The “Portuguese desert” called Alentejo is not only about dry climate, flatlands and miles in communion with nature where’s not a soul in sight. It’s also about an Iberian land full of rich cultural heritage. You’d be wrong if you thought this desert doesn’t have great and amazing coastal oasis to relax in the sun and for a swim in the Atlantic.
Like many of the peripheral lands in the country, this one is marked by ancestral difficulties that shaped the strength of the people and the traditional cooking. The traditional Alentejo Bread is considered by many as the best bread in the world and comes from the saying “make the most from the little you got”. In old times when there was not much to eat besides flour and water the Portuguese from this area decided to be inventive because if they had too little to eat they had to eat well.
One of the biggest musical tradition besides Fado – a unique way to express through singing. It’s recognised as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. As many other Portuguese traditions, it’s a result of the joy in adversity. Men or women sang while working in the field to overcome fatigue and the suffering from the heat. They also sang in group during times of celebration or while going home which shows the impact and relevance of this activity.
Some of the most beautiful beaches of this country are in Alentejo, in Vicentina Coast. A gastronomic, natural and sunny route that was for too long a hidden secret in Portugal even though it’s the home of the greatest natural treasures of this country.