Portugal is a country blessed with an amazing variety of landscapes, customs, cuisine, and architecture. There’s genuinely something for everyone. For nature lovers Portugal truly has it all. Start by spending some time in one of our many nature reserves, or exploring the local countryside. On foot, bike, or down river marvel at the dizzying variety of flora and fauna.
A great way to get a feel for the real Portugal is to stay in rural accommodation. From the manor houses and stately homes of the north, to the simple stone of the Centro de Portugal region, to the whitewashed farmhouses of the Alentejo, warm hospitality greets you everywhere. And finally, the cuisine. From our largest cities, to our smallest towns you will never be short of a good table to sit at and mouth-watering local delicacies to savour. From the freshest of fish, to sumptuous meats and heavenly deserts, Portuguese cooking is superb. And what better way to wash it all down than by enjoying one of our magnificent wines?
Our itinerary starts on Alentejo. The sun is more golden in the Alentejo. Fall for the charm of this light, and explore the nature in the region.
Learn about the Alentejo identity, stitched into each thread of the Arraiolos rugs, instilled in the marble, in the thoroughbred Lusitanian horses and in the delicious Alentejo wine and bread.
But if you are looking for excitement, you will not be disappointed: the Alentejo is also a favourite setting for extreme sports. You can tour the region on horseback or mountain bike, go canoeing on the rivers or go skydiving. Let yourself go in the Alentejo, and don't forget the gastronomic delicacies. Discover the cheeses; follow an olive oil route around the olive presses and co-operatives, and collect the region's herbs and aromas. And finally, for dessert, get a taste of heaven on earth by sampling the divine sweets from the kitchens of the convents.
You must also visit the town of Marvão and see one of the tallest castles in Portugal. Climbing up through the trees in the São Mamede mountains, the huge walls of Marvão Castle come into view. This splendid location has another significance in the history of Portugal. The almost inaccessible rocks made this fortress “the most invincible in the entire Kingdom.” Since the time of its conquest in 1116 by King Afonso II up to the Wars of Independence between Spain and Portugal in the 17th Century, this castle was continually adapted to new techniques of war. Today it is a place of peace and beauty.
The itinerary continues for the Centro of Portugal, and there you must visit the Slate Villages and discover a genuine paradise. Prepare to be enchanted by these traditional villages, nestled amongst mountains with bountiful vegetation and houses made of slate - the most abundant stone in the region. The various tones of this stone, which is also used for paving the narrow winding streets, blends perfectly with the colours of the natural landscape.
In these magical villages, time flows by slowly. You’ll want to share the stories, arts and traditions of the local inhabitants. Ancient knowledge is embedded in the handicraft products, made of linen and wood. New products have also been developed using local materials.
More in the interior of the country Portugal’s historic villages are among the country’s best kept secrets. Built from granite and schist, and located in the heart of the country, they have witnessed over 900 years of Portuguese history. But while the villages are amazingly peaceful places to visit, they have not always been so tranquil. In the past these villages, perched high on hilltops, played a crucial role in protecting the surrounding lands. Their vantage point made it almost impossible for would-be invaders to approach undetected. It was a hugely effective form of defence. Over the centuries, Moors and Christians, Spaniards and Portuguese, have all tried to take the villages for themselves. Whether you want to experience Portugal’s breath-taking landscapes, its historic fortresses, or the warmth of its people, the villages offer it all.
In the region of the Tâmega and Sousa rivers, enjoy an inspiring trip to the places that still preserve the memory of the Romanesque period. Travel through the heart of Portugal’s northern region and discover the common features shared by the monasteries, churches, memorials, bridges, castles and towers that narrate the legends and stories of the foundation of Portugal. You will find here a valuable Romanesque heritage that bears witness to the important role played by this territory in the history of the nobility and the religious orders. The Romanesque Route will show you monuments of exceptional value, spread throughout 12 municipalities with a common historical and cultural legacy: Castelo de Paiva, Felgueiras, Lousada, Paços de Ferreira, Paredes, Penafiel, Amarante, Baião, Celorico de Basto, Cinfães, Marco de Canaveses and Resende.
