Marshlands dominate the landscape, where bulls and horses go to pasture. The Tagus Valley has proud traditions of bullfighting, dancing and popular music – such as the fandango – in the brightly coloured costumes of the campinos.
Aficionados should make sure that they visit the bullrings, the stud farms and the fairs and festivals that take place in these lovely riverside lands. Lively bullfights can be seen at the Feira do Cavalo (Horse Fair) in Golegã and at the Feira Nacional de Agricultura (National Agricultural Fair) in Santarém. In Vila Franca de Xira, visit the ganadarias, where fighting bulls are raised, and the Centro Equestre da Lezíria Grande (Lezíria Grande Equestrian Centre), with its famous Lusitanian horses.
The whole region is rich in architectural and artistic heritage illustrated by the region’s monuments, churches and museums. Don’t miss the Almourol Castle, situated on a tiny island in the middle of the river, and nearby areas like Constância and Abrantes, whose castle perched above the town has a view that fades into the horizon.
The region is perfect for walks, horse rides and boat trips on the rivers and reservoirs. It is also a haven for those who like sport fishing, canoeing and other water sports.
It’s worth stopping at the estates and wineries that are located on the Ribatejo Wine Route. And top it all off with some of the area’s delicious cuisine.