1. Alentejo: Cork Forest Safari with Optional Lunch
The farm you will visit is a paradise for walkers, ramblers and wine lovers. Imagine exploring this world of rolling hills, cork forests, olive groves and vineyards in a landscape occasionally broken by a medieval fortress or an abandoned chapel. For six generations, the family owners have made a living on the 1,400 acre estate in the Alentejo by sustainably managing cork forests, rearing sheep and making fine wines. You're invited you to join to share the joy of their lives and see the beauty of the surrounding countryside. Nature-lovers and birdwatchers will not be disappointed. With luck, you might see or come across an Egyptian mongoose, a bustard, a wild boar, a hoopoe, a bee-eater, a booted eagle or many more species. On arrival you will be introduced to your guide, who is a local archaeologist and conservationist. Start with a nice cup of tea, coffee or cool refreshment. Then your guide will take you on a beautiful 2-hour Jeep tour into the deepest parts of the cork forest. During your tour/safari he will explain to you everything about the cork trees, cork cycle (cork stripping, cork storage, cork manufacturing). You will also learn about local fauna and flora, honey production, vineyards, Iberian pig fattening, olive groves and all the farm activities. When you return to the farmhouse and visit the shop where you can find the finest products it has to offer (cork handicraft, biologic olives and olive oil, honey and of course their wines). Later, have a cork stripper's traditional three-course meal in a quiet family-run restaurant. After this, it will be time to go home, but with the best memories of the Alentejo.