April 3, 2014 | Sunvil Discovery
Varied, historic, compact and accessible, the Centro region is Portugal’s best-kept secret
Independent operator Sunvil Discovery has launched a much-extended programme to Portugal’s diverse Centro region for 2014.
New properties range from grand historic townhouses to rural village casas, and a new Casa da Ínsua itinerary explores the region’s fascinating heritage and delicious cuisine, based in a splendid Baroque manor house.
Stretching across the heart of Portugal from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean to the heady heights of the Serra da Estrela, the Centro region offers an intriguing mix of glacial valleys, lush green mountains, painted wooden boats, extravagant Baroque churches, urban canals and never-ending sand dunes.
Coimbra, Portugal’s former capital, is brimming with history. It is home to one of the world’s oldest universities, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013, and the city pulses with the energy of its students. Here, a spectacular Baroque library – the Biblioteca Joanina – houses a colony of bats, welcome lodgers that protect the precious tomes from insects.
The fado of Coimbra is unique, and is considered to be more refined than that of Lisbon. And nearby lies Conimbriga, without doubt the most important Roman site in Portugal, with intricate mosaic floors and an aqueduct still standing.
Other highlights include the elegant art nouveau architecture and peaceful canals of Aveiro, dotted with colourful Moliceiro boats, the rural schist (a type of slate) village of Piodão, one of Portugal’s prettiest and little-known border communities located in the mountains, São Jacinto, a 700-hectare coastal reserve of rolling sand dunes and lagoons, and the fascinating Burel factory, which produces the traditionally-made and fashionably-revitalised wool fabric. Burel wall coverings feature in Google’s cutting-edge offices in Madrid.
Chris Wright, Managing Director of Sunvil, comments: “Visitors to Portugal who fly into Lisbon Airport tend either to head south to the Algarve or north to Estoril, the city of Porto and the Douro Region. They overlook the beguiling heart of Portugal, where long sandy beaches stretch for miles, fortified villages along the border with Spain await exploration and the historic university city of Coimbra thrives. We encourage anyone visiting Portugal to delve a little deeper and explore this little-known, captivating region.”
NEW Sunvil Discovery properties for 2014:
NEW Sunvil Discovery suggested itineraries:
Prices are based on two sharing. The lead-in price is from £460 pp (two sharing), including seven nights’ B&B at the Hotel Palácio da Lousã, flights (Gatwick) and car hire.
*Flights to Lisbon departing Mondays and Thursdays (excluding July to mid-September) represent particularly good value when booked as part of a Sunvil package because they are based on TAP Portugal flights (departing Heathrow), on which Sunvil Discovery has taken a commitment in return for excellent rates. They facilitate very flexible trip durations – short breaks (3/4 nights), plus 7, 10, 11 and 14 night holidays.
Ends / 27 March 2014
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Note to editors: Sunvil has pioneered many specialist destinations in its 45-year history and has been at the forefront of environmental initiatives and Sustainable Tourism for well over 25 years. Sunvil consistently promotes owner-managed hotels and local tourism enterprises across all destinations in which it operates. Sunvil also uses local suppliers and representatives wherever possible and encourages its suppliers, through many initiatives, to protect and treasure their local environment.