Enjoy all their intimate charms at Nature’s pace.
The Caminhos de Santiago Alentejo e Ribatejo cross two very distinct territories: different in their customs and traditions, in the way their peoples live, in the colours of their landscapes and the experiences they offer. Although they may differ,
they share a distinctive genuineness that makes them unique and differentiates them from all others that help define the country’s borders. To travel these Caminhos is to enjoy all their charms at nature’s pace.
The Golden Plains
The Alentejo’s landscape stretches as far as the eye can see, where the sun’s golden glow blurs with the endless plains,
dappled with battlements of whitewashed dwellings. It’s a land of quietude, marking the rhythm of its peoples, and the authenticity of its stillintact regional identity. With an unrivalled natural patrimony and terrain, it has embraced a rural way of life, which grants its landscapes distinct and unique characteristics.
Once known as the country’s “barn”, it is Portugal’s largest region, a name that not only symbolises its landscapes, but also an ancient way of living.
Its uses are also ancestral, from which traditions have arisen, to be savoured at the table, heard in the Cante Alentejano, seen in its monuments, its ceramics and tapestries, and celebrated in festivals and religious processions. All of which can be taken home in the form of outstanding products: the richness of the olive grove transformed into exceptional olive oils, the richness of the pastries that satisfy the gluttony, the honey, the smoked ham…
The green of the ‘Lezírias’
The plains become lezírias – marshlands of the Ribatejo, expanses of green where once golds reigned. A region
that many still refer to as ‘Beira do Tejo’ (Banks of the Tagus) or ‘Borda d’Água’ (River’s Edge), for having the Tagus river as its neighbour, the river that crosses and weaves through, making its lands fertile and a constant source of inspiration. Besides the marshes there are moorlands, rice fields that the Tagus bathes more thoroughly, and the neighborhoods, with their golden grains. The lushness of the meadows provide nourishment for livestock and a stage for the ‘merry dance’ of herds of wild bulls and horses. A region with a culture marked by its traditional costume and by its dances, such as the fandango, already popular on the 18th century among nobles and commoners in fairs
and festivals. In the Ribatejo version it is danced to the sound of accordions, fifes, mouthorgans, harmoniums and clarinets. The figure of the ‘Campino’ (cattle helder) reigned, dressed in a red waistcoat and green cap. Its cultural heritage includes the azulejo tile work, panels of vibrant colour that represent five centuries of history and adorn both exteriors and interiors; the rustic bread, the tomato and the rice, ingredients of a unique cuisine, the art of basketry and the coopers’ woodworking, which symbolise the union between Man and Nature.