In the last post I told you about the 7 regions of Portugal and how each region has something unique to offer you on your next Portugal vacation. In this post I will offer my opinion on how best to enjoy all that Portugal has to offer.
For me, a vacation to any country doesn't feel complete unless I can get involved in their culture and customs. Let's face it, if all you want out of a vacation is sun and surf, the United States has plenty of that. I feel that enjoying an authentic vacation comes down to accommodation. Often, people choose what feels familiar to them, often selecting well known hotels like the Hilton, rather than experimenting with more unique accommodation. The problem is, as you may have experienced, places like the Hilton aren't often culturally appealing.
For those who want to enjoy a little of what Portugal has to offer, I suggest staying at the many Pousadas that are scattered around the country.
What Is A Pousada?
Some years back, Portugal decided to convert many of its state owned, historically important buildings into a thematic hotel chain called the Pousada. One of the main reasons for this is that Portugal wanted to share with its citizens and tourists alike, the incredible history that the country possessed. In essence, Pousada's are renovated Palaces, Castles, Monasteries and other historically important buildings that have been tastefully restored, with key emphasis on historical preservation. They are scattered all around the country, which means that you can visit virtually every region of Portugal on your next Portugal vacation, immersing yourself in its culture and ambiance.
If you were thinking, "This must be expensive!"
The good news is that it is incredibly affordable, often costing less than a stay at one of the major Hotel chains. To top it all off, most Pousadas offer a complimentary breakfast, included at no extra cost, talk about value. Furthermore, every meal that is served reflects the local cuisine of the area, guaranteeing that you get an altogether unique perspective of the country.
When you are ready for a Portugal vacation, why not consider Pousada hopping? I'm including some images of a few of the many Portuguese Pousadas available on your next Portugal vacation.
The Crato Pousada
The Crato Pousada, which has been built over different periods, has served as a castle, palace and monastery/convent. This former monastery of the Knights of the Order of Malta, is immersed in medieval mysticism. It is a magical place and a great way to start your Portugal vacation.
The Pousada da Horta
The Pousada da Horta, Forte de Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz Fort) was built in the 16th century as a maritime military base for Portuguese explorers and merchants on their journeys to the Americas as well as a protection from hostile enemies. It is located over Horta bay in the tiny island of Faial, Azores and is and has been a National Monument since 1947. To think that you can sleep in the same chambers that many famous Portuguese navigators slept, in a protected and cherished historically important Portuguese Fort, that to me is an incredible value and a perfect place to travel through on your Portugal vacation.
The Pousada Alcacer do Sal Hotel, D. Afonso II
The one thousand year old Alcácer castle overlooks the river Sado, in the Alentejo region. This region has a long historical past dating back about 5000 years to the later Neolithic period. Other civilizations that have dwelt in the region include Phoenician, Celt, German, Roman and Moors. It is a truly mystical building and one that should not be missed on your Portugal vacation.
Pousada de Gerês / Caniçada - S.Bento
This Pousada is a former hunting lodge, located in the heart of the Peneda/Gerês National Park overlooking the river Cávado. It has been tastefully restored and offers you with a tranquil experience in Portugals Norte(North) region. It is a exceptional Place to end off Portugal vacation.
The above are just a small handful of the number of Pousadas available on your next Portugal vacation. Just looking at the historically rich and gorgeous buildings takes my breath away. Aren't they incredibly beautiful? And can you imagine spending a day or two, or more here? Pousadas are great places for singles, couples, families, honeymooners as well as a one of the world's best wedding reception locations.
In the United States you could expect to pay hundreds and hundreds if not thousands to stay in one of these magnificent buildings, in fact it would be out of many people's financial reach. But the Portuguese have decided to keep the costs down in order educate tourists on the wealth of Portuguese heritage, I for one am glad of that. I highly recommend staying at the Pousadas on your next Portugal vacation, you won't regret it. For more information on how to book your Pousada vacation, visit Pousadas de Portugal .