Finding the hidden treasures of Central Portugal is the goal of this fantastic trip. Starting from Lisbon, we will first explore idyllic and picturesque villages, find old trails and traditions, and come to the region in Portugal where centuries of history, tradition, and landscape remain largely unchanged. You start by discovering Óbidos, a famous walled fortress near to Lisbon, known for its unique architecture, a former patronage of the Queen’s Household, which now known for its amazing festivals of chocolate, Christmas and Films. We will also take a day trip to the fishing village of Nazaré, Portugal’s world class surfing capital.
After leaving the coast, we will venture into the center of Portugal to discover some of the Schist Villages, a collective of tiny hamlets with inhabitants who warmly welcome passersby. In the Schist Villages, the popular architecture of the houses is considered the embodiment of the region’s heritage. To know the patrimony of this region, one needs to understand the web of religion, architecture, cuisine, rural culture and ecology found locally. Included in this tour are several workshops that will introduce and give you some insights into many of the Schist Villages’ attributes: Preparing Fresh Goat Cheese and Bread in Wood-fired Ovens, Creating Schist House Models, and Cooking Chanfana, A Traditional Portuguese Recipe.
Nowadays, the Villages are not only home to their original settler families but also home to a wave of new blood who have transformed some houses into charming inns with soul and into restaurants that are returning some historical flavors into specializing in local cuisine. We will observe that these new settlers are bringing positive energy into the villages, all the while preserving the values of the Schist Villages. The Sustained Development of the Schist Villages Plan guides the accepted changes in the villages to ensure quality infrastructure for the villagers as well as promote tourism that respects local traditions and culture.
We will travel along six schist village trails that will take us through over a dozen of the 50+ designated villages. Also within this region is a Network of River Beaches and we will explore several of these beaches as well; we will be able to experience the “portugality’ of these riversides. Immerse yourself in the ambiance of the schist village and its trails and you will discover the regional history and culture of these places, while savoring traditional flavors and the age old wisdom of its people.