The isolated Bussaco Forest is not a natural forest, but a set of massive aboriginal walls planted by 17th-century Carmelite monks. It grew with the Portuguese Empire. Foreign trees were brought to every corner of the globe, and in fact, its botanical glory was that in the 17th century a pope threatened to expel anyone who interfered with cultivation. After overthrowing 19th-century religious decrees, King Carlos I ordered the construction of a summer resort in the middle of 250 acres of wood. The result is stained glass windows, hand-painted frescoes, and tiles, and arches with arches, and arched windows. It was the last hurry of the Portuguese emperor. King Carlos was assassinated in 1907. After his son was deposed in 1910, he used the palace before fleeing to England. Today it is one of the most unique hotels in Europe, with 64 rooms, a jewel of the century in neo-manual romantic style. This is the Do Bussaco Palace Hotel. It is also a good base for exploring the nearby romantic city of Coimbra.
The streets of Coimbra, the seat of Portugal’s oldest university, founded in 1290, are filled with students wearing their traditional black hats. The city is famous for the fado (often the most popular folk music in Portugal) sung by men.
This is best heard at the Capella Club, housed in an old synagogue in the Jewish quarter. The luxury hotel in Coimbra, the “Late Gothic-Renaissance Quinta das Lagrimas” (Tear Estate), is located in a Sylvan residence just beyond the city walls. After a long retreat from kings and generals, this is a historic country palace with a modern spa, a well-known restaurant, and gardens with romantic landscapes.