32km (20 miles) SW of Santiago do Cacém; 186km (115 miles) S of Lisbon

A good stopover in lower Alentejo as you're heading south to the Algarve is the little beach town of Vila Nova de Milfontes. At the wide mouth of the Mira River, the sleepy resort is attracting more visitors because of the soft white-sand beaches that line both sides of the river. There are no other attractions and nothing to do here but relax, or perhaps search for antiques.

The castle that once protected the area from Moroccan and Algerian pirates has been restored and is now an inn. After a day on the beach, you can head south to even more beaches.