Your ACTIVITIES DURING YOUR HOLIDAYS

Overview

The property is surrounded by eucalyptus woods and cork oaks trees and is located 10 km from the Guadiana Natural Park (70,000 ha.).

This rural area is perfect for walks and for mountain biking activities.

The lake is perfect for canoeing, fishing or swimming.

During your stay you will absolutely have to enjoy the local gastronomy of Alentejo.

The region also offers the possibility of exploring ancient Roman fortresses.

For those who have a preference for tranquility, rest or tanning, nothing could be simpler: the swimming pool and the lake await you.

This region of Portugal boasts one of the purest skies in Europe which allows you to enjoy magnificent starry nights without any light interference and sweet dreams for young people.

THE REGION
Discover the landscapes and take advantage of its assets

Some pictures of the region

Herd of sheep in the Serpa region
Landscape of the region with a wheat field in the foreground

Guadiana Natural Park

You will find a great diversity of landscapes.

You pass from deep valleys criss-crossed by the river and its tributaries to vast wild plains populated by denser shrubs and holm oak groves, but also by pines and eucalyptus.

Guadiana valley with a field of cistus in the foreground

To be able to admire the flowers and to smell the nature, the best time of the year to explore this area is the spring in order to avoid the high temperatures of summer that this area has. 

You can discover the protected space following specific foot paths/bike routes. The routes are well signaled and they are easy to access. It is also possible to go down the Guadiana river by canoe.

  • The park is located at 15-20 minutes of the “monte” road.

  • Don´t forget your water bottle and binoculars in order to observe the birds such as storks, black eagle, bluebird, singing cuckoo, etc…

 

Birth of lynx

A must : The town of SERPA

Serpa is one of the most beautiful towns in the province of Alentej. This medieval city, partly fortified, was founded in 400 BC. AD by the Turdelos. Of Moorish origin, its castle was rebuilt by King Dinis at the end of the 13th century, but was badly damaged during the Spanish invasion in 1707

SERPA: The aqueduct in the castle wall at Serpa, Portugal

Serpa offers spectacular views from its ramparts and allows walking along certain sections. You can also enjoy its archaeological museum and admire its magnificent aqueduct and the remains of its old keep.

Serpa is located 20km from our gîte.

You will take the IP8 route which offers a garland of stork’s nest overhanging telephone poles.

The region is also appointments not to be missed

M a r c h

SERPA

For cheese lovers, come and whet your taste buds at the cheese fair in the Alentej region, including the famous QUEIJO DE SERPA. 

A p r i l

SERPA

la feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Easter Sunday is organized a pilgrimage which receives many faithful. On this day, the image is carried to the village, where it remains there during the two days of the feast of the patron saint. Then it returns to the chapel after being carried in procession through the streets of Serpa, accompanied by the images of all the local saints. The Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe is located south of Serpa on a small hill that offers the best view of the city and the spectacular plains characteristic of the Alentejo.

BEJA

Beja la Romaine Many attractions are on offer. Captivating fire shows, dances accompanied by period music. Various trades are in the spotlight (weaving, mosaics, sewing, gunsmith, archer, blacksmith). Several soldiers’ tents are set up, centurions circle the market area, and military activities interact with the audience.

A u g u s t

SERPA

The city puts on Medieval colors around its castle: (fire-eaters, troubadours, parades, tournaments, sale of local products…)

 S e p t e m b e r

VALE DO POÇO

The Cross-Border Agricultural Fair of Vale do Poço allows producers, local people and visitors to come together in the heart of the Serra de Serpa and Mértola. Here you will find stands of cheese, wine, sausages, olive oil, traditional pastries, organic farming and crafts, as well as taverns with regional gastronomy combined with popular entertainment. , music, hiking and traditional games, among other initiatives.

O c t o b e r

BEJA

Traditional festival with folk dances, bullfights and a local crafts fair.

AROUND THE WATER
Cool off at the lake or pool

You have the choice, a lake surrounded by nature near the cottage, a swimming pool on site or a little further the Guadiana river which crosses the natural park of the same name. For those who prefer large bodies of water, you can enjoy the largest freshwater reservoir in Portugal : Lake Alqueva

Outdoor swimming pool

Piscine

It measures 4 X 9 meters and its water supply works with a reverse osmosis filtration system.

The swimming pool will be open from spring 2022. You can enjoy swimming day and night.

