© Swim Ink/Corbis
The Ramos-Pinto vineyard
has 400 acres. Poster: Rene Vincent
Relaxing in Crato
Returning back across the country, our destination was
Alcácer do Sal, a convent which still has the remains of a
Moorish wall, and overlooks the River Sado with its rice
paddies. Once a castle, it is situated high up and offers
wonderful vistas, including being able to watch the storks
in their nests, perched on top of high poles.
In the fine weather you can take a boat to the smaller islands,
estuary beaches and nature reserve. We had, in fact, gone in a
circle, as we took a short ferry ride from Troia, with its 18-hole
golf course, on the tip of the nature reserve, to Setubal.
From here, it was a short drive to the palace of Queluz,
where we stayed in the building formerly used by the Royal
Guard of the Court situated directly opposite the Palace. This
pousada was the nearest we had been in atmosphere and décor
to an ordinary hotel, although the dining room is attached to
the actual palace, housed in the palace’s kitchens.
The palace, beautifully preserved, with a pink exterior,
is known as the Portuguese ‘Versailles’ not only for its ornate
decoration, but because it is built with its main entrance
from the gardens. Queluz is perfectly located to visit Lisbon,
Sintra and a variety of golf courses, and only a short drive to
Air Luxor is the ‘no frills’ airline which flies daily to Lisbon and has
competitively priced tickets. They kindly upgraded us to Executive
Class which meant that we were cosseted, and served a hot meal.
Reservations: T. 0870 750 5747
Keytel International is the official UK central reservations agency
for the Portuguese pousadas.
For information pack including directory, map, rates and booking details:
T. 020 7616 0307 (24 hours).
To speak to someone: T. 020 7616 0300
Gatwick Express is the non-stop, 30-minute rail link, departing
every 15 minutes from London Victoria station.
T. 0845 850 1530
MQ readers travelling to Portugal
can take advantage of a free Budget
Rent-a-Car upgrade until the end of
2004. Reservations on 08701 565656
– quote BCD no G441500.
Terms and Conditions
FREE UPGRADE OFFER
– All reservations must be made by calling 08701 56 56 56 and
– quoting BCD number G441500
– At least three days advance reservation is required
– Coupon must be presented at time of rental if requested
– This offer applies to standard retail leisure rates and rack rates only
– This offer allows a single upgrade from the following car groups:
– Economy, Compact, Intermediate, to the next highest car group only
– Upgrade offer is subject to availability at all times and may not be
– available on public holidays. Other close out dates may also apply
– Only one upgrade allowable per rental and this offer cannot be
– combined with any other discounts or promotions
– Maximum rental period is 28 days
– Refuelling charges, local surcharges and other locally payable
– charges are extra
– Normal rental requirements apply. Offer valid from 1st June 2004
– to 31st December 2004 at participating Budget Rent-a-Car locations
– in Portugal only