Wine has been produced on the banks of the Tejo for around two thousand years and, while it’s long had a reputation for quantity rather than quality, the offerings of some new producers have recently begun to acquire an international profile. Even so, few of the local wine towns south of Santarém stand up to a visit in their own right, but if you’re not in a hurry the drive down the N3 towards Vila Franca and Lisbon isn’t a bad one. Many vineyards offer tours and tastings and they are all signposted from the road. The drive can occupy half a day, with lunch taken in either of the two prettiest towns, Alenquer or Arruda dos Vinhos, or you can take an organized wine tour of the region from Lisbon, which includes tastings at a couple of vineyards and a long boozy lunch.
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