Why you should leave Lisbon for the rough-hewn Alentejo on your next trip to Portugal

As Portugal looks like a likely candidate for the UK’s green list, Mark Jones explores a beautiful slice of the rural Alentejo region

Mark Jones@markmywordsltd
Thursday 06 May 2021 14:01
<p>Madonna has a farm in the Alentejo region</p>

Madonna has a farm in the Alentejo region

Have you heard that Beyoncé has bought a cottage in Shropshire? No? That may be because it’s not true. But the story is only slightly less likely than one that is: Madonna has a farm in the Alentejo region of Portugal.

As ever, the Queen of Pop is riding a fashion wave. Pre-pandemic, there was a mini-boom in Americans snapping up properties in Portugal’s biggest, most rural and least-visited region. They come here on cycling and walking holidays, then return to hunt houses. They love the low prices, the low taxes, the food and the wine. Everyone is friendly, and most of them speak English.

And maybe Alentejo plays to a very back-to-the-land American narrative: it has wide-open spaces, not many people and a stuff-you attitude to anything that comes out of central government. An Alentejo friend told me he went to pay his taxes at the local office and the official happily spent an hour showing him how to get away with paying less to her bosses in Lisbon.

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