Palheiros Houses in Madeira

Palheiros Houses in Madeira

Palheiros houses are a feature of the countryside in Madeira and can be found in many villages. They are most concentrated in Santana, a pretty village on the northern coast, however.

Simple A-frame structures with a thatched roof, the style came with the early settlers to Madeira.

Palheiros House
Palheiros house in Madeira

The walls are white-washed with the window frames, shutters and doors then painted in bright colors or pastel shades for a pleasing contrast.

Wheat was an important crop for the early 16th-century settlers on Madeira. Any surplus was exported to continental Portugal which had long endured a deficit of the grain. The leftover straw was then used as thatch. Nowadays, wheat is no longer much grown on the island so maintaining the cottages has become expensive as the thatch must be placed every five years on average.

In days gone by corn was often left to dry on the steeply-angled roofs.

Inside the top floor was usually used for drying and storing agricultural products (such as seeds) while the ground floor was the living space. The upper floor is accessed via an internal trap door or by a ladder on the outside. Kitchens were normally located in separate buildings.

Palheiros House
Often brightly-colored, thatched palheiros are a feature of the Madeiran landscape

The local municipality in Santana has attempted to preserve its palheiros houses by offering an annual prize for the best-maintained properties.

Several of the houses are now open to the public, though only a few are still permanently inhabited. The local Tourist Office in the village of 4,000 people is even housed in a palheiros.

Palheiros House
Palheiros are white-washed with the window frames and doors painted in bright colors or pastel shades

Madeira Related

Blandy's

Capela de Santa Catalina

Carro de Cesto

Levadas

Madeira Wine Museums

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Mateus Rosé

Mateus Rosé

Mateus Rosé
The Mateus Rosé label features the Mateus Palace in Vila Real

Mateus Rosé was once synonymous with Portugal back in its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s. The brand began in the 1940s and quickly became popular among wine drinkers in the USA and northern Europe especially the UK.

A medium-sweet, fizzy rosé Mateus accountable for 40% of Portuguese table wine exports by the 1980s and no Christmas, wedding, or birthday in the UK seemed to lack it.

Indeed, Queen Elizabeth II was a fan as were Saddam Hussein and Elton John.

As other Portuguese wines have become more well-known, the company's percentage of total exports has fallen but the wine remains popular. The owners have introduced other varieties including a Tempranillo, a Sparkling Brut Rosé, a Sparkling Dry White, and Sparkling Demi Sec.

The Mateus Rosé label features the Mateus Palace in Vila Real. Its distinctive round bottle was once a favorite candle holder accessory among garret-dwelling students.

Mateus Rosé
The distinctive bottle of Mateus Rosé

Details

Rua 5 de Outubro, 4527
4430-809 Avintes
Portugal
Tel: 351 227 838 104
www: mateusrose.com

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Vasco da Gama Tower Lisbon

Vasco da Gama Tower Lisbon

The Vasco da Gama Tower is the centerpiece of the Parque das Nações (Nations Park) district of Lisbon.

Vasco da Gama Tower Lisbon
Vasco da Gama Tower Lisbon

The 145 meter-tall, steel Vasco da Gama Tower (Torre Vasco da Gama) symbolizes the sail of a caravel and references the history of Portuguese exploration and the Age of Discoveries.

The structure was built for Expo 98 and is one of the tallest structures in Portugal. In 2012 the five-star Myriad Hotel opened next to the tower.

The structure is illuminated at night
The structure is illuminated at night

The structure is illuminated at night and makes for a beautiful sight. The viewing platform at the top is no longer open but there are plans to reopen it.

Nearby is the 17 km long Vasco da Gama Bridge, the longest bridge in western Europe.

Access - Getting There

Take the Linha Oriente Line (color-coded red) to Gare do Oriente Station.

There are also suburban line trains to Oriente and several bus routes including the #208, #210, #708, #725, #728, #744, #750, #759, #782, and #794.

A cable car connects the Oceanarium to Vasco da Gama Tower.

The total height of the structure is 145 meters
The total height of the structure is 145 meters

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Os Caretos de Podence

Os Caretos de Podence, Macedo de Cavaleiros, Trás-os-Montes

Os Caretos de Podence
Os Caretos de Podence

One of Portugal's most traditional and bizarre carnival celebrations takes place in the village of Podence in the Trás-os-Montes region of northeastern Portugal.

Men of the area dress in colorful, home-made, woolen, hooded costumes predominately red, green, and yellow with red masks made from wood or leather. Around their waists on leather belts, they wear an assortment of metal rattles and bells. A tail protrudes from the hood and also carries a sexual connotation. The caretos usually carry a wooden staff as well.

The caretos circulate around the village in search of women to shake their rattles and bells at. The act symbolizes spring, fertilization, and regrowth after the barren months of winter.

The festival in the villages of Podence and nearby Macedo de Cavaleiros has been designated an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

Historians believe the festival has its roots in ancient Celtic fertility cults.

Access - Getting There

Podence and Macedo de Cavaleiros are around 40 km south of Bragança and 80 km northeast of Vila Real.

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Via Algarviana

Via Algarviana

The Via Algarviana is a long-distance walking route in the Algarve region of southern Portugal. It connects Cabo de São Vicente (Cape of Saint Vincent) in the southwest with Alcoutim in the northeast of the region. The Via Algarviana is suitable for both walking or cycling.

There are also trails branching off the main route such as the one shown on the map below from Aljezur to Marmelete.

Via Algarviana
Via Algarviana Map

Route

The Via Algarviana passes through Vila do Bispo, Bensafrim, Marmelete, Monchique, Silves, Messines, Alte, Salir, Barranco do Velho, Parises, Cachopo, Vaqueiros, Furnazinhos, Balurcos before arriving in Alcoutim. There are spurs to Lagos, Loule and São Bras do Alportel.

Altogether the entire route is around 300 km in length. The route became fully accredited in 2006.

All the main towns and villages on the route have adequate accommodation and restaurants for tired and hungry hikers. August, due to the heat, is probably best avoided but not impossible.

Route Map
Detailed route maps are available along the way


Rota Vicentina

The trail also connects with the roughly north-south Rota Vicentina at Cabo de São Vicente and Aljezur.

Further Information

Further information can be found at viaalgarviana.org

If you are thinking of a walking holiday in southern Portugal Walking in the Algarve by Cicerone is an invaluable resource.

Detailed information is available on signboards along the route
Detailed information in both Portuguese and English is available on signboards along the route

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