DESTINATIONThrough well seasoned paths we discover pieces of history at every step
This month you'll discover…
The Flavors from Fundão
In the certainty that one year contains 365 travel opportunities, we sugest you head for the Centre of Portugal.
Between the Serra da Estrela and Gardunha Mountain there are unique colored landscapes containing magical places, full of forts, temples, castles, palaces, historic and the schist villages. The daily life is paced by the seasons. In spring Gardunha is painted white, a unique natural spectacle, and Easter aromas involve the air, in a set of unique traditions that take place in the Fortieth. The summer heat matures the rubies that are the theme for the celebration of the Cherry. The season ends with the sound of rattles, a tribute festival to the Transhumance paths and pastoral world. Autumn arrives and with it the flavors of pine trees that become the "Exhibition of Arts and Flavours of Maúnça", in Açor and the "Míscaros - Mushroom Festival", in Alcaide. The cold winter season brings with it new Olive Oil that enhances the Festival of Tibórnia, a reference in the region's gastronomic itineraries.
Janeiro de Cima
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Flavours of Maúnça
Autumn arrives and pine flavours cast us to the discovery.
We left Fundão, towards Lavacolhos, land that lives to the rhythm of the drums. We take the opportunity to visit the House of the Drums and discover the mysteries of this musical instrument that marks the character of a people.
We resumed the journey snaking along the river Zêzere has we get conquered by the beauty of the river that leads us to the Schist Village of Janeiro de Cima. We got drawn by the smell of burning fireplaces and the sound of looms coming from the House of Weavers. We followed through the labyrinthine narrow streets of Janeiro de Cima to the river. The boats, continue to mark the memories of old days, when they were used for trade or to unite populations. Farmlands can be seen all around the village. We contemplate the pace of the water and gather energies. We leave this ecstasy with the help of the scent of "maranhos" floating in the air.
We hit the road again, towards the simple village of Açor. Here it was offered to us the famous "Miaus", typical cakes of this region. In addition to these, it was also offered the "filhós", "fatias douradas" and many more delicacies to make the mouth water.
We were fortunate to get in time for the "magusto". Chestnuts pop under the red and orange flames dancing in the middle of the street. We can only thank them! Not only for the roasted chestnuts, but also for the warmth that comes from the fire, where the people gather to share experiences and stories. One tells of the existence of a mysterious phenomenon that happened in Maúnça Mountain. In a place known as Valados there are two elliptical shapes where does not grow tall vegetation. Legend says that, when passing through this place, French soldiers murdered two young girls (versions differ between religious girls or Princesses), having buried them on the spot. Since then, the vegetation never grew back again, in order to perpetuate their memory. It is a curious legend that awakens the desire to find the place.
Flavours of Gardunha – Míscaros
We enter the heart of the stunning Gardunha Mountain through the always beautiful village of Alcaide. It's a beautiful sunny day! It runs a light breeze which seems to whisper through the lush vegetation all the mysteries embodied in Gardunha and its faithful Autumn guardians, the "míscaro" mushrooms! They hide among the pine needles and vegetation, which lie in the ground, we came in search of them.
A village of Alcaide It's the ideal place to start our search, since it holds, for some years, The Mushroom Festival. We stir the soil carefully, in this truly epic voyage, to discover the wild mushrooms. We brought the "castanho" basket, that we bought on Alcongosta Village, in one of the basket weavers who in his workshop transforms the chestnut wood into graceful baskets. It is worth remembering that the mushroom picking should be done only by those who know how do do it! Lacking the necessary knowledge, we are accompanied by an agronomist which explained the differences between a non-edible mushroom and one that will provide delicious meals for the whole family. After a nice walk, and a basket full of beautiful wild mushrooms, we were anxious to turn them into tasty culinary delights.
Flavours of chestnut
We started our journey among shades of red and orange in Donas village. In this small village, we discover the great heritage and were delighted with the beauty of the Manueline buildings such as the Casa do Paço and the Pancas' Chapel. You should not miss the visit to Domus - Mundi Museum, which unveil the world, across multiple objects from various contexts and contemporary geographies.
After this magnificent journey through history, we set off on a journey through the paths of the Chestnut Route (click here). Having reached the summit of Gardunha we are faced with the sumptuous, dense Chestnut Grove that leads us to a magical forest with an enormous biodiversity. We walked a few more meters in order to catch sight of vast orchards of cherry trees. Today, the predominant colours are brown and orange, but we imagine this place in the middle of spring, painted white by the cherry blossom, or in summer covered with small rubies that are the delight of everyone.
We return again to Donas and set off towards the town of Fundão. Nothing better to regain forces to taste carqueja rice and some delicious porridge, in one of the many restaurants in town. After that, we went to discover Fundão and its historic centre. We highlight the Cale Street, which guards the heritage of the Jewish people that lived and developed the traditional commerce there, The Archaeological Museum José Monteiro Alves and the Interpretation Centre of Rye Milling, that take us on journeys full of history and stories.
You cannot miss a visit to Fundão Tourism Store where you can taste the famous Cherry Custard Tart of Fundão, the cherry chocolates and find crafts of the region. We ended our visit in the best way, with a visit to the Guard's House, where we participate in a traditional "magusto" full of Fundão's flavours and tasting a number of local products like candy, sausages, wine and cheese.
