Alentejo is the least populated region of Portugal. This vast, gently undulated landscape, with a sparse vegetation of mostly cork oaks and olive trees, and occasional quinta or ruin atop a hill resembles savannah, is a place to see when discovering Portugal. The summers are usually very hot but spring and late summer would be an ideal time to visit the in-land Alentejo. Many Adegas (cellars) also run boutique hotels, so you can take part of the wine harvest, or taste the flavours of their local produce.
Today’s Caldas da Rainha is a vibrant town housing commercial centers, shops, public services, museums and parks and where history and modern life go hand in hand. Shopping in Caldas, as called by the locals, is a great fun, too. Explore the shoe, bag and fashion stores on the main shopping streets along Praça da Republica, or in the Vivaci indoor shopping center.
Buddha Eden Garden, or Jardim de Paz (Garden of Peace) is a landscaped park of about 35 hectares around Quinta dos Loridos designed as a response to the Taliban’s barbaric destruction of the Giant Bamyan Buddhas in central Afganistan. Next to enjoying the tranquility of the oriental gardens, you can also taste wine of Quinta dos Loridos or observe the harvest of the bark from the cork oak trees.
A trip to Alcobaca, located about 40 km north of Obidos on A8, will make a nice day trip if you stay on the Costa da Prata. The well-known Monastery of Santa Maria d’Alcobaca, inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage Site list, was founded in the 12th century. Its monumental size, the purity of its architectural style, the beauty of the materials and the care with which it was built make this a masterpiece of Cistercian Gothic art.