The Alqueva dam, built in the Guadiana River in Alentejo, is the largest artificial lake in Western Europe and the biggest reservoir in Europe. The dam is at the same time a water resource for agriculture, an electricity production central and a new touristic attraction for the surrounding towns.
The Monsaraz pier and the Amieira marina, both located in the 250 square kilometer reservoir, are responsible for the increasing popularity of boat trips in this area. Near the dam several units of rural tourism have appeared, so there are places to stay, things to see and try. The fishing lovers might find this place lovely for the activity, but there is certainly more.
The water storage area extends itself along four cities, Portalegre, Évora, Beja and Setúbal, and all of them have good food, picturesque villages with castles, white houses with blue or yellow stripes around the doors and windows (a traditional type of painting houses in the South of Portugal). Although it is a hard decision, the new Aldeia da Luz is worthy of a visit as it represents the effort in keeping the traditions even after the construction of the dam.
This new village was built as the older one was inside the dam area. The project for the construction is in everything similar to this old town: the trace of the streets and the place of the houses were maintained and even the dead were removed to the new cemetery so the inhabitants would still feel at home. The new village was inaugurated in 2002, the year when the floodgates were closed in order for the dam to fill. The enterprise started to function nearly 30 years after the decision has been made by the Portuguese government in 1975.