Portugal, the Overlooked Gem of Europe

walking between Colares Velho and Gigaros

outdoor still-life walking to Gigaros

Hello Everyone!

After two years of living in and loving Portugal, we are still discovering great new places in our home area the Sintra Natural Park.  Historic Sintra is a wonderful old town with amazing palaces and parks, cobbled streets, churches and more.  Heralded by many as   the birth place of Romanticism, artists, writers, savants have been seeking refuge here for centuries. 

 Sintra and the Sintra Natural Park are UNESCO World heritage/cultural sites and truely worth a visit.  www.parquesdesintra.pt

 Our “green” country guesthouse  www.colinaflora.com is nestled in the hills of the wonderful circa 14, 000 ha (circa 40,000 acre) Park with the most beautiful beaches only 3 km from  our    house.  Since we purchased Colina Flora 14 months ago, we have been working non stop.  Our only R&R has been exploring the Park on foot, a few shopping sprees in Lisbon  and the occasioanl visit to the cinema (very comfortable theater in Beloura).  Our on foot expeditions are  such a treat and full of discovery that we do not miss venturing further afield.  Yesterday we walked to the picturesque village of Penedo, on to the quaint hamlet of Gigaros with our destinatuion being  the wonderful park and palace of Monserrat.  This was a 3 hour walk through magical forests with babbling brooks and interesting rock formations, past historic sites, amazing vistas and fragrant, unique flora and fauna, flourishing gardens.  The architecture ranges from ruins, to humble tumbledown abodes, to cute cottages and  incredible manor houses and palaces.  This was a guided walking tour and our guests were so amazed.  The couple, in the film industry and well traveled,  from the USA, continued to comment on the special, exceptional  beauty of the Sintra region and how few people, especially in the USA, have Portugal on their radar screen.  They could not rave enough about  the people of this wonderful small land being so very friendly.  The wine is good and inexpensive, the food is fresh, and the sun shines more than in any other country of Europe.  Walking, Golf, Tennis, surfing, riding, sightseeing etc are year round activities.

 our destination  the Palace and Park of Monserat

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