From € 398.- / 4 days or € 736.- / 8 days
Price per person.
10% - 20% Discount for 2 people or more.
Explore the mountain trails of Portugal's unspoilt Serra da Gardunha on this relaxed paced tour that uncovers rural Beira Baixa’s region. Set amid a verdant and rolling landscape we enjoy scenic village to village walks along ancient drover routes.
We also hike up to the summit of Gardunha (1227m) for spectacular views over the surrounding area, including giant stones with astonishing geomorphology (Solidified magma stone formations) and Gardunha’s bigger sister, Serra da Estrela, which is the highest mountain in Continental Portugal (2000m).
We stay in traditional villages and rural Guesthouses, experience Beira Baixa's hospitality and enjoy delicious local cuisine, in some cases 100% organic and locally produced.
Wonderful Old Architecture Style Small Hotels, rebuilt and of excellent comfort level, situated in picturesque Villages on Gardunha Mountains hills, or in Organic Farms.
All walks start from the doorstep. In the first day walk, we will take in ancient barely flat drover routes. The next four walking days will take place in smooth ascents, not very challenging and easy to take.
We will visit Churches, Museums and Old Monuments, all of this, surrounded by beautiful picturesque landscapes at the heart of the very inland Portuguese culture and traditions. During all Tour, the food provided is of an excellent quality and in some cases (Quinta Da Alma Cheia's Organic Farm) will be organic and locally produced. In the "All Inclusive Tour" case, we will also experience tasting of regional products e.g. wine, cured meats, pastry and fruits.
Day 1 (Saturday) Join our tour at Lisbon's International Airport. Train to Castelo Branco.
- Our tour begins at Lisbon's international airport. From there we transfer to Gare do Oriente train station and take in one of the most beautiful and astonishing Portuguese train trips. After leaving Vasco da Gama’s Bridge behind, the railway cuts through vast rice fields and follows the Tejo River until it meets the Templar's Almourol Castle, standing alone on a Tejo's island. Next we pass the preserved fortress of Belver’s Castle and Portas de Rodão, a natural colossal stone gate eroded by the once wild and furious Tejo's stream. We then arrive at our destination Town Castelo Branco where we transfer to our organic farm and a beautiful guesthouse situated at the base of the Gardunha Mountains.
Day 2 (Sunday) Free day in Quinta da Alma Cheia.
- Depending on our interests, there are a choice of activities available today. Quinta da Alma Cheia has it all. Here we can observe the way an organic farm works. There are a range of farm animals living here. If we prefer, we can go for a slow walk around the lake or go fishing for some largemouth-bass, a superb tasty game-fish, asking the Chef to prepare it for lunch or dinner. Bicycles are available to ride to Santa Águeda’s beautiful dam, 2 miles away, for astonishing sights of Gardunha mountains . Accommodation is full board so we will not have to worry about meals, just work up an appetite and enjoy the tasty traditional food prepared by the resident Chef. After dinner we will enjoy a drink, relaxing and listening to a live guitar concert by the fire. A comfortable bed sets us up for the next day's adventures... Other free activities include : Canoeing, cycling and sailing.
Day 3 (Monday) Walk to São Vicente da Beira
- Leaving Quinta da Alma Cheia behind, we start walking along ancient drover routes through forests of olive and cork-trees with the Gardunha mountains getting closer and closer. Pine forests start to appear as we approach São Vicente da Beira’s Parish Council. Here we step onto the same cobbled street that Romans once did many centuries ago. We will stop to have lunch enjoying the amazing scenery, before getting to a small town settled in Gardunha's hills, where we will walk along the banks of Pisco's dam, rambling through pines and estevas until we cross Ribeira da Sra. da Orada, going up through little farms settled by the gates of this old historical sentry town.
Day 4 (Tuesday) Guided visit of Medieval Town of São Vicente da Beira and Sra. Da Orada's Sanctuary.
- After breakfast, we will go for a walk through the streets of this small secular town. Through historical research we can find traces of its foundation from many centuries ago. Most recently this town was settled by ancestral Vicentinos, who had the land donated by the first Portuguese King D. Afonso Henriques in 1173. Local historical conservationists (G.E.G.A.), who have spent many years gathering old artefacts and documents, which they have restored and exhibited. To date there are hundreds of items. Walking a couple of miles we will arrive at Sra. Da Orada' Sanctuary, a verdant and quiet place with an interesting legend. Here we will have lunch in the shade at stone and wooden tables, while the stream nearby sings melodies of calm peacefulness. Going back to town, the visit continues with a delicious traditional meal in Mila’s restaurant.
Day 5 (Wednesday) Walking to Castelo Novo.
