Published: June 4th 2013

After an educational visit to Faia Brava Nature Reserve and a fine al fresco feast, I bought some locally made olive oil and we began our journey to our next destination, the Herdade da Poupa hotel ( This exquisite property is situated in the middle of a vast and wild landscape, giving a real sense of isolation and unhindered beauty.

Portugal walking Cycling

Never have I been greeted by a goat and deer team upon arriving at a hotel. The lively pair kept us entertained, with the boisterous goat taking the lead and getting the deer into trouble. I have never seen anything like it! They’d fight each other, the goat would climb onto tables, push things over, and even climb into the front seat of our van! They had a strange and unlikely relationship which was fascinating to watch, but ultimately caused absolute mayhem for the hotel owners.

Portugal Walking

We sat on the back of a pickup truck as it drove around the vast hotel grounds, some 4000 hectares of virgin scrubland, packed with all manner of plants and creatures. The truck stopped a few times as the resident twitcher pointed out some rare birds and a lazy tortoise. In addition to the hundreds of birds and other animals on offer here, the owners obviously have a real passion for the conservation and management of this unique area which was clear through their informative talks.

Portugal Walking food

We made our way down to the river and were served a delectable selection of nibbles, including the nicest stuffed mushrooms I have ever tasted (I consumed my fair share). After filling our bellies with nibbles and wine, we were then told this was merely the start – a three-course meal would greet us when we got back to the hotel. I’m not one to shy away from excessive food consumption but I could sense a couple of other group members were genuinely concerned about how much more they could take.

After a gorgeous three-course meal we were treated to a fabulous slideshow about the birds in the reserve. A number of us then laid outside under the stars (which were outstanding!) and spotted shooting stars whilst sipping on gin and tonic. The good life.

It’s fair to say that with a setting like the Herdade da Poupa hotel, moving on is difficult and instantly full of regret. The following morning, we were whisked away after breakfast (so very reluctantly)…

To be continued  . . .