Lake Viegas

300 meters from the cottage, you can enjoy Lake Viegas surrounded by a Eucalyptus forest just for you, or almost.  It is a magical place for swimming, canoeing or fishing. 

We bring the canoes-kayaks to the lake by quad      with vests and drums to keep towels dry.         come and pick up the equipment later in the day on a simple telephone message. 

 

AN OASIS OF QUIETNESS…

     …IN THE HEART OF THE WORLD

Guadiana River

If you like white water, you have about 10 km away, the Guadiana River which crosses the Guadiana Natural Park from north to south to flow, lower down, into the Atlantic Ocean.

Alqueva Lake

An hour’s drive north of Monte Vale Viegas you have the largest artificial lake in Europe with 1160 km of shoreline.

All water sports activities are possible here. If you have a taste for fishing, you will be delighted, the Alqueva is home to a large population of zander as well as other predators.

For those who prefer to discover the lake and its history, a large number of cruises are available.

MTB

Whether on foot or by mountain bike, the region offers very beautiful walks for all tastes, more or less difficult and of different lengths.

The important thing is to have fun by going at your own pace

We have 5 mountain bikes available:    – 2 for adult    – 2 for teen    – 1 for child

To find all the possibilities offered (itineraries, maps, etc.), you can contact the tourist offices in the region.


Posto de Turismo – Castello

Largo Dr. Lima Faleiro

7800-266 BEJA

Tél. +351 284 311 913

Site Web: cm-beja.pt


Posto de Turismo – Serpa

Rua dos Cavalos, 19

7830-341 SERPA

Tél. +351 284 544 727

Site Web: cm-serpa.pt


Posto de Informação Turística de Mértola

Rua da Igreja, 31

7750-354 Mértola

Tél. +351 286 610 109

Site Web: visitmertola.pt

DISCOVER THE WEALTH OF FAUNA AND FLORA

stork

Animal World

The White Stork is one of the largest waders in the world with a size that can reach 1.15 meters in height and 2 meters in wingspan.

It communicates exclusively by snapping its beak, called crackling.

Most often, they build their nests high up, on trees, chimneys, bell towers or telephone poles, as you can see not far from us on the IP8 national road towards Serpa.

The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus)

Copyright © Patrice Raydelet

The Iberian lynx, or lynx pardelle, has a much more spotted coat than other varieties of lynx.

It is distinguished by black brushes at the tips of the ears, a collar of longer hair under the neck, and a short tail ending in a black muff. It is smaller than the lynx found in northern Europe.

The Lynx does not attack humans. It is fearful and rarely lets itself be observed, the lynx is considered a very shy animal. In fact, he is just very discreet. We never had the chance to see him, however he had 5 births of this little feline in the Natural Park of the Guadiana Valley.

The Iberian Magpie (Cyanopica cooki)

A gregarious bird, Cyanopica cooki lives all year round in groups. Loud and screaming, it measures about 35 cm, including at least 20 for the tail. Black head and nape, white throat, light brown to pinkish-beige body, blue wings. Its cry “zschreee” is far from melodious. There is no differentiation between male and female.

The property is rich in trees, shrubs and shrubs. We will be happy to introduce them to you. The estate is also surrounded by eucalyptus woods, holm oaks and cistus (widely used in perfumery). While waiting for your visit, here is an overview:

The Plant World

The property is rich in trees, shrubs and shrubs. We will be happy to introduce them to you. The estate is also surrounded by eucalyptus woods, holm oaks and cistus (widely used in perfumery). While waiting for your visit, here is an overview :

Cork oak (Quercus suber)

 

 

 

As an adult, it produces 3 to 7 kg of cork per year. It has been protected for centuries by a law dating from 1209 prohibiting its felling. Its cork can be mined at regular intervals of 9 years. 

 

set of decorated earthenware tiles
Chêne-Liège

The acorns that the cork tree produces are brown, elongated with a hairy tip.

Website: To learn more about this generous tree 

For beer lovers, take advantage of your stay to taste a beer with cork oak acorns (Keltikia Bolota).

Website: to get to know this Portuguese beer better 

Flower of a silk tree
Flower of a silk tree

Silk tree (Albizia julibrissin)

This tree comes from Asia, it is appreciated as an ornamental plant whose leaves tend to fold in on themselves when night falls and that until the early morning.

