Pousadas – a distinctly Portuguese experience  .jpg

Pousadas – a distinctly Portuguese experience 

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“When a customer is not known by his/her name, but only by the room number, we will be far from the Pousadas’ personality,” (António Ferro – 1942)

For a unique insight into Portugal’s rich and diverse regional history why not join the Pousada trail? Situated in castles, monasteries, fortresses and places of outstanding natural beauty from the north to the south of the mainland, in the Azores and now also in Brazil, these unique hotels form a network of more than 40 establishments, each designed to reflect the best traditions of the regions where they are located and where a warm welcome and personal service awaits every guest.

Originally state run, the Pousadas de Portugal had their origin in the 1940s, when the Government decided to build tourist accommodation in keeping with the style and traditions of each region. Over the years, a range of historic Pousadas has opened, each one located in a carefully restored monument, albeit adapted to meet modern demands of comfort and well being. Today Pousadas offer a quality hotel option with a difference, as well as a fascinating journey through Portuguese culture, traditions, gastronomy and arts.

Recommended routes

From Minho’s green and rustic valleys to the luxuriant mountains of the Trás-os-Montes and the Alentejo golden plains to the Algarve coast with its fine sand and warm waters. Today, just as half as a century ago, a stay in a Pousada offers you the opportunity to experience some of Portugal’s best-kept treasures. But how do you decide which ones to sample? To help you get the most out of your Pousada experience, the tourist board has organised some recommended Pousada routes.

1. São Brás de Alportel, Sagres, Palmela, Setúbal – the Fish & Shellfish Route.

Start the morning at the fish auction to get to know the produce used in the dishes you will be enjoying later at the Pousada Restaurant. Try fish or shellfish cataplanas, caldeiradas, or a whole range of other delicacies harvested from the sea.

2. Beja, Alvito, Arraiolos, Évora, Estremoz, Crato, Elvas, Vila Viçosa – the Cod Fishing Route.

Bacalhau Dourado from Elvas and Bacalhau Conventual from Beja are just two of the 1001 ways of preparing codfish. You choose the Pousada and they will prepare the dish!

3. Amares, Guimarães (Santa Marinha/N.Sra.Oliveira), Viana do Castelo, Mesão Frio.Long – the Live the Wine Route.

Why not try the Minho region’s Vinho Verde, or explore the deep richness of the wines of the Douro to accompany a delicious gourmet meal featuring genuine regional cuisine?

4. Vila Pouca da Beira, Manteigas, Belmonte, Almeida, Condeixa-a-Nova – the Food of the Beiras Route.

Bring the family to a Pousada in the Beiras region, discover and savour the region’s gastronomic delights, including fantastic sausages, kid and suckling pig.

5. Alcácer do Sal, Torrão, Santiago do Cacém – the Rice Route

The Terras do Sado region is known for its paddy fields. Savour some of the many dishes that can be made using rice from one of Portugal’s foremost rice-growing regions.

6. Óbidos, Palmela, Setúbal, Alcácer do Sal, Alvito, Estremoz – the Castles and Fortresses Route.

Give your children the thrill of sleeping in a castle where Queen Isabel slept, or eating at the table of the first king of Portugal.

7. Arraiolos, Évora, Vila Viçosa, Crato – the Convents and Monasteries Route.

Once places of worship and spiritual retreat, these unique locations still offer peace and quiet for both the body and the soul.

PDM Verdict: Pousadas are perfect if you want to spend your holiday based in the most beautiful regions of Portugal, where magnificent castles, monasteries and convents can be found, in areas packed with rural delights and marvellous scenery. During your stay you will live in a past that you may have thought was long gone, because the Pousadas offer the most authentic characteristic of Portugal – a warm sense of hospitality. For more information or to book a Pousada please call us for rates and availability. We can also organise train tickets, car hire and flights.