Winter in the Alentejo

The Quinta Project

Most people associate Portugal with summer, sun … and heat. So it may come as a surprise that there is fairly regular snow fall (in some parts) of Portugal. For example, you can find a ski-resort in the North of Portugal: the Serra de Estrela ski resort. Similarly snow can fall in many of the nature parks, especially at higher altitude. It may be rare and not predictively annually, nevertheless, it can get very cold – at least during the night.

When I recently met with some of our friends in Tamera, winter was an interesting discussion point. For information: Tamera is located a little more than 200km further south than the proposed Quinta property. However, many of the people who normally live in Tamera leave during the winter months, because it becomes extremely cold at night. Of course, most people in Tamera live in provisional housing rather than stone houses, which contributes to the problem of the cold.

But does this mean winter in the Alentejo is as depressing, grey and cold as in Northern Europe? Well, no. It is, of course cold. However, the big difference between winter in the south and winter in the north is the day: During the winter, days are still sunny and bright. You won’t get a sunburn, but grey dull and days are rare.

The other difference between summer and winter is rainfall – and the effect of it. While during the summer there is little to no rainfall in much of southern Portugal, it rains every other day during the winter (at least on average). This doesn’t mean it will be rainy all day long (as in the north), but that some rain may fall at some stage during the day.

The effect is that the landscape changes completely. During the summer months, the Alentejo landscape is characteristically barren and dry: the ochre ground, dotted with dark green olive and cork trees. In winter, the ground springs to live: it is lush and green, even flowers blossom towards the late winter. This is quite a unique view, as some of the plants, for example vines, are in “winter mode”, while around them the landscape looks more like a late spring type landscape in the north. You can imagine the difference!

So, while the temperatures drop a lot from the spring, summer and autumn, winter in the Alentejo is an other interesting and beautiful time. And even if sunbathing isn’t really something to do, winter in the Alentejo is definitely a much happier alternative to the cold(er), grey and dull winter months in the north.

Leave a Reply