Ribatejo is one of those regions that remains unknown for tourism. But don’t think there is nothing here to see or do. Santarém is the biggest city and a district capital. It is a city that has an enormous historical and archaeological legacy of ancient buildings spread along the narrow streets of the old part of the city, together with shops, restaurants and bars. The remaining of its castle is at Portas do Sol where you have the most astonishing view of the Ribatejo. Endless fields of vineyard, corn and tomato surround the Tagus River in the summer. Tagus is Tejo, in Portuguese, and it names and crosses Ribatejo. The river provides lovely landscapes and it is possible to make river boat tours to some typical and unique fishing villages and deserted river beaches. In the centre of the Tagus, between Salvaterra de Magos and Valada, there is and island where you can see horses that remain in the wild until they’re fully grown. Horses and bulls are a very important part of Portugal’s culture. The Lusitano horse is very appreciated among experts and there are many families that raise them. In Golegã there is a very famous International Horse Fair integrated in the local holidays. If you are in Portugal, around the 11th of November, you shouldn’t miss it, it’s like being in a very portuguese “far west” town. On the other side of the river, Chamusca is better known for its white houses, friendly people, riverside landscapes and the “Quinta-feira da Ascensão” bullfight that starts early in the morning with the passing of the bulls through the village main street, for almost 2 km, to the bullfight plaza. Bullfights are a tradition and there is one nearly every weekend in Ribatejo. The bullfight season goes from May to October and you will see plenty of posters announcing them. They are called “Tourada” or “Corrida de Toiros” and are a lot different from the Spanish. In Portugal it is forbidden to kill the bull and really, that is not the point of this kind of bullfight. It is more like a force measure between men and bull. The highest point is usually the “Pega” where a group of about eight men, the “Forcados” face the bull and surround him until he stops, or until he stops them. So, usually the men get hurt more than the bulls that will live the rest of their life lose in the fields. Ribatejo has already plenty of hotels, but if you prefer a more close experience, you should consider staying in a Rural Hotel. These are usually rebuilt ancient farms and most have horseback ridding, pool and other countryside activities. Summer is local holiday season in Ribatejo. Every village celebrates its patron Saint for about one week. That week is full of concerts, sports, drinking, eating and partying in a very Portuguese manner. Of course there is at least one bullfight and several “Largadas” where one main street is closed, filled with sand and one or more bulls are set lose for the braver to test their courage. Around Coruche there are several archeological sites from the Neolithic, about 7000 years ago and the possibility to visit them when pre-arranged with the local museum. Also in Coruche you can take off in a ballon to watch Ribatejo’s Landscapes from the air. In Ribatejo there are six Natural Parks. One of them is especially dedicated to the Sorraia Horse, which originated the Lusitano and the Andaluz species. For bird watching, is best to go to the Reserva Natural Paúl do Boquilobo, close to Golegã, a wet area integrated in the Unesco Biosphere Reserves, perfect for the more then 220 species observed to nestle, spend the winter or as migration stop. Other animals can be seen, such as amphibious, reptiles and small mammals. The Dam of Magos and the Albufeira dos patudos, in Alpiarça are nice places for picnics, fishing, sunbathing and some refreshing swims. Through the municipalities of Rio Maior, Torres Novas and Alcanena, you can find some unexpected sceneries of little waterfalls and streams that come from the Serra d’Aire e Candeeiros in places like Olhos d’Água. The food in Ribatejo is more heavy, made for hard working people, but as delicious as any other place of Portugal. By the river, some river fish dishes are a must, like the Açorda de Sável or the Eel Stew. At the local fairs try the Pão com Chouriço (pork sausage filled bread, baked in front of you), the Farturas (a deep fried pastry served with sugar and cinnamon), and all the “petiscos”. If you are older than 18, try the local wines, specially the typical liquors and the “Água Pé”.