Portuguese Guesthouses - Pousadas
The Pousadas of Portugal
Spain and Portugal have a very special type of hotel. In Portugal they are the Pousadas and in Spain they are known as Paradors.
These hotels are owned by the government and aim to preserve historic buildings by running them as high class hotels. They also have some modern hotels, built in traditional style, to help with tourism in areas of outstanding beauty.
Luckily the profit motive is absent. They do not compete with the commercial sector and are not to be found in the city centers. There are a few exceptions where they have been asked to restore a historic building. An example of this is the Pousada dos Loios in Evora on the road from Madrid to Lisbon. Evora is a World Heritage City and the Pousada was originally a convent and is opposite the old Roman Temple of Diana.
The Pousada Group have properties that are well placed all over Portugal. The holiday area of the Algarve is where most of the modern concrete tourist hotels are situated.
Lisbon has some great Pousadas within easy reach. In the outskirts of this Capital City is the Pousada D. Maria I in the building which formerly housed the Royal Guard to the Court. This is part of the Palace of Queluz which is known as the Portuguese Versailles.
It you will be traveling north to the Porto (Oporto) area, on the way you might like to stay at the Pousada in the Castle in the old walled city of Obidos. You need to book early because it only has 9 rooms!
One of the Pousadas helping tourism in the regions is also on the way north. It is the Pousada da Ria situated on a narrow isthmus of land between the long sandy Altlantic beaches and lagoon. Perfect for sitting on the balcony and watching the birds!
Here are some of our favourite Pousadas in northern Portugal.
One of the most accessible to the motorway system is the Pousada de Santa Marinha on a hill above the former capital of Guimaraes.
This 12th century convent received the National Architectural prize for the restoration.
Another favourite which is near to the Peneda-Geres National Park is the Pousada de Santa Maria do Bouro near Amares. Again it is a restoration of an old convent but the architect, who has won international acclaim for this work, has tried to keep the image of the building before its restoration. Grass grows on the roof and picture windows look out onto the inner courtyard in its unrestored state.
If the other reason to visit Portugal is to sample Port Wine, a visit to the Pousada do Solar da Rede is a must. This 18th century home stately home is surrounded by its 27 hectare vineyard. There is a breathtaking view down to the Douro river.
The beautiful old sailing port of Viana do Castelo has the more modern Pousada de Santa Luzia on the hill overlooking the town. This most northern area of Portugal has granite mountains and, in the river valleys, fields edged by vines for the Vinho Verde wine. These fields are too small for large modern equipment such as tractors!
After your visit to Portugal is over, many will be traveling home across Spain and through France. Three Paradors on the route home are the Parador Reyes Catolicos in the old pilgrim city of Santiago de Compestela, the Parador San Marcos at Leon and finally a castle built in 980 AD in Hondarribia.
The information on this page is from the English language website of one of our partners, The Manor Houses of Portugal Promotions, who have details of a range of traditional accommodation. All their accommodation has been personally checked before going onto the site.
They assist with the making of reservations using the English language. All reservations are direct with the hotels etc. on their standard terms and they are paid direct in the normal way their standard price.