Portugal’s hidden secrets
You're visiting Portugal but, instead of running the touristic version of the country, you want to discover the magical secret spots? INLU's got you covered.
1. In Lisbon
Lisbon has beautiful spots where you can just relax and enjoy the view or some quietness. One of our favourite spots in the city is the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation garden. Here you can appreciate a true diversity of trees, if you know about trees. But you can also walk by and through its hidden spots, flirt and play with your kids. If you're in town with your kids, make sure they bring bread crumbs to feed the ducks over there!
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You already know we love Nature! And Portugal is extremely diverse in its geology and landscape. Just outside Lisbon, for instance, you can enjoy Arrábida mountain for trekking or taking a sea bath where the mountains enter the sea. The water is very cold (well, for Portuguese standards anyway) but it's crystal clear. And nearby you have dolphins swimming just outside the estuary of river Sado.
There are several programmes to do at Arrábida or Sado, like dolphins watching. You can check and schedule these at: https://www.seabookings.com/wild-dolphins-sado-river-30-min-lisbon. Don't forget to schedule and reserve in advance.
3. Reguengos de Monsaraz
Reguengos de Monsaraz is a small village just in the middle of the Alentejo region. It has a small castle and the old part of the village is surrounded by walls.
You can walk by the village and enjoy the traditional craftsmen and women that work wood, pottery and tiles. You can easily find their typical shops and see they work. Also, when in Alentejo, be sure to try a typical meal with a delicious wine. After all, you're in Portugal, where we eat and drink with taste and quality.
Monsaraz is magical... especially now with the lagoon created by the dam Alqueva, where you can enjoy water sports or boat trips. You can also gaze at the stars from the Alqueva observatory, try it out!
Dornes is an ancient village that stands on a peninsula in the Zêzere river, already in the area of the Castelo de Bode lagoon. It's surrounded by forests and to get there you drive through the most beautiful landscapes in Portugal, if you follow the path of the Zêzere river (the main tributary of the Tagus river).
You won't believe Dornes until you get there, a breathtaking landscape filled with history. It is believed to be born before Portugal (1147 AD), its tower was built during the Roman period in the Iberic Peninsula and was used by the Templars as a defensive line across the Zêzere and Tagus rivers (known as the Tagus line), along with the Almourol castle or Tomar.
After visiting Dornes you can experience boating in the river to fish or simply relaxing.
Dornes is in the Ferreira do Zêzere council and near Sertã, regions that were largely affected by the 2017 fires.
5. Peneda-Gerês National Park
In the Peneda-Gerês National Park you immerse completely into Nature. Here you can find routs to walk (trekking) or to drive through but be sure to respect the park's rules and guidelines. You can do pic-nics and even camping or look for a more comfortable place to stay in.
The park has pre-historical places such as the megalithic necropolis in Castro Laboreiro, Mourela, Mezio e Serra Amarela, you can appreciate the ancient art in Bouça do Colado (Parada-Lindoso). Entering the Roman era, you can go to Geira to see a Roman road. Chareacterizing the Medieval time, you can see the St.ª Maria das Júnias monastery, holding a breathtaking view, and also the Lindoso and Castro Laboreiro castles. Castro Laboreiro is also a unique dog breed born in this region.
Don't forget to check the weather report before going for trekking, you can easily be caught by unpredictable fog and get lost.