The village of Marvao in Alentejo, Portugal.
Alamy
July 12, 2022 7:06 AM EDT

Reclining between Lisbon and Algarve, the Alentejo—Portugal’s most rural and least populated region—is dotted with picturesque towns separated by cork forests and olive groves. But its many new goings-on offer a contrast with its unhurried pace.

In the ancient city of Estremoz, the new Museu Berardo Estremoz preserves traditional crafts like tile making. In Esperança, a roughly 10-mile trail through the Serra de São Mamede Nature Park takes hikers past 6,000-year-old cave paintings and birds of prey, including Bonelli’s eagles and Griffon vultures. A grownup theme park, Vila do Gin, is dedicated to the namesake spirit. After a day of adventure, visitors can stay at the new Octant Évora, nestled amid orchards and meadows. And the towns of Elvas and Évora, both UNESCO World Heritage sites, have a raft of new accommodations—including Vila Galé Collection Elvas, Travassos 11, and Hotel o Canto—that tastefully blend with their historic surroundings.

More Must-Read Stories From TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com.

Dolni Morava, Czech Republic
Doha, Qatar
Miami
International Space Station
Setouchi Islands, Japan
EDIT POST