When I heard that ATOP (Association of Tour Operators to Portugal) were offering a FAM trip to the Alentejo, I jumped at the opportunity. A lot of what you hear about Portugal is the Algarve and the coastal resorts, so I was intrigued to know what the mid mainland – covering a whole third of the country – had to offer.

On first impressions, the remote agricultural landscape with endless poppy fields, olive and cork trees, was a refreshing change; so when we ventured into the villages of Arraiolos and Alvito to find rich heritage and welcoming local people, it was a real treat!

My favourite part of the trip was undoubtedly the alfresco bread making morning in Alvito – the wonderful wine, hospitality and company of our hosts at ‘Horta do Padre’. I exercised my creative skills to the fullest, by making weird and wonderful shaped buns that didn’t go to waste and were well enjoyed by the local villagers!

To my surprise, the Alentejo hosts Europe’s largest artificial lake called ‘Alquera lake’- where we enjoyed cruising peacefully past the small villages of nearby Almieira and Monsaraz, in the shining sun.

The tour was nicely finished off with a stay in the walled UNESCO town of Evora with its cobbled streets, catholic churches and vibrant town squares – a must for culture-seekers and gourmet-diners alike.

Sunvil Discovery offers 7 night BB stays in Evora, Alentejo from £684 per person, with TAP flights and car hire.