Its bark is used in cosmetics, it helps to firm the skin. It also has virtues for bruising and as a vermifuge.

Pomegranate

is one of the fruits with the most antioxidant properties (its effects are said to be superior to those of green tea). This is why its consumption makes it possible to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood, atherosclerosis, blood pressure and thus to prevent cardiovascular diseases. Its seeds are treasures of benefits.

Pomegranate tree (Punica grantum)

The pomegranate tree is a small, very old fruit tree native to the Near East. In the past, the bark of the pomegranate tree was used as a vermifuge and the fresh leaves were infused for their anti-asthmatic properties.

The olive tree (Olea europaea)

is the emblematic tree of the Mediterranean basin which has an exceptional longevity, it can live several 2000, even 3000 years.

Symbol of peace. Since Greco-Roman antiquity, the olive branch has been a symbol of peace in Western culture. Similarly, this symbolism is found in the Bible, when the dove flies over Noah’s ark with an olive branch in its beak, signifying the end of the flood and the appeasement of divine wrath.

the lemon tree (Citrus limon) 

gives off a very pleasant smell, its bark is used to make eau de cologne. The color of lemons is initially green, turning yellow when ripe.

Essential oil of lemon is renowned for its digestive properties, it is however irritating to the skin and photosensitizing, it MUST NOT use in cutaneous application before exposure to the sun.

Young lemons by still mature

Arbutus (Arbutus unedo)

is a shrub native to Mexico remarkable for its fruits, its pretty strawberry-shaped berries and its flowers which look like small bells. 

The arbutus is used to make jam, syrup, liqueur and the famous Portuguese brandy medronho. Its wood is also appreciated in marquetry and for making turned objects. 

The strawberry tree is present on the coats of arms of Madrid, El Madroño o (madroño being the Spanish name of the strawberry tree).

The strawberry tree is a symbol of eternity thanks to its evergreen leaves.

Fig tree

The tea tree / tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) 

is a shrub native to Australia whose leaves have been used medicinally for thousands of years. It should not be confused with the tea tree, which is native to Asia.

It is its essential oil for therapeutic use (antibacterial, anti-infectious, antiviral, disinfectant properties) that makes it famous. 

Liquidambar

Liquidambar (Liquidambar styraciflua)

or American sweetgum is a very popular ornamental tree. In autumn its foliage turns from gold to purplish red. These leaves are similar to those of maple (the only difference is that they are positioned alternately while in maple they are opposite).

The term liquidambar means “liquid amber” and styraciflua means “liquid styrax”. Its honey-colored oily resin was once used as a fixative in perfumery and medicine (anti-diarrheal, anti-stress and stimulant of the respiratory tract).

Medlar

Laurel (Laurus nobilis)

is a shrub that grows on all continents.

It is highly appreciated thanks to the flavor it brings to dishes, it stimulates the appetite and therefore has an aperitif virtue. There are also inedible laurels such as the laurel of the woods). To clearly distinguish the bay leaf, just crumble a leaf and smell it. Only the bay leaf is fragrant. persistent and fragrant since the crumpled leaves give off a balsamic aroma.

Young Bay Laurel Sauce

The laurel has always been considered a lucky charm and a symbol of power. This is why the heroes were once crowned with a crown made from laurel leaves.

Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea)

are tropical shrubs native to Brazil brought back to Europe in the 18th century by the famous navigator Louis-Antoine de Bougainville

Bougainvilleas are climbing, thorny shrubs with flowers that brighten up facades and gardens alike, but do not give off any particular smell.

We often make confusion about its flowers, the richly colored parts that make the decorative interest of Bougainvillea are not flowers but bracts that surround the real flowers which are small and white.

Rosemary

straight trunk of a eucalyptus

Eucalyptus today covers a quarter of the forests of Portugal, from which it draws invaluable wealth thanks to its transformation into paper pulp. logging is a sensitive subject in Portugal because the tree is particularly flammable, therefore catastrophic during fires.

The essential oil from the leaves is particularly appreciated in aromatherapy to fight against winter ailments.

Common Eucalyptus or Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus)

is a large, fast-growing tree (2 m per year) that can reach 20 m in height in 10 years.

Originally from Australia, Eucalyptus was introduced to Europe probably in the 1850s, the tree has acclimatized very well to the Mediterranean shores as well as to Portugal.

