Marvao (Day 4 Central Portugal Tour)

Evora, Portugal

We next drove back to the main freeway (A23) from Monsanto and headed south to try and find the town of Marvao. The drive from Monsanto to the freeway (N239) was beautiful as we wound our way through fields of colorful spring flowers scattered with ornamental-like cork trees. We weren’t very familiar with how cork actually was harvested (from the bark, which grows back on the trees every seven years), but found this article very explanatory.

Part III of our Central Portugal Trip (Part II here)

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Monsanto (Day 3 – Central Portugal Tour)

Once off the Serra da Estrala mountain range we followed a valley and the River Zezere northward to the town of Belmonte and the Convento del Belmonte. This is a beautifully restored convent just outside of town that overlooks the valley below, which is lined with fruit orchards, primarily peaches and cherries. Beautifully restored, the convent is modernly attired with plenty of common-sitting areas throughout the property. The rooms are quite large and modern with kind-size beds available. The primary building was made from large, hand-cut granite rocks with large wooden beam ceilings.

Part II of our Central Portugal Trip. Part I here.

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Tomar (Day 1 – Central Portugal Tour)

This was our lunch stop, a couple of hours out of Lisbon, (on the first day of our Central Portugal one-week trip), to the charming, small town of Tomar on the banks of the Rio Nabão. Its old quarter is typically attractive, laid out as a grid of cobbled streets centered on a fine square, and there are lovely riverside strolls to enjoy and green woods for picnicking. We enjoyed lunch at a small cafe in the heart of the old town, before exploring the convent on the hill behind the town, standing sentry, and the real reason for our visit.

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Bussaco Palace (Central Portugal Tour)

The Bussaco Palace Hotel (Palace Hotel do Buçaco) was built between 1888 and 1907, originally as a palace for King Charles I of Portugal as a royal retreat, or “hunting lodge,” as he referred to it as.  And it embodies a beautiful architectural style referred to as “castle romanticism,” which is obvious quickly upon your arrival to the hotel, and from the photos above and below.

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