It’s lavender season and social media is ruled by beautiful sceneries in violet tones. Of course, the most famous lavender fields are in Provence, France, but I rarely travel outside Portugal during the summer months. We all have to admit that summer is simply gorgeous here. And even if my beautiful home land of Bulgaria also has some some pretty amazing lavender fields and produces super high quality lavender oil, I never get to go home during their blooming season. But I really wanted to experience the rich scent and breathtaking scenery of the never ending violet, gently diving into the deep blue skies... So, I thought there has to be something similar and closer than France. And last month, during a quick search I found it. “Quinta das Lavandas” is a relatively new (less than 10 years old) project of cultivating lavender, combined with beautiful rural tourism lodging, located just outside the cute town of Castelo de Vide. During the months of June and July they host open, guided visits to the fields (Tuesdays and Thursdays; book in advance). As weather in Portugal in May and beginning of June was quite unstable and even chilly, we decided to postpone our visit and wait until at least the beginning of July, in order to find the lavender in a really nice bloom. And we had a blast. Unfortunately, one of the fields they have almost died last year, but the other one was just perfectly blooming, beautifully painting the surroundings in violet. Literally, this was the best day trip from Lisbon!
After taking at least a thousand photos, we headed to Castelo de Vide for lunch, where by chance we found a great place for light and quick lunch - “O Pirolito”. Based on the concept of “wine & tapas”, this brand new restaurant in the centre offered as a fresh escape from the heat within the large, stone walls of an old glass-bottles factory, while enjoying a delicious meal and a glass of great wine. After lunch, we headed for a stroll around the beautiful, tiny streets of the town, that dates way back to the 13th century. Located very close to the border with Spain, its castle played an important role in Portuguese history throughout the centuries.
Before heading back to Lisbon, we stoped in the middle of nowhere to appreciate Alentejo’s scenery under the shadow of a cork tree. There’s something really amazing in this region. The combination of warm, golden fields, green, mostly cork trees, spread here and there and the beautiful, blue sky with some fluffy white clouds, slightly remind me of the African savannah we experienced in Kenya back in October. Just the wild life is missing... But the peace and silence, interrupted only by the bird songs, quickly took over and all similarities to any other place fade away to give place to its uniqueness and a strong desire of never wanting to leave.
Did you really visit Portugal if you haven’t experienced its Alentejo lifestyle?