How do you end a fantastic road trip through Europe’s beautiful west with a worthy final?
Well, there are certainly many good ideas.
After almost 600 km (around 370 miles) and seven days starting in Lisbon, we decided on the beautiful and almost fairy-tale Pousada Palácio Estói.
Just 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) north of Faro, this former maison de plaisance was the final stop of our entire summer Portugal road trip starting from the capital.
The history of the Pousada Palácio Estói
Designed at the end of the 18th century and built at the beginning of the 19th century, the Pousada Palácio Estói was originally a maison de plaisance.
Since for some readers it might probably not be that clear (until recently, not quite clear for me as well), I give here a short explanation:
A maison de plaisance is not about a castle, which often feels like pleasant.
It is a royal residence, by the respective king, imperial et cetera, but only used temporarily.
Mostly for private purposes and non-official, hence the name maison de plaisance.
“Work hard, play hard” was already valid then. At least for the rulers.
The original idea of the Pousada Palácio Estói was at that time only planned as a quite large farmhouse.
This goes back to the Portuguese nobleman Joaquim Pedro de Costa Madial.
In 1817, the land known as “The Garden” passed to Colonel Francisco de Carvalhal.
His son Fernando married in 1824 and rose to royal circles. His goal was to have his own summer residence.
Thus, it was in 1840 to build the Neo-classical palace.
Later, in 1893, José Francisco da Silva, a wealthy chemist, bought the land and completed the construction in 1909.
The architectural style stems from the style of the Rococo era.
Beautiful ornaments and a penchant for pomp and luxury characterize both the external appearance and the interior design.
The Luxury Hotel in the Pousada Palácio Estói
Yes, now comes the best! Those of you with a few pennies extra in the money pouch have the possibility to stay overnight in the palace.
Everything has recently been renovated and rebuilt.
The so-called Hotel Pousada Palácio Estói belongs since 2015 to the exquisite “Small Luxury Hotels of the World”.
It offers luxury spa, heated swimming pools and much more.
In short, top class at its finest.
Activities such as golf, canoeing, horseback riding, boat tours and much more are part of the offer repertoire.
Further information and already in advance wonderful photos of the top hotel are available on the hotel’s own website.
In 2007, the complex renovation work began, 12 million EUR have been put into the restoration of the building. In 2008, the hotel was officially opened.
The gardens of the Pousada Palácio Estói
In addition to the beautifully sophisticated and richly decorated interiors of the Palacio de Estoi, it is mainly the garden that underlines the beauty of this place.
Even special events such as the “Mediterranean Garden Fair” were and will be held there.
Its history dates back to the 18th century, with some extensive conversions and additions during the 19th century.
However, for a long time the gardens decayed due to lack of accountability and / or lack of financial resources.
As part of the complete restoration and conversion to the hotel, the gardens are again blooming in their old splendor.
Unfortunately, not enough money flowed into the complete repair of the garden, as in the main building itself.
Nevertheless, the garden is absolutely worth seeing and impresses with its incredibly romantic aura.
Straightforwardly it can be said, that visiting the Pousada Palácio Estói is part of a Portugal road trip.
Not only its location close to Faro makes it a well attainable destination.
Also, beautiful photographic shots are almost granted, especially in the garden.
On top of that, the visit is also completely free.
A small addition to the maintenance and care in the form of a visit to the palace’s café, however, also flushes one or two pennies into the kitty.
Incidentally, own fruit trees in the garden of the palace donate one or two sweets while giving a beautiful overall picture.
Our summer road trip Portugal ends with this recommendation.
Lisbon and the Algarve are highly recommended and should definitely be part in a trip to Europe.
STILL Portugal is a kind of insider tip, but especially the extraordinary benefits about Lisbon speak up quickly and also Portugal is experiencing increasing numbers of tourists from year to year. It’s worth to be quick here, in fact.
This, dear fellow readers, was our impression from the summer Portugal.
Our next article is about fantastic impressions from the Far East, starting with the old diva in the break of modern times: Hong Kong.
Stay tuned and travel-happy – Adeus says your Hendrik. Check out our Palcacio de Estoi Gallery!
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Sincerely, Bird & Hendrik