Portugal at Leisure
Hills, Plains & Lagoons in Spring
30 April to 7 May 2017
Principal Leader: Frank McClintock
Maximum of 13 clients (two leaders with more than seven clients).
2017 Cost: £1,899 single room supplement £200
To most tourists, a holiday in Portugal means a week or two spent in the southern Algarve with its rash of modern hotels, apartments and restaurants sprawling along the south coast. This new tour reveals an altogether different side to the country. Our base for the week, located in the remote and unspoilt countryside that lies in the border zone between the provinces of the Algarve and Alentejo, is the guest lodge that is owned by Frank and run by his friendly staff. In fact, by hard endeavour spread over a period of 25 years, Frank has converted a few rundown buildings, situated on a scrub-covered slope, into a comfortable and homely lodge set in a lush terraced garden which has won TripAdvisor’s “Travellers’ Choice Award” two years running. All rooms are ‘en suite’ and comfortably furnished. The view out over the man-made lake is stunning so too the silence which is disturbed only by the song of Common Nightingales and the less musical outbursts of Sardinian Warblers. The whole ambience of the place is warm and welcoming. The food is mainly local produce, home-made and simply delicious. Frank also keeps a modestly priced cellar of Portuguese wines, with a decidedly “ornithological” theme! Added to all this, the garden has been planted with birds in mind. Here there are nesting Red-rumped and Barn Swallows, purring European Turtle Doves and a profusion of European Goldfinches. Subalpine and Dartford Warblers are also often seen.
As we are able to cover a range of habitats from this one centre, our bird list will be equally varied from Great Bustard to Zitting Cisticola, from Blackwinged Kite to Azure-winged Magpie. So if it is peace and quiet, comfort, fine scenery, a feeling of being off the beaten track and some colourful birding, then this is likely to be the tour for you. Its appeal is increased if you are interested in other aspects of natural history, particularly wild flowers and butterflies, both of which are abundant at this time of the year.
Though there are some early starts to make the most of the possibilities of seeing the shyer rarities, this tour will generally be run at a relaxed pace with three full days away from the Quinta with a picnic lunch and three days spent locally with lunch at the Quinta when there will be a chance to relax, explore the natural history of the area immediately behind the lodge or perhaps take a refreshing dip in the lake.
|Day 1 Fly to Faro and transfer
to Santa Clara
Days 2-7 Santa Clara
Day 8 Depart Faro