The village of Marvao in Alentejo, Portugal.

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.

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