Flavours with History
At the Historical Village of Castelo Novo We feel a sense of peace and relaxation as we discover history in the middle of Gardunha Mountain. Granite streets and the sound of water, running through the canals, lead us through unique places that have more than 800 years of existence. The old County House and its austere pillory, the fountains of D. João V, the houses of the noble village families and, up high, the imposing Castle, flanked by the walls, keep many stories yet to unravel. We from our journey by the scents that spread through the granite rocks. We recommend the roast lamb in a wood-fired oven and tasty homemade sweet rice desert.
The route through the flavors with history continues ... and we're heading to discover the beautiful Alpedrinha Village. Here we decided to unravel the beauty of this Sintra of Beira Region. As we enter the heart of the village, we are faced with a magnificent set of typically "Beirã" houses, with their porches adorned with flowers of all colours. We also found many chapels that belonged to a distinguished "alpetriniense" family, Cardinal D. Jorge da Costa, famous royal advisor, who was present in great moments in the history of Portugal – like the signing of the Treaty of Tordesilhas. We come to Alpedrinha's parish church and we were held by the beauty of the pipe organ. We followed by a small street and we find ourselves near the Palace of the Riding Arena (Picadeiro, in Portuguese). We walked in and we were greeted by the guide that challenges us in a discovery through the various rooms of the building and takes us to the knowledge of the pastoral world of the council of Fundão, through sounds, landscapes and textures.
Flavours with Tradition
Nothing like enjoying the most traditional flavours of a region than going directly to the producers. We present a roadmap for small producers of the most various endogenous products of Fundão. We begin by visiting an olive oil mill, that stands out for having combined tradition to innovation, creating one that was the first olive oil with gold in Portugal. We begin the taste of extra virgin olive oil, with homemade bread, cooked in wood oven. We then go to taste of a flavoured olive oil with bay leaves, pepper and, of course, we finished with the olive oil with gold! The palate welcomes these multiple flavours.
We head towards the Cooperativa do Fundão cellar. We found everything about the production of wines of Beira Interior, with the winemaker who was giving the guide tour, through casks guarding the sweet nectar. The best comes now. We will taste it! In the tasting room we savour distinctive and award-winning wines like the "Fundanus", "Praça Nova" or "Alpedrinha". Fine wines to accompany a typical Fundão cheese - yellow cheese from Beira Baixa.
With the senses awaken for irreverent Fundão's flavours, we choose to do a picnic in the Monastery Park, a large park with all we need to do a picnic without worrying about nothing. The bravest can take the opportunity to do more radical activities such as tree climbing, rock climbing or take a bike tour on one of the 12 mountain biking routes that Gardunha Mountain offers. Those who prefer, can stay in the park, and enjoy the peace in this nice place, great for those looking to relax. After the deserved rest, we continue on our journey through the flavours of Fundão.
Let's go to Soalheira, land of good cheese, taste what the cold hands of the cheese makers have to give us. The visit to the cheese factory begins by placing their hands on the job and take part in this ancient ritual. After having worked the cheese and learned the art, we passed to the tasting of mixed cheese of soft and velvety taste that melts in the mouth, we then tasted a buttery sheep's cheese that goes well with cornbread. We move to stronger flavours of goat's cheese that asks for a robust wine, like the "Fundanus" that we tasted this morning, We finished with a spicy cheese, also known as "Queimoso", which is a cheese for true connoisseurs.
365 Days of Discovery
The region of Fundão has numerous attractions that provide unique experiences. You already have notice it along the route, but we should point out that Fundão is a beautiful place, surrounded by the mountains of Gardunha and Estrela, by orchards and forest. We highlight:
• Route of Cherry Blossoms – On our first visit to Fundão, we went to see the breathtaking cherry blossom. Check out that route here.
• The Forthieth – Religious traditions of lent are celebrated intensely in Fundão. The celebration of the Passion, death and resurrection of Christ it's a central event of the liturgical year for all Christians. You can experience all this spirit through religious manifestations, unique in the country, in particular, the Procession of the Penitents, an event in which the sacred and the profane mingle advocating a fertile agricultural year
• Cherry Festival in Alcongosta - Every year, in June, Alcongosta gets paint in red and shares the flavours of this fruit. During the Festival you can witness the day-to-day work in the orchard, walk the paths of the Cherry Route (click here) through the Cherry Trees of Gardunha's Mountain. You can also taste the cherries themselves, fantastic liqueurs, and sweet pastries made with this magnificent fruit.
• Rattles – Festival of the Transhumance Routes – In late summer, Alpedrinha Village opens its doors inviting everyone to the celebration of this ancient practice which is the Transhumance. One of the highlights of the festival is the trip through one of the Transhumance paths, at the sound of rattles, drums and fifes. You can follow a herd and be a shepherd for a day.
• Forest Houses - The Forest Houses network includes the House of Honey (Bogas de Cima), the Round House (Bogas de Cima), the Mushroom House (Malhada Velha), the House of Drums (Lavacolhos), the House of the Weavers (Janeiro de Cima) and the Big House (Barroca). All these houses are educational and touristic, but essentially designed to preserve traditions and ways of producing high quality handmade articles. Learn more here.
• Hiking - It is 12 footpaths created in Gardunha Mountain, in a total of 140 kilometres. Each route can be completed in one day because each have less than 30 kilometres. They are paths and trails that pass in Gardunha Mountain where you can observe the existent fauna and flora; (see all paths here)
• BTT - Fundão offers 120 kilometres of tracks that are divided by 11 routes between the city and the Gardunha Mountain. The BTT centre is located along the Fundão campsite, at the heart of the Adventure Park. (see all paths here)
Useful information Fundão Tourism Address: Praça do Município 11-A, Fundão Phone: +351 275 779 040 Email: email@example.com Website: www.cm-fundao.pt