Enhance the moments you spend in contemplation by adding to them a sense of discovery as you walk or cycle around the region’s paths and trails in perfect communion with nature. For the more fearless among you, the River Paiva offers you some unique and exciting challenges, with the chance to enjoy some quite unforgettable rafting descents. All year round, the region’s countless festivities and pilgrimages offer the perfect opportunity to revisit the lively local markets. Discover entirely different ways of dancing, singing and playing music, and be delightfully surprised by the traditional arts and crafts, most notably the embroidery, the articles made of linen and the artistic hand-carved wooden objects. To round off your trip in style, let your taste buds delight in the flavours and smells of the traditional local cuisine, accompanied by the most excellent vinhos verdes produced in the region. Replenish your energies in the peaceful and quiet atmosphere of the rural tourism houses that you will find here, or perhaps you might like to take a stroll through centuries-old gardens, where time sometimes seems to have stopped altogether. Wherever you go, you will certainly be welcomed with the genuine warmth and hospitality that are so typical of this region. Our itinerary ends in Minho and there enjoy the pleasures of life in a region of rich customs, good food and excellent wine. Visit the Minho, experience the festivals and celebrations of summer, discover its age-old customs. A great way to learn about the traditions of this region is through the handicrafts, artisans and workshops of the Alto Minho. The great Minho contribution to the national cuisine is Caldo Verde soup. It remains popular to this day, containing a mixture of corn bread, smoked sausages, Portuguese ‘bacalhau’ cod, lamprey, trout, and shad –cooked in several different ways. If you like good meat, try the unusual Minho pork speciality ‘sarrabulho’ or the crackling pork of ‘rojões’. Alternatively sample a leg of pork ‘à Clara Penha’ style, Serra goat, or the young goat stew of Gerês. Good food, good wine, good memories.
Casa dos Castelejos is situated at Monte do Guerreiro, between Castro Verde and Mértola, and is an invitation to discover the authenticity of the Alentejo region. This magnificent manor house heads a 480 ha property, which extends over endless pastures of unique beauty, in a complete harmony with its surrounding nature, untouched by the stresses of urbanization and over-development.
Quinta das Lavandas is located at the heart of the Serra de São Mamede Natural Park, just 4 km from the center of Castelo de Vide, one of the most beautiful towns in the Portugal. This magnificent and unique country estate house has 20 acres of lavenders plantation. All the property was reconverted into an agro-tourism project and has the lavender as great protagonist. In the farm there are about 65 thousand feet of lavender (Lavender) divided in two main varieties: Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandim thick bleu.
This lovely country house dates back to the 18th Century. It's situated in the centre of Portugal within the beautiful region of Sertã. It's a typical Portuguese Quinta with rural traditions, surrounded by vines, fruit trees and a wood. It's an ideal place for relaxation, breathing in the pure mountain air with walks along the rivers and nearby reservoirs.
Some years ago Casa do Redondo was carefully restored into “Turismo de Habitação” opening to guests a unique infrastructure in the region. This estate house provides a range of outdoor facilities, such as: swimming, tennis, horse riding, walking and rambling. Indoor the guests can enjoy the peaceful and comfort of several sitting rooms, games room and a tasting room, where you can taste the pleasant cuisine of the region Dão. The Casa do Redondo is located in the traditional village of Rabaçal in Meda, an historical and beautifully region plaint of heritage, and traditions. This is an excellent place to visit around the Beiras region including the archaeological Foz Coa Valley and Douro Superior or to discover the “Aldeias Hstóricas” historic villages as Marialva and Medieval Village Trancoso.
A Farm House from the mid 17th century. It is located in the Douro Valley, in a lovely region of unique characteristics and unique beauty. The Quinta was completely renovated in order to be reconverted into a comfortable accommodation. This traditional Quinta of the Douro region combines a symbiosis between tradition and modernity. The main House is surrounded by a small Chapel built in 1635, an alembic, a couple of oil-works, a water tank, a fountain with pure water, a swimming-pool, and also two other houses named “Casa da Eira” and “Casa do Caseiro”. Quinta da Ventuzela has many agricultural fields that cascade down onto the Douro River bed.
This manor house originally dates from the mid 17th century and has subsequently been restaured. It is surrounded by a romantic garden with ornamental ponds. Also there’s a small lake with running water and ancient camelias. It is located on the outskirts of the town of Fafe, where urban life blends harmoniously into the picturesque rural scenery of the Minho. Nearby are the ancient towns of Braga and Guimarães. Furthermore there is easy access to the beautiful National Park of Peneda-Gerês, famous for its mounts, dams and reservoir - an ideal place for water sports.
Situated in Facha, near Ponte de Lima, Quinta do Casal is a Manor House from the XVI century. It was provided with a simple and modern decoration. It has six new apartments. Outside there are a very beautiful wood near the orchard, a great swimming pool, and a tennis court. Quinta do Casal is a nice proposal to a calm and pleasant holyday where history and contemporaneous art are together.
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