Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 21, 2021
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Portuguese palace for €90 a night

Not to be confused with Brazil’s budget guesthouses, Portuguese pousadas are more akin to Spanish paradores — converted convents, monasteries and castles, some dating as far back as the Middle Ages, which now house stylish romantic hotels. The Pousadas of Portugal group now counts over 40 of these “living history hotels” across the country, ranging from restored historic buildings to examples of regional architecture. Some are in towns designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, others are tucked into nature preserves or dramatic mountain ranges. Unfortunately their beauty is often in inverse proportion to their accessibility: most require a rental car to reach as they are outside the centre of major cities like Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra. That said, they are definitely worth adding to an itinerary from the capital to the country’s most popular areas in the Algarve and along the western coast.

Each of the properties offers discounts and packages throughout the year, so it’s best to check individual websites for updates. To entice budget visitors to these luxury digs, the hotel group offers several Pousada Passports, with savings of up to 40 percent on regular rates. The least expensive passport is E360 and is good for four nights in a double room. That works out to E90 a night — a major drop when the average cost is E185. You’ll also get two 20-percent discount coupons for dinner at a pousada. Despite the E35 supplement for Saturday-night stays, and the blackout periods during August and major holidays, it’s still luxury on a shoestring. (011-351-21) 844-2001;

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.