21 June 2024

Olive oil tourism combines history, culture, and gastronomy in enchanting sensory experiences. Today, we take you to the heart of Portugal's olive oil production and its heritage. From the many producing regions in the country, we are focusing on Alentejo. Renowned for its sprawling landscapes and age-old olive groves, this region is the epicenter of Portugal's olive oil production, thanks to its unique climate and fertile soils that are perfect for cultivating olive trees, that shape the agricultural landscape and culinary identity.

Historical Significance

Ancient Olive Varieties 2

When we say that olive cultivation in Portugal spans back millennia, we really mean it! Alentejo's connection to olive oil dates back to Roman times and the Romans played a pivotal role in introducing olive trees to the Iberian Peninsula. Their traditions have been carefully preserved over the centuries and, nowadays, visitors can explore ancient olive mills and learn about traditional and modern olive oil production methods.


Touring Portugal Through Olive Oil 

Culinary Delights 2

Discover the essence of Portuguese gastronomy through an immersive journey across the country's renowned olive oil regions. Portugal boasts six Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) areas dedicated to olive oil production. Each region offers a unique blend of landscapes, culture, and flavors highlighting the country's rich olive oil heritage. 

Alentejo is Portugal's largest olive oil-producing region and features three distinct PDO areas: the Norte Alentejano extends from Portalegre to Reguengos de Monsaraz; the Moura PDO; and the Alentejo Interior.


Historic Olive Presses and Mills 2


Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a city where history and olive oil production intertwine seamlessly. The city’s well-preserved Roman temples, medieval cathedrals, and vibrant squares offer a backdrop for exploring olive oil culture. Just outside the city, several estates offer guided tours and tastings, allowing visitors to learn about traditional and modern olive oil production methods.




Monsaraz, a medieval village perched atop a hill, offers spectacular views of the surrounding olive groves and Alqueva Lake. Its cobbled streets and whitewashed houses create a picturesque setting for a gastronomic adventure.


Cultural and Symbolic Importance 2


In Moura, on the other side of the Alqueva lake, you can visit the 19th-century Olive Oil Museum - Lagar de Varas do Fojo, and in Campo Maior, the Lagar-Museum of the Visconde d’Olivã Palace. Alentejo's vast horizons, dotted with cork oaks and olive trees, offer a picturesque setting for your exploration. While there, visit the medieval town of Marvão and the hilly city of Estremoz. 


Culinary Delights

Culinary Delights

Portuguese olive oil is integral to the country's culinary traditions, enriching a wide array of dishes with its exquisite flavour and versatility. The culinary scene in Alentejo is deeply influenced by its olive oil production. Olive oil is a staple in many traditional dishes, enhancing their flavor and richness. From traditional dishes like the açorda alentejana, a comforting bread soup made with garlic, cilantro, poached eggs, and a generous drizzle of olive oil, to migas, a hearty dish of seasoned breadcrumbs, often served with pork, and cooked in olive oil.


Surprisingly, olive oil even finds its way into desserts, where its unique qualities add richness and moisture to traditional sweets, in recipes such as bolo de azeite, where olive oil contributes with a distinctive touch that sets these treats apart.

Olive Tourism Experiences

Ancient Olive Varieties

While in Alentejo, be sure to immerse yourself in tasting sessions and hands-on experiences. Many estates and olive oil producers in Alentejo offer guided tastings, where you can taste different varieties of olive oil, from fruity to spicy, and learn to distinguish their unique flavors, how olive oil enhances the flavors of various foods and even learn about the health benefits of olive oil and the production process, from tree to bottle. Moreover, many wineries double as gourmet olive oil producers, giving the chance to taste and purchase premium olive oils alongside their wine tastings

Embracing Alentejo's Olive Heritage

SUBS - Casa com ovelhas


Olive oil tourism in Portugal, particularly in the Alentejo region, offers a rich tapestry of experiences that delight the senses. From exploring historic sites and engaging in hands-on activities to savoring the culinary delights, visitors are sure to leave with a deeper appreciation for this golden treasure. Whether you’re an olive oil aficionado or a curious traveler, Alentejo's olive oil trails promise an unforgettable journey. Embark on this flavorful adventure and discover the essence of Portugal through its olive oil heritage. Count on us to discover this captivating side of Portugal through olive tourism experiences, agritourism initiatives and culinary delights! 


Topics: portugal, portugal travel agency, Visit Portugal, self-guided, Alentejo, history, gastronomy, culture, heritage, tourtailors, tourism travel, olive groves

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