Experiencing the Wonders of Nature in Luso and Buçaco, Portugal
Tourists who love to explore nature will have a great time in Luso and Buçaco in Central Portugal. These are two old towns known for their natural beauty; Luso is known for its thermal springs, while Buçaco is famous for its rich forest.
Luso, Portugal has been in existence since the 11th century. However, it did not became known until much later. During the 1800s, the hot springs of the village of Luso became known throughout Portugal due to its healing properties. Soon after, spa resorts were developed, and tourists came flocking into town during the summer months.
Aside from this, Luso, Portugal is also famous for its spring water. Currently, Luso spring water is being marketed as Luso’s Bottled Mineral Water, and many consider this as one of the best in Portugal.
No one can talk about Luso without mentioning the nearby town of Buçaco. Buçaco is a charming little town that has a rich history. However, just like Luso, Portugal, it is not exactly known just because of its history. Instead, it is famous for its dense forest and hotels.
The Buçaco Forest is very old, dating back hundreds of years ago. For a long time, it was considered a perfect place for contemplation and reflection, which made it an ideal location for monasteries. In fact, in the 6th century, the Forest was inhabited by Benedictine monks, and later, in the 1600s, it was inhabited by the Discalced Carmelite monks.
In the 16th century, the Discalced Carmelite monks, also known as the Barefoot Carmelites, built walls that surrounded about 250 acres of the Buçaco Forest. They cultivated the trees, and planted exotic species of plants from Japan, Mexico, Chile, and other countries. Currently, about 500 plant species can still be found in the forest. Because of the monks’ dedication to conserve and cultivate the forest, it was later recognized as a National Park.
Now, you may think that hot springs and forests are all what Luso and Buçaco have to offer. This is not true; in fact, as mentioned earlier, both towns have a rich history. There are quite a few historical sites that must be explored in the two towns, such as the ruins of the Carmelite monastery in Buçaco and the Museum of the Peninsular War.
There are also a few things you can do in Luso and Buçaco. Aside from strolling in the park, you can hike up to the mountain and see a few shrines or stations, the last of which is the High Cross. You can also visit the Cold Fountain, a natural fountain located in the forest. The water from a mountain spring goes downhill 144 steps, before it flows to the Grottoes Gate.
After exploring the Forest, guests can stay at Palace Hotel do Buçaco, an elegant hotel in the center of the walled Buçaco Forest. This hotel was originally the summer palace and hunting lodge of the Portuguese royal family. It features beautiful Manueline architecture, with balconies that offers breathtaking views of the forest.
How to Get There
The small town of Luso can be reached by car or bus via the A1 Lisbon-Oporto Highway. It is situated north of Coimbra, south of Mealhada, and west of Carregal do Sal. Buçaco, on the other hand, can be reached by bus from Coimbra or Viseu.