Imagine a hotel set in an ancient seaside fortress. Or an inn built in a 400-year old convent perched above a vibrant city. That is the vision behind a new Portuguese Government program that is putting 30 monuments across Portugal up for development to take advantage of a booming travel economy. The new program is called REVIVE – a groundbreaking public initiative to find new uses for some amazing places across Portugal of tremendous architectural, historic and cultural value. It includes palaces, castles, monasteries, forts and even a royal horse farm and a lighthouse.
The goal of the REVIVE program is to promote and preserve vacant properties of rare value, transitioning them into travel-related economic uses to generate jobs while enhancing the offerings of regional destinations around the country. This will open up properties to private investment to develop them as tourist attractions through a public tendering. That could be for hotels, restaurants, meeting centers and more. Today Portugal is one of the hottest travel destinations in Europe, earning acclaim for some of the US’s top media.
National heritage properties are a very important part of a nation’s identity and contribute to the economic development of a regional tourism economy. REVIVE seeks to save these monuments by ensuring that they are preserved, valued and publicized, and that they are made widely accessible.
Including in the REVIVE program for redevelopment are:
The castle of Portalegre - A 13th century castle set above the Alentejo city of Portalegre, complete with castellated walls.
Graça Convent – A 13th century convent in the heart of Lisbon’s historic Graça neighborhood – rebuilt after the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake and last used an army barrack. It offers cloisters and sweeping views over the River Tejo.
São Pedro Forte, Cascais – This 17th century fortress is set between the posh town of Cascais and the beach – with dazzling views and location.
Guincho Fort – A ruined fortress right on Guincho beach, the best surfing beach in Europe.
The Barra de Aveiro Light - A 18th century lighthouse, right on the Atlantic in the remains from a fort –near golden sands and the city of Aveiro.
Royal Palaces in Caxias (near Lisbon) and Caldas de Rainha.
The Royal Stud Farm in Alter do Chão – Buildings from the 18 and19th centuries at the famous stud farm at Alter – home of the rare and beautiful royal horse, the Alter pure bred.
Convent of Santa Clara (Nova) – This beautiful 17-18th century religious structure is perched high above Santa Clara with sweeping views of the university city of Coimbra across the River Mondego.
The Sanfins de Friestas, Monastery in the Minho – This Romanesque monument dates to the 10th century, and is set with vast view of the mountain of this green northern province.
Castle of Vila Nova de Cerveira – This medieval castle with 17th century fortifications and a dozen buildings is set right on the River Minho – and has served as a hotel and restaurants.
Revive is a joint initiative of the Ministries of Economy, Culture and Finance, with the objective of promoting the requalification and reuse of monuments which are not being used or are in need of repairs. Many served as former military bases.
Portugal is having an amazing year in the US. The European nation is set to have a 22% increase in American guests for 2016, setting a new record with close to a half million Americans expected in 2017. And in the past month Travel + Leisure named Portugal its Editors Pick Destination of the Year. Fodor’s included the Northern Minho area in their 2017 “Go List.” Condé Nast Traveler said Portugal was one of the places to go in 2017. Lonely Planet named the Azores one of the “world’s best regions to visit in 2017.” And, the Huffington Post declared Portugal “The Country Everybody Will Be Visiting In 2017.”
The U.S. remains one of Portugal’s fastest growing markets – and spending by American guests, per capita, far outpaces other nations.
The REVIVE project also promotes the launch of specific financial instruments designed to leverage private investment.
For more information about REVIVE see the site http://revive.turismodeportugal.pt/ or