Spending summers with family and growing up in the beautiful natural countryside and farmlands of the Serra da Estrela — it all very much impacted and shaped who I am now. Upon every return to Portugal and, naturally this charming area I call a piece of home; I always seem to encounter something new I’ve fallen in love with…another line onto my never ending poem of all the things I love about my quaint corner of the Serra da Estrela…
When staying around here, it really feels like having been transported in time. where life moves slower. Where ideas and connections flow differently. But of course time has also caught up with its pureness, the hustle of the now very much felt in the everyday movements.
I have stayed in the Serra region during every season, each one different and distinct in its personality. The greens change from brights to deeper hues, the vibrant flowers now subdued within the more common mild winters. It does not matter the season or time of year, one of my favorite things about calling this small quiet corner of the world home, is that it’s surrounded by nature. It’s the bliss of stepping outside and being graced with picturesque mountain landscapes. To a sea of forest trees, a path to peace and quiet beauty any which way you turn.
Yet nothing is ever as special, or as breathtaking, as a sunset walk amongst the trails of these Serra pinheiros. These sunsets are special, and perhaps it’s from having been experiencing them my whole life, one could say loving sunsets was inevitable. I already have my favorite paths and walking routes for when a really nice sunset is on the horizon. It’s quite sentimental and empowering, walking along the same pathways made decades, if not centuries ago. The same ones walked and used by ancestors to cultivate lands and grow food. It’s a piece of my family history I think I continue to embrace and celebrate in these modern days.
As summers heat up, sunset walks are taken more when the sun’s intensity and the warm air finally break their hold. No sunset, nor its colors ever the same. But how it is always a pleasant sight…..
One of my favorite places in the Serra da Estrela area is Aqua Village Resort & Spa . Ranked as one of Portugal first, and highest qualified eco-resort and spa. It really is a gem nestled within the corners of a small village. When possible I’ve enjoyed spa treatments and am always left wanting more. Beautifully designed, serene-like. If getting a spa service isn’t doable I highly recommend taking a seat at their pool side Roots Restaurant.
What’s great is one doesn’t need to be staying the resort or using the spa, to enjoy their delicious drinks and food. With calming views of the forest hills and blissful melodies of the birdsong and flowing river — it’s a great place to savor one of their flavorful teas or unique cocktails. A favorite is their charcuterie board featuring all homemade or locally sourced ingredients from the Serra area. Truly a unique and special gem meant to be enjoyed when in the Oliveira do Hospital and Serra da Estrela region.
Let me count the ways I love thee…when the sun’s intense burn transforms its glow into a golden cloak atop the irivesent stems amongst summer’s natural bounty … a haze of wild softness.
Memories from last Autumn. Took advantage of a space between events from late September to October to enjoy some much needed time in the mountain air …..
Senhora da Lapa, Sernancelhe, Portugal
If in the Mangualde area of Portugal, go to the Palacio dos Condes de Anadia! It’s one of my favorite places. One of those places that pleasantly surprise the moment you step inside. Visually a place I left feeling creatively inspired and, well happy. Ask a local and they may not have even realized it’s there, but this lovely spot is being overlooked by many.
Then take the drive up the mountain to catch beautiful panoramic views of the city and the surrounding villages that have found their corner, nestled amongst the green Serra Mountains. At the top you will find the Capela de Nossa Senhora do Castelo.
If you’re willing to, and can, take the walk up the distant stairs or the steepish ramp as I did, then you’ll be met with quite a lovely sight. The neoclassic church and stonework designs remind you, you are most certainly in Europe. It doesn’t require much distance for one to take a detour and encounter either something old and beautiful, a stunning landscape or both!
It comesA visible horizonRight where it starts it endsOh, and then we start the end.It comesA visible illusionOh, where it starts and endsLove like a sunset — “Love at Sunset Pt. II ” by Phoenix