We were sad to leave Spain, but we were looking forward to Évora.
Évora is a quaint and lovely town in the middle of Portugal, about an hour and a half east of Lisbon.
If you're going to Lisbon, you really should plan a trip to Évora, which is in the Alentejo region in the south-central part of the country. It's relaxing, beautiful, and they have fabulous wine and great restaurants. The Alentejo region is famous for its wines and gastronomy.
Évora is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to its old town center and lots of historical monuments, including a Roman Temple.
We were lucky beyond words to find Albergaria Do Calvário. I've stayed at a lot of hotels and bed and breakfasts in my lifetime, and this place is without a doubt in the top 10. Maybe even the top 5. Yes, this includes luxury hotels around the world.
What sets Albergaria Do Calvário apart?
First of all, it's ridiculously charming.
But the thing that really blew me away about Albergaria Do Calvário was the out-of-this-world customer service.
We felt pampered and lovingly attended to the entire time we were there. It was a home away from home — but better, because we could just relax and take it easy.
The moment we stepped out of our rental car, there were people all around, offering to take our bags, park our car, fetch us glasses of wine, find a restaurant for us for dinner.
It's all about the little things at Albergaria Do Calvário. For example, because we stayed 3 nights (or maybe it was 4?), we got free laundry service.
The couple who runs the hotel are a husband and wife team, Peter and Nina. He is originally from Los Angeles, and she is Brazillian.
Peter and Nina are foodies and even better, they especially love and support organic and natural food. Just wait until you see the breakfast buffet (coming in the next post). Seriously, people, I've never seen anything like this breakfast buffet in my life. We felt like royalty.
Peter and Nina also have a whole list of restaurants in Évora, and you can pretty much walk to any of them — it's not a big town.
The first night we were there, after we relaxed with a glass of wine in the common area, we took Peter's suggestion and ate at Adega do Alentejano.
This place did not disappoint.
If I lived there, I'd eat there every week.
The food was amazing, the wine was fantastic (not to mention cheap), and the service was wonderful. (That's our waiter below.)
We had some amazing local cheese and bread to start.
I ordered a dish of local pork, clams and potatoes. Along with some local red wine.
It was divine!
After dinner we walked home, slept soundly in our cool (air-conditioned), dark room, and woke up to the sound of a rooster crowing — followed by the most sumptuous hotel breakfast ever.
Can you say pastured eggs, freshly squeezed organic juice, homemade bread, and local honey and jam? (Read about it in my next post.)
Stay tuned for the next installment — Evora, Portugal Part 2.