A sangria please.
Not sure if our visits to Pousadas has become an obsession, plain foolishness or maybe it’s just simply us looking for that perfect place to chill out.
Whatever it is, this all began when we visited Spain back in 2014. During that trip we had read about the Paradors in Spain. We managed to visit two of them while we were there. Spanish Paradores are luxury hotel accommodations located throughout Spain in converted old Castles, Palaces, Convents, Monasteries, Fortresses or other historic buildings.
These buildings are part of Spain’s heritage. The state plays a major part in maintaining these buildings and they are usually located in areas where it is not in competition with the private sector hotels. Therefore many are located in smaller towns and villages. They are renowned for their high standard of service and attention to detail. What is also very attractive is the fact that many of these will offer affordable rates, especially off season.
When we began planning for our trip to Portugal we heard about the Pousadas which are generally the same concept as the Paradors in Spain. Pousadas are also a chain of luxury, historical hotels that had some involvement by the Portuguese State. There are now approximately 40 or so Pousadas in Portugal and most were previously old palaces, castles and monasteries, each with their own unique character and location.
So come have a sangria with us and see which Pousadas we discovered during our time in Portugal.
What was remarkable during our afternoon visits to these unique historic hotels was that we were basically alone and had these places to ourselves. The staff were so welcoming and gracious.
Pousada do Porto – Hotel Palacio Do Freixo –
This Pousada is located in Porto. We went there for drinks one nice sunny afternoon and we were able to sit outside on the terrace as we enjoyed the peacefulness and the views of these beautiful grounds and of the Douro river. It is not that far a walk from the Campanhã train station. Coming back with took a taxi to the metro in Campanhã. No big deal! Here’s a few photos below of this beautiful spot. Remember we basically had the place to ourselves!
A few weeks later we took a day trip to Viana do Castelo. It is north of Porto and we were able to get there in one hour with the fastest train. Coming back in the evening there are no fast trains so the ride back is approximately 2 hours with a changeover in Nine. Viana was a little “jewel” of a city that we were happy we discovered. We will certainly be back there when we come back to Portugal and probably stay for an overnight. It offers a huge pedestrian historic centre and a beautiful beach area not far from its centre. While there you can take the funicular to see beautiful views and visit the Sanctuary Santa Luzia.
Nice historic pedestrian centre in Viana.You can see at a distance the beautiful white sandy beach.Below is the imposing Sanctuary Santa Luzia.Right behind the Sanctuary is the next Parador we visited, Pousada de Viana do Castelo.
Pousada de Viana do Castelo –
This Pousada has breathtaking views! This is one of those spectacular views that will stay with us forever. We could have stayed here for days. It was such a calm and surreal place. We will never forgot this afternoon. We just couldn’t leave it so after our drinks we decided to stay on for lunch. Here are a few photos that really does not make justice to the beauty and the total tranquillity we found at this place.
After a bottle of wine… 😊🍷
Pousada Mosteiro de Guimarães –
Lastly, on our second trip to Guimarães we had some drinks at the Pousada Mosteiro de Guimarães. It was almost 20 degrees outside and the staff couldn’t believe that we would be sitting outside in the courtyard. They were thinking it would be too cold. Once again we had this place to ourselves. 😊
That is the end of our Pousada trail. Wish we could have visited more.
The winner of the best sangria goes to –
Pousada do Porto – Hotel Palacio Do Freixo. 😊 🍹