Books, Movies and Video Games have made millions of people world wide aware of the legendary Knight Templars. But in Portugal the Knight Templars are more than a legend. For 200 years they were a major force in the Christian reconquest of Muslim Portugal. They and their successors, the Knights of Christ, built scores of castles and churches throughout Portugal. Particularly in the Knights Templar region where they had their headquarters.
Dating back to the 18th century, the Mafra National Palace is Portugal’s most important baroque monument, occupying an area of roughly 40,000 m2.
Many bicycle tour operators offer packages through the Alentejo and we’ve listed just some of them below. Experienced cyclers could certainly put together their own routes by consulting a detailed map. Throughout the Alentejo, you can set your own level of adventure and choose from among hill, plain, city, town and beach routes—or pack all of them into an extended tour.
Tomar, Portugal’s city of the Templars, sets date for “Festa dos Tabuleiros” in 2015 – city has host of new places to explore
Porto Santo, Madeira - Madeira has been known for more than two centuries as a paradise with warm year-round temps, plenty of sun, world-class hotels, and lots of things to do. But, “beaches” has never been on the list (although you can swim in the sea, since most of the swimming pools of the major hotels in the Island are built into the sea)
The pinnacles of this period were the 13th century castles built under King D. Dinis I, who rebuilt almost every major castle in the land. Until D. Dinis, Portugal’s castles were usually just a three-story keep with one or two rings of walls. Now new towering keeps were built, like the one at Beja or the five-sided keep at Sabugal. Many rings of walls were added, all with staggered gates and hidden escape doors. Wooden garrison buildings were built with more room for provisions and space for soldiers.
These full-bodied reds and flavorful whites complement popular dishes served at the last cookouts of the season
As a place, Portugal has well defined geographic boundaries, with the Atlantic to the south and the west, and rivers and mountains to the east and north. It occupies the westernmost portion of the Iberian Peninsula, and is about the size of the American state of Indiana. The country is a place of topographical contrasts as well, common on a peninsula.
Casa da Musica (House of Music) is a major performance space designed by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. Finished in 2005, the new venue has become an icon. Casa da Musica’s design has been proclaimed "the most attractive project the architect Rem Koolhaas has ever built" by Nicolai Ouroussoff of the New York Times. Others call it the most important concert hall built in the last 100 years.
The Vinho de Cheiro, literally “wine of scent,” is a light red wine with a perfume-like fragrance that is found on several of the islands in the Azores, such as São Miguel, Graciosa, Pico, Santa Maria and Terceira. It is made from the American Isabelle grapes that were introduced in the 19th century when the phylloxera struck the local vineyards.