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8 days / 7 nights

The Alentejo Region stretches from the Tagus River at Lisbon, south to the Algarve. Its terracotta earth is covered in wheat fields bordered by rows of olive trees marching up and down the rolling hills like Roman centurions. Here and there white washed villages and towns appear, crowned by castles. The ancients left their megaliths, the Romans their aquaducts, the Portuguese a wealth of architecture from Gothic to Baroque. Today some of the old arts and crafts are still practiced in this region; here too cooking and wine-making reflect a rich culinary tradition. In the spring, the Alentejo is carpeted in wildflowers; in the summer, wheat, oats, and sunflowers blanket the fields; in the autumn, grapes and olives ripen.

dishThe Refúgio da Vila Cooking School is in a small town outside Évora; based in the Vila manor house with pool and patios, guests can relax in elegant rooms between lessons in a superb kitchen and touring the unspoiled countryside. The program can accommodate non-cooking partners.

Portuguese cuisine is simple, characterized by a rich variety of regional dishes. Of course, the famous national dish is bacalhau, dried, salted cod, whose origins date to the 14th century. And there is so much more… Gathering herbs and produce from the local markets and pairing them to timeless recipes, cooks of all levels can roll up their sleeves in the Vila kitchen and prepare a variety of succulent Mediterranean dishes influenced by this rich region.

Day 1Refugio Da Vila Cooking School - Image ©Refugio da Vila
Arrival in Lisbon, transfer to your down-town hotel by taxi. Enjoy free time before a Welcome Reception and Dinner this evening.
Overnight: Hotel Real Palacio or similar  D

Day 2
This morning, you move to the small Alentejano town of Portel, your base for the week. After an orientation walk around Portel, past the 13th century castle and Baroque Church, and lunch, you’ll enter a Portuguese kitchen and have your first Cooking Class: Intro-duction to Portuguese Gastronomy, a study in influences and seasonings. Dinner at Adega do Refúgio.
Overnight: Refúgio da Vila  B L D

Day 3
After breakfast your second Cooking Class begins: The Importance of Fish and Olive Oil in Portuguese Cuisine. This afternoon you’ll visit the Esporão Wine Estate, which blends ancient and modern winemaking techniques. The grapes of this wine region include Periquita, Trincadeira, Tinta Roriz, and Moreto for red wines, and Roupeiro, Manteudo, Perrum, Rabo de Ovelha for whites—all Portuguese varietals as well as Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.  The nearby Arts & Crafts Center of Reguengos displays a wonderful collection of Alentejo wares. The road winds past megalithic sites to the thousand-year-old village of Monsaraz. Here you’ll dine under the shadow of the 13th century castle built by King Afonso III. 
Overnight: Refúgio da Vila B L D

Day 4
Today’s focus is on local produce in the second Cooking Class: The Abundance from Local Quintas/Farms and Ranches. This afternoon, you’ll tour nearby Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Cultural Center of the Alentejo, and a beautiful white town with a wealth of monuments, from Roman times to the 19th century. After a walking tour, you’ll have free time to explore and shop on your own. Dinner at Adega do Refúgio.
Overnight: Refúgio da Vila B L D

Day 5
Cooks, this is your day off! After breakfast you’ll drive into the northern Alentejo. Before lunch at Vila Viçosa there’ll be time to visit its Renaissance Ducal Place. Passing through the marble area you’ll visit the historical white town of Estremoz enclosed within its ramparts overlooking a vast plain of gnarled olive trees and wheat fields.  Return to Portel in time for dinner.
Overnight: Refúgio da Vila B L D

Day 6
This region is known for its aromatic herbs and wild flowers. Today’s Cooking Class: The Herbs of the Alentejo. Use them in dishes that the locals have passed on through the generations. Enjoy an afternoon excursion to several traditional and unique villages. Dinner at the Adega do Refúgio.
Overnight: Refúgio da Vila B L D

Day 7
Your last Cooking Class focuses on: The Flavors of the South.  After lunch enjoy a siesta and a free afternoon to stroll, bicycle, or simply lounge by the pool.  This evening’s Farewell dinner includes entertainment by local musicians.
Overnight: Refúgio da Vila B L D


Day 8
Savor your last breakfast with fresh Alentejo bread before transfers back to Lisbon.  B



  • 8 Days / 7 Nights


  • On request
  • No scheduled departures
  • Custom groups only
  • 4 pax minimum


  • Accommodation w/breakfast, per itinerary
  • Daily lunch and dinner, with wine
  • All supplies for Cooking Classes
  • Tours per itinerary w/English-speaking guide
  • Land transfers to and from Portel
  • Pre-trip information

Tour guaranteed with 4 passangers.

Contact us for smaller or larger groups. All prices subject to currency fluctuation adjustment.


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