The ramshackle palafitte port of Carrasqueira is built on stilts and is a must visit on any trip to Portugal’s Alentejo.
The Alentejo is the less well known centre of Portugal, sitting south of Lisbon, and north of the more popular Algarve. It seems slightly neglected in favour of Lisbon and the port producing Douro valley to the north, and the sunny Algarve to the south, full of the second homes of British holiday makers. I’d not heard of it before my visit, which is a shame, but on the other hand I went with no preconceptions and an open mind.
The Alentejo is a massive area, predominately rural, sparsely populated, and has a slightly timeless feel about it. It is certainly well worth a visit, the region is in within easy reach of Lisbon, but you do need to be prepared to drive for a few hours between towns, but the peace, tranquillity and slower pace of life make for a relaxing trip. For those, like me, who are always thinking ahead to the next meal both the food and wine are excellent.
Portugal has been cropping up on list after list as one of the hottest destinations to visit in 2017. Shamefully I’d never been before last year, although Lisbon has been on my must go to list for years, so it is time to go before it gets really popular. It is ideal for British visitors – a short flight from London, a warm climate, and a genuine fondness for the British from the Portuguese people – the Anglo-Portugese treaty was established in 1373, making the oldest alliance in the world which is still in force.
Our first stop was the fascinating palafitte, or stilted fishing port of Carrasqueira. A ramshackle series of interconnected walkways and buildings extend over the Sado river estuary.
Wtih a very muddy river bank the jettys were the only way to access to boats at low tide.
Over the years the port has grown and grown, with walkways extending this way and that. First built over 200 years ago, it looks as if planks and stilts have been used for repairs as and when needed, and more modern pallets have been requisitioned for use as walkways.
Despite the weather (there was both a gale and pouring rain when I was there) it is both a beautiful and fascinating place and slightly eerie when completely deserted, and I’d have happily lingered for longer taking photos, and would have longed to have gone back both at sunset and in the sun to take more photos. It actually was so windy that I was slightly concerned about slipping and landing in the mud beneath with a gentle splat.
Fuss Free Flavours was the guest of Tap Portugal. We shall be covering more of the sights and flavours of the Alentejo in later posts. All opinions our own.
TAP Portugal flies direct from London Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester to Lisbon up to 10 times daily, prices start at £41 one way including all taxes and surcharges.
For further information, visit FlyTap.com or call 0345 601 0932.