Visit the Palace and the National Forest of the Serra do Buçaco
The Palace of Buçaco
Considered one of the most beautiful hotels in the world, the Palace of Buçaco rises majestically at the heart of Buçaco Woods and takes us away into a world of fairy tales full of magnificent fantasy. Designed by stage designer Luigi Manini, this stunning building is a recreation of the famous Manueline architecture, inspired by works such as Belém Tower or Jerónimos Monastery and it recreates their decoration full of details. Great figures of the Portuguese art such as Norte Júnior, Carlos Reis or Jorge Colaço, are responsible for the structure and decoration of the building, making it one of the most symbolic hotels in the country, an extraordinary architectonic set closely connected with the exuberance of the woods. Come and discover it!
Welcome to the Palace
Managed by the third generation of the descendants of Alexandre de Almeida, the first great hotel manager in Portugal, Buçaco Palace offers you a unique and exquisite environment, marked by comfortable lodgings, excellent Portuguese cuisine and the sublime taste of world known Buçaco wines.
Worthy of Princes and Princesses, this hotel has 64 rooms available, including the King Manuel and King Luís suites, the luxurious Queen Amélie Suite and the King Carlos Royal Suite, all of them furnished with luxurious pieces in a mixed style which includes the most classical and Art Noveaux styles.
The restaurant is also worth a visit, not just because of the high quality of its cuisine, but also because of the way the space is decorated, showing magnificent paintings by João Vaz which illustrate the sea voyage passages of “Os Lusíadas” with a stunning neo-Mourish ceiling and a remarkable floor made of exotic wood.
At the far end of Buçaco Mountain, where the highest range is 547 meters high, you’ll find Buçaco Woods, surrounded by a high wall with eleven entrance doors. Make them your starting point for a stroll through Nature in the region and fall in love with the serene exuberance, almost magical, of Buçaco’s intense green colour.
After you track all paths in the mountain, take a rest at Buçaco Palace Hotel, one of the most beautiful neo-Manueline buildings in Portugal, or visit the Santa Cruz Convent, where General Wellington spent the night during the Battle of Buçaco. Indulge yourself in the charm of the flora and History of this place.
Flora at Buçaco Woods
Buçaco Woods are very small when compared with other large European woods. However, the variety of its plant species is larger than in other wood. Within the walls built by the Carmelites, there are about 400 native species of the Portuguese Atlantic coast and around 300 which come from other climates. The most representative element of this symbiosis is the Buçaco cedar, an important cypress which comes from Mexico and might have been the first exotic species to be planted in the forest by the monks in 1656. The Saint Joseph Cedar, planted 350 years ago by the monks next to the door with the same name, is the local symbol of this majestic species of trees.
A stroll through the woods
If there is a fresh and quiet place to take a stroll, you will find it at Buçaco Woods. With six properly identified pedestrian paths, the wood invites you to discover its mesmerizing botany. Walk to Vale dos Fetos and indulge yourself with its lakes, refresh yourself in one of the many fountains spread around the fence and admire the natural corners designed by luxuriant vegetation. You can also explore the woods through the historical routes: admire the magnificent fence doors or the churches built by the Barefoot Carmelites which blend perfectly with the trees. Follow the Steps of the Passion of the Christ, climb the Cruz Alta Overlook and, at last, go to Almas de Encarnadouro to visit the Military Museum.
During the Third French Invasion, Buçaco proved to be a decisive place in the unfolding events. On 27 September 1810, English and Portuguese troops led by General Wellesley united in the Battle of Buçaco to fight the French troops led by Massena. Enjoying the defensive characteristics of the field and with 50.000 men on his side, Wellesley stropped the Napoleonic offensive which was on its way to Lisbon. This a hard blow to the Napoleonic forces, but Portuguese and English troops were boosted and encouraged. This confrontation was essential to future military events which determined the final expulsion of the French troops. Buçaco still keeps the aura of glory and courage of Portugal, a country that resisted the invaders.
The Palace and the National Forest of the Serra do Buçaco can be reached within a 45 minute drive from Quinta da Palmeira – Country House Retreat & Spa.