Photos courtesy of Palace Hotel do Bussaco
60 rooms and 4 suites
Double rooms: 93–177 euros
Suites: from 223 euros
Rates include breakfast, tax, and service.
Packages and promotions available.
Open: all year
You’ll need a good map. Bussaco (Buçaco) is 30 km northeast of Coimbra and just off route 234. From Coimbra, go north on N-1. Do not take the road marked España. Go east on NR-234 toward Luso. Luso has bus and train stops and is 1 km away from Bussaco.
On site: tennis
Nearby: seasonal swimming pool; min-golf; walks through the Bussaco forest.
A wonderful example of neo-Manueline and Renaissance architecture, this palace features a tower, a gallery of double arches, and some interesting stone carving.
Inside, the hotel is warm and comfortable. A large sitting room full of antique furniture is the perfect place to sip an aperitif while warming yourself in front of a large fireplace. A grand staircase leads up to another sitting area filled with carved rosewood furniture from India and China. Fascinating vintage-framed photos from the palace’s royal days adorn the walls of one corridor.
Guest rooms vary from small to enormous. All are comfortable, with antique furnishings, modern bathrooms, and views of the forest. The President’s Suite is extra-special with a terrace, silver tea service, and marble bath. British Prime Minister Anthony Eden and his wife honeymooned here.
Lunch and dinner are served elegantly in the formal dining rooms where walls are adorned with large pastel-colored paintings illustrating scenes from the Lusiads (an epic Portuguese poem written in 1500 by Luis Van de Camöes). Overhead is a ceiling in the Mudéjar style with crystal chandeliers.
The lovely grounds hold an arcade covered with lavender flowers, a pool with resident swan, a maze garden, and several walking paths.
On grounds of the Bussaco National Park