- This morning we will hike uphill along ancient drover trails, leading us through pine and oak forests, until we reach one of Gardunha’s last old chestnut groves planted by the order of King D. Dinis (1279 - 1325). Next we will take a short walk down through a track to Casal da Serra's village. Going uphill again, we ramble through pine forests on drover routes until reaching the place, where the views look out towards Santa Águeda's immense dam with Spain on the horizon. The aroma of grilled chorizos and other Portuguese traditional cured sausages, will now be sending us messages through the wind. After lunch, and with Gardunha's summit in sight, we start walking down to Castelo Novo. We arrive in time to comfortably settle in a typically restored guesthouse, enjoy dinner in Lagarto’s restaurant, then walk around picturesque streets and admire the illuminated Village Monuments.
Day 6 (Thursday) Up to the Summit of Gardunha and visit to Castelo Novo's Monuments.
- Belonging to UNESCO’s NaturTejo Biosphere Reserve, Serra da Gardunha is in terms of geomorphology, one of the most interesting places to visit in Europe. After breakfast we will head up to Gardunha's summit along old cobbled trails, leading onto drover routes. Throughout the day, we will stop from time to time and admire the strange solidified stone creatures emerging from the ground, being careful not to wake them. At the top, a 360° landscape of steep gorges and wide valleys will be displayed before our eyes. Arriving at Castelo Novo, we will finish our journey by visiting some monuments, standing witnesses of this Village’s secular history.
Day 7 (Friday) Walk to Aldeia Nova do Cabo.
- Leaving Castelo Novo on its peaceful promontory, we will hike to Alto da Penha's peak, the second highest peak of Gardunha. Looking north, we enjoy a spectacular view of Cova da Beira's Valley, our final destination at the base of the mountains and Serra da Estrela on the horizon. To the south, Castelo Novo will not be alone anymore, as we can see from here many other beautiful Aldeias, each one having its own legend to tell. We can also see many miles away Monsanto, the most traditional Portuguese Village, begging us for a visit, but that's another story! Starting to walk downhill among pines and eucalyptus, we might hear one or two cicadas singing us songs of farewell. Further down, orchards of cherry trees will slowly replace the forest, and the comfortable noble manor guesthouse, where we are staying tonight, is just a few steps away.
Day 8 (Saturday) Train back to Lisbon.
- This morning we will transfer to Fundão's train station, still having some time to have a drink at a café before taking the train back to Lisbon. From Fundão to Castelo Branco, we will have time to say farewell to our pleasant hostess Gardunha, surely wishing for a return. After Castelo Branco, we will retrace our arrival route, enjoying a second chance to admire the astonishing landscape and monuments that Linha da Beira Baixa has to offer. As we approach Lisbon, with a bit of luck, we might have the pleasure of seeing the Campinos, the brave and shrewd men who lead the bulls on their horses through Ribatejo's immense region.
Available all year.
Prices dependent on availability and what's included.
Please contact the holiday provider, through the contact form, for more information.
Walking holiday with both guided and self-guided options
Board basis: Full Board, Bed & Breakfast.
From € 398.- / 4 days or € 736.- / 8 days
Price per person.
10% - 20% Discount for 2 people or more.
- Transfers from Lisbon Airport to the start of walking holiday and back to the Airport.
- Wi-Fi internet in all Tour Hotels.
- 7 Nights accommodation in wonderful Traditional Village and Rural Small Hotels.
- 7 Continental/Traditional Portuguese breakfast.
- 1 Lunch at Quinta da Alma Cheia.
- 5 Quality picnics at lunch time to eat on the mountainside.
- 2 Dinner at Quinta da Alma Cheia's Farmhouse (Meals prepared with Alma Cheia's own farm grown organic food. Organic wine and other drinks included.
- 2 Dinner at Mila's Restaurant (Traditional Local Cuisine).
- 2 Dinner at Lagarto's Restaurant (Traditional Local Cuisine).
- 1 Dinner at Aldeia Nova do Cabo (Traditional Local Cuisine).
All meal drinks, including excellent locally produced organic wine as well as good old British spirits e.g. whisky and gin and must not forget the famous Portuguese beer.
- Gardunha's bottled water "Fonte Da Fraga" through all tour.
- Quality local wine, bread, cheese and cured meats/sausages tasting followed by traditional pastry.
- Swimming pool through all tour (private and public).
- Visit to G.E.G.A. Museum.
- All Tour transfers.
All other costs, including travel costs to the starting-point of this holiday.
All year. Walking holidays will be adapted according with the weather and general conditions. Example: In Summer, walks will take place early in the morning and later afternoon, visiting museums, or siesta during the hottest time of the day.
Gonçalo Manuel Dos Santos
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