To discover Monsaraz is to travel back in time and being able to relive history in the present moment. And there is so much to see and feel in this charming time machine, right in the heart of the Alentejo!
On a privileged hilltop overlooking the Guadiana and the Spanish border, Monsaraz was once highly coveted by multiple civilizations that contested it ever since prehistoric times. In the region, several hundred archaeological sites of the Paleolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age periods can be witnessed.
The walls that surround the village guard a welcoming village, where the light caresses the picturesque and traditional homes of the hospitable people of this land. In any restaurant, the visitor is toasted with the echoes of Cante Alentejano, a polyphonic type of singing proclaimed in 2014 as a UNESCO Intangible World Heritage Site.
Monsaraz is also one of the main sites for Astrotourism in Portugal. The Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve was the first in the world to obtain Starlight Tourism Destination certification, attesting to the unique features of the Alentejo village’s night sky.
For those venturing to discover narrow streets, sunny nooks and crannies or high points such as the Bell Tower and the Witch Tower, the sense of wonder and surprise caused by the magnificent, traditional landscape now enriched by the beauty of the Great Alqueva Lake is a certainty.
In addition to the environmental factors that result from the combination of Mediterranean and Atlantic influences, with a wide range of colours flowing according to nature’s cycles, gastronomy is also one of the strong dishes of this region, it being the reflection of the use and combination of herbs, olive oil and bread. Consequently, the presence of traditional Alentejo bread, olives, cheese and sausages is mandatory at any local table.