once they were feeling hungry we drove towards a vineyard where between cork-oak trees and endless vineyards there was a wooden table set with regional products. Cheeses, hams, chicken pies, regional sweets and liqueurs, bread and jams, as well as fruit composed the menu. While parents could eat and taste some regional wines and liqueurs, the kids could run around vineyards and scratch pieces of cork from the trees.

    The picnic was provided by a local company of wine experts, so, all the products were fresh and we didn’t need to worry about cleaning the table or so. Once we finished eating we visited the winery where everyone could learn about the wine production and its complicated process. Since the kids were very interested in cork, we also visited a cork-factory in a really small town, far from everything, where they could learn more about the cork process and see how things are made.

By the way, here’s the tour link. If you’re looking for a romantic tour this can be an idea.  Imagine you and your partner having a picnic lunch on your own, tasting great wines in an idyllic landscape on the shade of cork-oak trees and vineyards…