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Map of the Alentejo region
Basic data
Country PortugalPortugal Portugal
population 757,327 (2013)
Population density 24 inhabitants per km²
surface 31,604.80 km²
Subregions 5
Circles 58
Communities 306
ISO-3166-2 code PT-18
Landscape in the Alentejo

The Alentejo ( [ɐlẽ'tɛʒu] , Portuguese for “across the Tejo ”) is an approximately 31,550 km² (= approx. 33% continental Portugal ), sparsely populated region (= approx. 7.6% of the population) in southern Portugal . It includes the districts of Portalegre , Évora and Beja , parts of the districts of Lisboa (municipality of Azambuja ) and the southern parts of the districts of Santarém and Setúbal .



Neighboring regions are the Região Centro in the north, Região de Lisboa in the west and the Algarve in the south. The Alentejo borders on Spain to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west ; from there the landscape profile rises more and more towards the east and reaches its greatest height at 1025  m in the Serra de São Mamede near the border with Spain .


The west of the Alentejo has sandy soils and somewhat more frequent rainfall (approx. 700 mm / year) and can be used for the cultivation of grain and oilseeds. The east, on the other hand, has stony and rocky subsoil ( granite and slate ); viticulture dominates here. In the south, livestock farming is clearly in the foreground on the terrain, which is often overgrown with cork and holm oaks .


In the southwest of the Alentejo there are only a few surface waters apart from the two coastal rivers Río Sado and Rio Mira . In the east the Río Guadiana , which is dammed in the huge Alqueva reservoir, limits the area in parts . In the north and northeast of the Alentejo, smaller rivers are more common.


Atlantic coast at Melides


The region is divided into five statistical sub-regions:

Sub-region Number of
Number of
Density of
population / km²
Alentejo Central 14th 69 166,725 7,393.46 23 187
Alentejo Littoral 5 31 97,925 5,309.40 18th 181
Alto Alentejo 15th 69 118.506 6,084.29 19th 186
Baixo Alentejo 13 62 126,718 8,542.69 15th 184
Lezíria do Tejo 11 68 247.453 4,274.96 58 185
Alentejo 58 299 757.327 31,604.80 24 18th

The Alentejo has 58 circles (concelhos) .

Largest communities

local community Population
(2011 Census)
Évora 57,073
Be yes 35,730
Portalegre 24,973
Elvas 23,087
Montemor-o-Novo 17,409
Sines 13,225
Vendas Novas 11,080
Grândola 10,660
Vila Nova de Santo André 10,605
Ponte de Sor 8,943
Mertola 2,824


In comparison with the GDP per capita in the EU expressed in purchasing power parity , the region achieved an index of 70 (EU-28 = 100) (2015). This makes it one of the poorest regions in Western Europe, the economic structure is mainly characterized by agriculture. In the 1950s to 1980s , many young men from the region emigrated to Lisbon or went abroad as guest workers (e.g. to France, England or the Federal Republic of Germany). The main growing area of cork oaks in the whole of Portugal is mostly in the Alentejo region and also in the neighboring Algarve . Since the last decades of the 20th century, Alentejo wines have gained international importance; and olive plantations play a certain role.

In 2017 the unemployment rate was 8.4%.


The Alentejo was already settled in the Neolithic ; Numerous megalithic buildings and menhirs are evidence of this . The Romans also settled here and founded cities, including Évora, Elvas, Ammaia and Miróbriga, as well as numerous country estates ( villae rusticae ) . The Moors came in the 8th and 9th centuries, but only a few traces of settlement remained; they were successively pushed south as part of the Reconquista in the 12th century and driven out of Portugal with the conquest of Faro (1272). From 1580 to 1640 the Kingdom of Portugal was united with the Kingdom of Spain in personal union. In the 19th and 20th centuries, many residents of the Alentejo emigrated or hired themselves as guest workers in other European countries.



  • Montados - Portugal's primeval forests. (OT: Natural World: Creatures of the Cork Forest. ) Documentary, Great Britain, 2011, 46:30 min., Director: Tim Martin, Production: BBC Earth, German first broadcast: December 1, 2011 on arte, summary by SRF , online Videos from BBC.
  • Alentejo, Alentejo , documentary (2014)

Web links

Commons : Alentejo  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Alentejo  - explanations of meanings, origins of words, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Eurostat. Retrieved August 22, 2018 .
  2. Unemployment rate, by NUTS 2 regions. Retrieved November 5, 2018 .
  3. Romans in the Alentejo - photos + information
  4. Entry on the website of the UNESCO World Heritage Center ( English and French ).
  5. Entry on the website of the UNESCO World Heritage Center ( English and French ).