- Wine Tour When a good wine is tasted one always wishes to know how it is produced. In the Alentejo there are three organised tours promoting the best nectars of this region and their manufacturing process: 'Caminho de Sao Mamede;, 'Rota o Itinerario Historico' and 'Nas Margens do Guadiana'. Monsaraz is part of the one called Rota Historico ('Historical Route') that also includes Évora, Redondo, Vila Vicosa, Borba, Estremoz and Reguengos and its wines are characterised becuse its production is mainly on granitic soils and in some patches of schists and rañas. Among the varieties of red-wine grapes stand out the 'Periquita', 'Trincadeira', 'Aragonez' and 'Moreto'. The predominant varieties of white-wine grapes are 'Roupeiro', 'Rabo de Ovelha', 'Manteúdo" and 'Perrum'. We would like to suggest you visit some of the wine cellars of the region - for instance; the cellars of Esporão, Carmim, or Ribeira da Ervideira. They possess stores for direct sale to the public, which allows the purchase of quality wines at attractive prices and the discovery of some opportunities that you won't find in the supermarket.
Contacts and reservation: Rota dos Vinhos do Alentejo, Praça do Joaquim António de Aguiar, 20-21 - Évora, Telephone numbers: 266 746 498/609 and e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or directly www.esporao.com and www.montedolimpo.pt .
- Swimming and boat Tours in Alqueva Monte Saraz has two swimming pools, both for adults and for children. In the Alqueva dam there are various idyllic places to swim and picnic in a fabulous nature. Nowadays, relaxing boat trips are also allowed on the Alqueva dam, during which one can visit Adeia da Luz, go fishing and swim, or go for picnics in the remotest of places.
- Hiking From Monte Saraz you can take walks to languid small villages where you can enjoy an espresso or a glass of wine. Your trail runs through olive groves and wine fields. The fortified town of Monsaraz is accessible through multiple paths dating from the Middle Ages. The trails are passable and the walks can be varied from a trip of one hour to day trips. Walks are well combined with cultural visits, such as to the Renaissance city of Evora - pearl of the Alentejo and Unesco World Heritage • the white fortress towns of Monsaraz and Terena • charming Villa Vicosa • wine cellar, marble towns and prehistoric monuments.
- Cycling tours In Monte Saraz there are four bicycles for hire. This allows you to get acquainted with the surrounding villages and countryside at your own pace, breathing in the fresh air. Some of these places are full of megalithic monuments.
- Horse riding The calm, rural atmosphere of the region is ideal for learning horse riding, riding out into the fields, or even into the medieval town of Monsaraz.
Horse riding and training school Picadeiro Telheiro (Philipe Gomez): classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced students. Contact: 965 578 379
Horta da Moura: horse riding classes for beginners in an open riding-school, horse rides with or without guide, carriage rides for up to 5 persons with guide, and first aid. Contact: Tel: 266 510 100
- Birdwatching around Monte Saraz There is a huge variety of bird life in the Alentejo area around Algueva and Monsaraz. The relatively low density of the population, the enormous amount of water available in the form of the Alqueva (Gran Lago) and many scattered pools and reservoirs, the variety of habitats, many of which are still managed in sustainable and traditional ways provide the perfect base for a surprisingly wide diversity of species. In addition, of the numerous and often special resident species, many others come here to breed in spring and summer, pass through the area on migration in spring and autumn, or head down from northern areas to pass the winter in the milder climate. In order to help locals, their friends and the visitors to the area to appreciate and value the enormous natural diversity and to provide them with the basic details of the presence of the different species at different seasons of the year, we hope to produce in the near future a complete list of all birds that can be observed. A first list was produced by one of our guests Dr. Jonathan Edwards in May 2010. Your suggestions are very welcome to improve this list, which is available at Monte Saraz.
- Good astronomical observations The area Alqueva in the Alentejo, was certified in late 2011 as Starlight Tourism Destination, being the first in the world to achieve this status. These ratings, awarded by the Starlight Foundation, certify the quality of the night sky Alqueva and also tourist activities related to the sky and is therefore recognized by UNESCO and the World Tourism Organization of the United Nations (UNWTO). Being one of the places with the darkest sky around the planet, which is a necessary condition for good astronomical observations, Dark Sky Reserve Alqueva® organizes visits to observe the Universe. For more detailed information see www.darkskyalqueva.com.
- Megalithic Monuments Tour The municipality of Reguengos de Monsaraz presents a great wealth and variety of megalithic monuments (megalithic passage-graves, cromlechs, menhirs on their own or in groups), with most of these being beautiful and interesting examples of European pre-history:
Antas do Olival da Pega (Passage-Graves of Olival da Pega) Very close to Monte Saraz (500 metres), the Passage-graves ('Antas do Olival da Pega') actually consist of a wide complex of burial grounds. Just from the Big Passage-grave 134 schist plates were removed, as well as 200 ceramic vases, which proves that this dolmen was once a vast communal necropolis.
Cromlech, Phallic Menhir and Small Menhirs of Xarês About 3 km east of Monte Saraz, close to the Convent of Orada, this group, shaped into a square, is composed of 50 granite menhirs erected around an impressive example (4 meters in height and some 7 tons in weight).
Menhir of Bulhôa (National Monument) It is located 1 km east of Monte Saraz, near the road that connects the villages of Telheiro and Outeiro. It had fallen, with its crown broken and without its original base. However it was re-erected and re-built onto a new base. It is about 4 meters of height and it displays engravings on its two faces.
Menhir da Rocha dos Namorados ('Menhir of Lovers Rock') Just before you arrive at the town of São Pedro de Corval, coming from Monsaraz, opposite the football pitch and some 6 km from Monte Saraz, is the Rocha dos Namorados. This natural granite monument, in the form of a mushroom, was transformed into a fertility stone. Later, with Christianity, it became a "stop-over" in the processions in times of drought that took place between the small chapel of Nossa Senhora do Rosário and the Village of the Bush (now Sao Pedro de Corval). According to a ritual still practised nowadays, single girls, following a pagan fertility rite, go there on Easter Monday to try and throw a stone on top of the menhir to find out when they will be married. Each occasion they miss their target means an extra year of waiting.
Phallic Menhir of Outeiro (National Monument) An imposing block of regional granite, 5,60 meter in height and about 8 tons in weight, it has the urinary duct sculpted on it. It is located to the north of the road that connects Barrada and Outeiro, about 1 km north from Monte Saraz. It is known locally as 'Long Penis'.
- Other activities At Monte Saraz further information can be obtained about: canoeing, hunting, clay-pigeon shooting, swimming, shopping for antiques, bric-a-brac and handicrafts, tennis and watching bullfights. It is possible to do carting.