Take a walk (or even a drive) around Portugal’s Alentejo region and for much of the time you might find yourself wondering where all the people have gone. The region is sparsely populated and with most visitors to Portugal heading to the southern beaches of the Algarve or to Lisbon, it’s easy to imagine that you’ve got the place to yourself.
That’s not to say that the region doesn’t have its lively centres. Evora, a historic city with Roman roots, does attract the day-trippers from the capital, while the roads around the lovely old town of Beja do get clogged up with local traffic. But for the bulk of the time we spent in the Alentejo, we experienced the joys of the open road and, while walking on the Rota Vicentina, the open trail.
The Alentejo is a fabulously photogenic part of the world and the intense brightness of the midday sun gives way to a perfect golden glow on sunny evenings (at least the ones we experienced were pretty much all sunny).
Here are just a few of our pictures from our visit to the Alentejo, that give a small sense of the gentle pace of life in the south-west corner of Europe.