Discover countryside hotels and rural retreats in Alentejo, Portugal

Accessed via the super-speedy A6 motorway from Lisbon, Alentejo’s parched, Out of Africa-style landscape –dotted with mediaeval castles and forts built to repel any potential Spanish invasion – is one of the most tranquil spaces in western Europe. Pata Negra pigs graze lazily on acorns in the fields, building up their body weight for an inevitable appearance on one of the region’s gourmet, pork-focused menus, while, at night, shooting stars splash through the clear, unpolluted sky. There’s not a stressed-out urbanite in the world that wouldn’t love to be exiled to this part of Iberia.