 

Cistus ladaniferous (Cistus ladan)

is a shrub more than a meter high. The large crumpled white petals are spotted with purple at the base. Many cistus surround our cottage, the best season to enjoy it is from mid-May to the end of July.

Its branches and leaves are sticky: the gum, which was collected, is now used as a base in perfumery, it was also used as a plaster in medicine. 
The Greeks and Romans knew cistus well. They extracted from certain species an aromatic resin, ladanum, which they burned as incense.
 

 

Cistus essential oil is regenerating and tonic. Drying, it is ideal for oily and acne-prone skin. On the psychic level, it participates in regulating the neurovegetative system while strengthening your energy.

Cistus hydrosol is used to moisturize the skin to prevent skin aging, heal small wounds and helps calm irritations of reactive skin.

GASTRONOMY

The essential dishes and drinks

The cuisine of the region will allow you to live a culinary adventure that will delight both gourmets and gourmands.

PORCO PRETO

Black pork is prepared in many ways across the country, but no one prepares ham quite like here. The porco preto (black pig) is a highly prized native breed of the peninsula whose distinctive taste is often influenced by its diet of cork oak acorns. It is found in charcuterie, salami and in a stew with clams called carne de porco à alentejana.

The famous black pig of the Alentejo region

AÇORDA

This national dish allows you to reuse your old bread. It consists of bread crushed with garlic, olive oil, vinegar, water, coriander, white pepper, salt and poached eggs. Often called bread soup because its texture is more like that of porridge. This dish will take on another dimension by adding a hint of pili-pili (red pepper).

ENSOPADO DE BORREGO

Slowly simmered to melt in your mouth, this braised Alentejo lamb stew will blow your taste buds away. It perfectly combines onions, parsley, cloves, garlic, bay leaves, pepper, and cider and cider vinegar.

POEJO

Poejo is a digestive made from pennyroyal with an alcohol content of up to 20% This sweet liqueur made from Pouliot mint (Mentha pulegium). This medicinal plant comes from southern Europe. There are three versions of this digestive :

      • green (made from fresh green pennyroyal); 
      • yellow (made from dried Pouliot mint); 
      • transparent (made by exposing it to the sun).

SERICAIA

This soft dessert, typical of our region and very old. It is a kind of soufflé omelette with cinnamon, a pure sweetness. It’s simply delicious.

 

COZIDO DE GRÃO À ALENTEJAN

This is a dish eaten all over the country but advantageously revisited in the region. It consists of boiled sausages (chouriça, morcela and farinheira) of chickpeas, to which have added carrots, green beans and potatoes. 

it is also to decorate it with a sauce made with fresh mint.

THE « MIGAS »

Migas are a mixture of bread, olive oil and garlic. They go well with fried pork or shredded cod, for example.

You will savor a harmonious combination of intense flavors and soft texture.

PORCO MEAT IN ALENTEJANA

A land and sea dish: Pork and clams. Two steps for this exceptional dish :

  •  Marinate the black pork in white wine, minced garlic, coriander and paprika, without forgetting the chili paste.
  • Brown in the pan and mix with clams and potatoes

QUEIJO DE SERPA

This Serpa cheese is made from raw sheep’s milk, salt and thistle. During its 35-day ripening period it is periodically brushed with olive oil and paprika. It can be enjoyed creamy (amanteigado) or firm (duro), either spread like butter or sliced ​​and served simply with bread. 
You should also try its lesser-known cousin, the fresh
 “requeijão”, which is eaten with honey. The latter is the main ingredient of the “queijada”, one of the best pastries in Portugal.

Typical restaurants – Traditional cuisine

The Portuguese rarely invite themselves to their homes and prefer to meet at the restaurant with friends or family, which explains the large number of restaurants. And there’s something for every budget.

It would take too long to list all the restaurants in Beja, Serpa, Vila Nova de Sao Bento… however we recommend:

 

Restaurant in SERPA: Restaurante Molho Bico

Typical Portuguese restaurant with traditional decoration. Very warm welcome, fast and impeccable service. Ideal if you want to taste the specialties of the region. Very good value for money.

Rua Quente 1, Serpa

+351 284 549 264

Restaurant in PIAS: Restaurante O Adro

Unique, not only in authenticity but also in service. High quality regional products and exemplary traditional confection!.

Largo de Santo Antonio 20, Pias

+351 284 858 456