The Alentejo region is a large sparsely populated agricultural region. It is one of the poorest regions of Portugal, and indeed Europe. Rural traditions are still very strong in the region.
Backpackers: will probably want to continue south to the Algarve or north to Lisbon.
With your own transport: you might want to stop at the beaches between Porto Covo and Zambujeira, or go inland to the towns of Evora and Beja.
Evora is the only town of any size, offering a few interesting sites. Beja and Serpa offer some sites of interest. Elvas has impressive fortifications. There are the hilltop towns of Monsarez, Evora Monte and Marvao. The marble towns of Estremoz, Borba and Vila Vicosa offer a strange site, as near everything is made from marble from the local quarries.
The coastal region offers small towns with beautiful quiet beaches. In summer the Atlantic ocean is calm and warm enough to swim. You won’t find the development or high levels of tourism that are present in the Algarve. It’s a great place to find peace and quiet.
There are reasonable rail and bus connections in the area. Having your own transport helps greatly. There are a good number of good value pensaos in the bigger towns, and a good selection of campsites. Costs here are amongst the cheapest in Portugal, outside of Evora.
Evora is the only sizeable town in the Alentejo, and is one of the most interesting in Portugal. Evora is relaxed and atmospheric. The primary sites are a Roman temple, Moorish alleys, medieval walls and a collection of churches. The Capela dos Ossos of the Igreja de Sao Francisco church is a stunning site. The capela is lined with the bones of more than 5,000 monks, collection from the 42 monastic cemeteries around the city.
Evora has a train station and bus terminal with connections to nearby towns and further destinations including Lisbon and The Algarve.
There are a good number of pensaos, hotels and a youth hostel in Evora. There is also a good campsite within walking distance of the city. Prices are higher than the rest of the Alentejo. During summer it is worth booking ahead.
There is a reasonable nightlife in Evora, fueled by the student population.
There are several interesting megalithic sites around Evora. These are best explored with your own transport, but bus tours do run to some sites, check at the turismo.
Beja is a nice traditional town, with some new developments. The municipal campsite is very cheap.