We all know the Algarve, with its endless coves and sandy beaches to explore. But, beyond the tourist hustle and bustle, if you head a little further inland, then you can find a quiet, unspoilt region with even more affordable property. This is the Alentejo, literally ‘Beyond the Tagus River’. It’s a region of rolling plains, olive groves and cork tree woods, dotted with picturesque, whitewashed villages and towns. This week, we’re looking at the best areas to buy in this beautiful part of Portugal.


This ancient town is packed with history, featuring a Roman amphitheatre and one of Portugal’s largest medieval cities. It’s a convenient place to live to enjoy the quiet of the Alentejo’s countryside while still being able to walk to shops and services. The Jardim Diana, a public garden and square in the town centre, is the centre of town life.

Vila Nova de Milfontes


Vila Nova de Milfontes is one of the best beach spots in the Alentejo.

Vila Nova de Milfontes is one of the best beach spots in the Alentejo.


Even in summer, the sandy beach here isn’t too crowded, although it gets busy with Portuguese tourists in summer. The sea can be a little chilly, but, it’s fine once you’re in! The beautiful Mira River flows through the town, a haven for many bird and marine species.

The town’s cobbled streets are lined with cafés and bars, with more modern architecture close to the seaside and further out. The village is connected to the Rota Vicentina, a hiking route leading through several charming towns.


Situated in the natural park of Vale do Guardiano, Mértola is a beautiful town in unusually green surroundings. The centre is home to tightly-packed, traditional homes, but more modern ones on the outskirts take advantage of the views from the surrounding hills. The church is an interesting example of Moorish architecture, having originally been a mosque.

The surrounding countryside is mainly rolling pine and eucalyptus forests, punctuated by regions of grasslands.



Beja is a historic, whitewashed town, typical of the Alentejo.

Beja is a historic, whitewashed town, typical of the Alentejo. Studio F22 Ricardo Rocha / Shutterstock.com


Beja is another historic, whitewashed town, located further inland. Like many Portuguese towns, it has a beautiful square overlooked by its historic church and castle, with a main street leading further out. Houses are generally traditional, built closely together in narrow streets to keep them cool in the glorious heat of the summer.

The castle, the Torre de Menagem, is particularly notable for being built entirely of marble. There’s a popular local tea house, Maltesinhas, where you’ll find many locals on a Saturday afternoon.

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