Spas are being sought after more and more nowadays as a way of counteracting the stresses and strains produced by our busy and dynamic lifestyle. For this reason, the great abundance of springs of mineral and medicinal water to be found all over Portugal, some of which have been famous since Roman times, may represent an excellent suggestion for a visit.
In the far north of the country are Quinta de Santo António, Casa da Eira and Quinta da Calçada, which are ideal starting points for visiting the spas of Monção and Melgaço.
Or you can follow the winding roads leading into the Peneda-Gerês National Park, an area of waterfalls and wild horses, where you will find Casa de Avelar nestling at the foot of the mountains of Serra do Soajo. Inside the park’s boundaries are the spa of Gerês and a number of lakes formed by dams, such as the Barragem da Caniçada, which are ideal for water sports. Close to the River Cávado is Quinta do Sorilhal, a manor house set in a rustic environment.
A short distance from Póvoa de Lanhoso, which for many years has traditionally been a centre for goldsmiths, is Casa de Alfena, with its beautiful gardens and waterfalls. In the surrounding district is Caldelas, one of the most sought after spas in Portugal.
Between Braga and Ponte de Lima, you can find a whole host of different choices for spending the night: Casa do Lago, in Bom Jesus, Quinta de São Bento, an old 17th-century house built close to a river beach, or Quinta do Casal, close to the old Road to Santiago de Compostela.
The spa of Eirôgo is close to Barcelos. There, you’ll find Quinta de Santa Comba, a beautiful 18th-century house where you can go horse-riding, Casa dos Assentos, Casa de Sequiade and Quinta do Sourinho, an estate where the house is built of granite.
At the 18th-century estate of Quinta da Picaria, you can enjoy all the perfect peace and quiet of the region and visit the Roman spa of Caldas da Saúde, nowadays offering a range of modern wellness programmes.
The spa at Chaves, a city whose name derives from that of the Roman Emperor Flavius Vespasianus (Vespasian), has water that springs from the earth at a temperature of 73ºC. One kilometre away is Quinta da Mata, where you can go horse-riding or enjoy a relaxing sauna.
In Portugal’s Centre region, there is also a great abundance of thermal springs, such as Caldas da Felgueira, with the nearby Solar Abreu Madeira, and the spas of Buçaco, Curia or Luso. When you’re in this region, you can also stay at Vila Duparchy or Solar da Vacariça, two places that are ideal for resting your body and mind.
Further south in the Alentejo, you can combine the treatment you’re receiving at the spa of Cabeço de Vide with some healthy physical exercise, following the keep-fit course or going horse-riding at Quinta da Bela Vista. All this, of course, without forgetting to take a tour of the town of Castelo de Vide, where the estate is located, and its beautiful surrounding region.
If you’re visiting the Portuguese islands, then one of the highlights is Casa das Calhetas, on the island of São Miguel in the Azores, where you can benefit from the geothermal properties of the spa at Furnas in its idyllic setting looking out over the Atlantic Ocean and the mountains of Serra da Lagoa do Fogo.
In fact, you’ll find that all the manor houses of Portugal are idyllic places where you can enjoy some truly relaxing peace and quiet as you delight in the breathtaking views over the Atlantic Ocean or over some of the most beautiful landscapes of Portugal’s inland regions.