Winelover Trip through Portugal: Douro & Serra da Estrela Part II

Luxury Travel tips from sunny Portugal: Belmonte, Sortelha & Linhares da Beira are certainly worth your visit as already mentioned in my last travel article. This time, let me take you …


From Almeida to Faia Brava Nature Reserve and into Castelo Rodrigo: Wild horses, luxurious country lodges & a “secret” brotherhood of “good taste” are waiting for us!

Our journey through the regions of Serra da Estrela & Douro brings us further into the East of Portugal. The landscape changes gradually, as we come closer to the Spanish border. Almeida, another place that in addition to Belmonte, Sortelha & Linhares da Beira belongs to the famous “Aldeias Historicas” (historic villages of Portugal), is surrounded by a star-shaped fort, which was built to ward off the Napoleon army.


There are lots of romantic little houses in the center of Almeida …



… full of colorful flowers!


In Almeida, we are welcomed by the local “Confraria gastronómica” (“Brotherhood of Gastronomy”). The more buttons there are on the brothers’ robes, the more other fraternities they have already visited in order to exchange their culinary delicacies. What a tasteful idea!


In the fortress at Almeida is the military museum. Here a wine & cheese tasting awaits us. This is what I call a special ambience!


Bacalao (cod) in one of its many forms – not exactly my favorite dish, but with all the variations, even I find one that I like. 😉


Apart from the many gastronomic and cultural highlights, Almeida also offers more sportive activities. “A horse is God’s gift to mankind,” says the Arab. Well, when looking at this beautiful “Lucitano” horse, I can fully agree with what he is saying. In the “Picadeiro d’El Rey”, the riding school of Almeida, I even managed to swing myself on its back! Wow. A moment when the memories of my childhood all came rushing back at me!

I am in love with this truly noble animal: the Lucitano horse.


Attempting to make a group picture… not that easy. 😉


We spend our lunchtime like locals at Casa d’Irene in sleepy little place called Malpartida, near Almeida.


Irene serves us “pulpo” (octopus) and other Portuguese delicacies. In such a relaxed environment, the lunch break may take a little longer. 😉


One of my favorite spots of this journey is the visit to the nature reserve Faia Brava near the historic site “Castelo Rodrigo“. Nature and hiking lovers will certainly not be disappointed here! In this wild landscape, one feels very close to nature and if you are lucky enough, you will not only see vultures and golden eagles but also wild horses and cattle. You can tell that great value is put on the gentle, sustainable development of the reserve. For guests, (multi-day) hikes, for instance on horseback or by foot, are offered. In addition, you can do bird watching, take photo tours or indulge in other “wilderness experiences“. The NGO, which has already bought 800 acres of land since 2000, is driven by passion for the region. They even make olive oil here, which is obtained from the wild-growing trees.

We were lucky enough to see wild horses on our short trip to Faia Brava nature reserve! Pure beauty!


Our route then takes us on to the historic village “Castelo Rodrigo“. This small town near the nature reserve Faia Brava is located on a hill and wins us over with its historic charm and impressive views. Here, some houses have even been converted into top, state-of-the-art apartments.

Castelo Rodrigo aus der Ferne betrachtet

Castelo Rodrigo from a distance.


Picturesque & surreal, the landscape around “Castelo Rodrigo”.


The apartment “Casa da Amendoeira” in Castelo Rodrigo shows great attention to detail. Lots of musical instruments here, a detail that I love!


Those looking for some change and a more modern stay in the area should have a look at the hotel “Tourismo de Trancoso”.


I can particularly recommend the cream cheese-jam desserts …


… as well as the spicy jams of “Casa da Prisca” that we have tasted here!


The next stop on my journey through magic Portugal is the world-famous Douro valley, as well as Peso da Regua. Follow me “on my tracks” as I tell you all about the beauty of a train ride through Douro valley … !


Disclaimer: We have been invited by “Douro e Estrela” to join their trip through Douro and Serra da Estrela in Portugal. All opinions are my own.

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