Setting off in Portugal

How do you begin a trip to Portugal?

You could get up very early in the morning and take an early flight from Gatwick to Lisbon, arrive c.midday or early afternoon and drive to your destination. Or you could stay overnight in Gatwick and take the same early flight but after a normal night’s sleep. We did this last year but the Gatwick experience was not enjoyable: the ‘cheap’ hotel was not comfortable, dinner was not available for at least 1.5 hours, breakfast was grim, and the flight was delayed. Nevertheless we arrived in Lisbon and drove through heavy rain to Vila Viçosa to stay for a few days in the Pousada Convento Vila Viçosa.

Pousada Convento Vila Vicosa

Pousada Convento Vila Vicosa

A Convent and beautiful Chapel was built for the ladies of the Royal household and abuts the Royal Palace of the House of Braganza. Today it has been converted into an atmospheric and stunningly beautiful hotel – one of the Pousadas of Portugal. There is a cloister with courtyard, and an upper cloister, painted rooms, wall paintings, tiles…

The Lower Cloister in the Pousada Vila Vicosa

The Lower Cloister in the Pousada Vila Vicosa

The Upper Cloister in the Pousada Vila Vicosa

The Upper Cloister in the Pousada Vila Vicosa

Refectory ceiling, Pousada Vila Vicosa

Painted reception room in the Pousada Vila Vicosa

Painted reception room in the Pousada Vila Vicosa

Tiled reception room in the Pousada Vila Vicosa

Tiled reception room in the Pousada Vila Vicosa

A small garden and swimming pool are hidden at the side of the hotel.

The garden at the side of the Pousada Vila Vicosa

The garden at the side of the Pousada Vila Vicosa

Orange Trees in the Pousada Vila Vicosa

And in the marble square D.Joao IV sits astride his horse in front of the marble-covered Ducal Palace. This is a magical town – take the early flight and spend your first night in Portugal here! Alternatively I have another suggestion…

Vila Vicosa – the Pousada, the Ducal Palace, and the statue of D Joao IV