Alentejo Rewrite

My Alentejo Circuit guidebook is currently undergoing a major rewrite – and I’m hoping to have the new, fully-updated edition out in September. Or as soon after as possible.

I had been thinking of starting work on a new, more general, guidebook to Portugal this summer but then I realised it was more than five years since I published The Alentejo Circuit.

I’ve sold quite a few copies since 2014 and there’s nothing substantially wrong with the book. But things do change. Some roads (and towns) have got busier. Some former dirt tracks are now sealed. Junctions have been altered…

I’ve also had lots of feedback from helpful riders who have ridden the circuit. And noticed the odd little mistake, like where I’ve told them one road goes under another rather than the other way around!

(Might seem like a minor detail but when you’ve never been somewhere before in your life then these little inconsistencies can be a worry.)

I’m not making many tweaks to the main route as I still think this generally works well. But I am trying to add in some important updates, such as the fact that Reguengos de Monsaraz is now the home to Sharish Gin – famous for its Blue Magic gin.

Maybe I’m easily pleased but I was extremely impressed when I first came across a gin that was bright blue when neat but turned pink with the addition of tonic!

Anyway, as someone who likes to share these important cultural insights, I thought I should let other people know that the Sharish distillery – which is open for visits – is just a few hundred metres off my route. Probably best to stay in Reguengos that night.

I am making a few changes to the route of the Coastal Extension – which gives directions for an extra loop going out to the coast from either Almodôvar or Castro Verde.

Route from Castro Verde – click on map for details and download options

That section is getting slightly longer. Mainly in the interests of taking riders on an even prettier route and avoiding one road in particular that seems to have got a lot busier in recent years.

Anyway, I can’t promise a particular date but I’m aiming to have it all done in a month or so. (Hopefully less.) And if anyone wants to know when the new edition is published, just put your details in the contact form below and I’ll update you in due course.

Alternatively, if you fancy a trip across the Alentejo but prefer having everything arranged for you – and a support van to carry the luggage – we still have three places on our Southern Explorer tour in March, which also starts from Évora and visits a few of the same places (Moura, Mértola) as the Alentejo Circuit.

Menhir near Castelo de Vide in the spring – one of the destinations on the Border Castles tour

Or if you fancy exploring the north-east Alentejo, there’s our Border Castles tour, which takes place towards the end of March. That’s my wife, Carolyn’s, favourite tour and, although it can be a bit more showery than the autumn*, spring is when the region definitely looks its prettiest. (*Last time we did the tour in spring we had one rain shower – while we were all undercover eating our picnic lunch.)

And don’t forget – Pedal Portugal’s guided cycle tours are recommended as excellent in the current Lonely Planet guide!

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