At the end of the Serra do Buçaco, where the mountain reaches an altitude of 547 meters, there is Mata do Buçaco, surrounded by a high wall with eleven entrance doors. After touring the mountain paths, you arrive at the Palace Hotel do Bussaco, one of the most beautiful neo-Manueline buildings in Portugal, and at the Convent of Santa Cruz, where General Wellington stayed overnight during the Battle of Buçaco.
Mata do Buçaco falls far short of Europe’s large forests in extension. However, the variety of its plant species far exceeds them. Within the walls built by the Carmelites there are about 400 species native to the Portuguese Atlantic range and approximately 300 from other climates. The most representative element of this symbiosis is the cedar of Buçaco, an imposing cypress tree originally from Mexico that was the first exotic species planted in the forest by the monks in 1656. The Cedro de São José, planted 350 years ago by the monks at the door with the same name, is the local symbol of this imposing species of trees.
With six hiking trails, properly identified, the forest invites you to discover its stunning botany. Go to Vale dos Fetos and delight in its lakes, cool off in the countless fountains scattered around the fence and admire the natural corners designed by lush vegetation. You can also explore the forest through historical routes: admire the imposing doors of the fence or the chapels built by the Carmelites , which rise in perfect harmony with the grove. Walk through the Steps of the Passion of Christ, go up to the Cruz Alta Viewpoint and finally, go to the place of Almas de Encarnadouro to visit the Military Museum.
The Bussaco hotel: The building was designed in the last quarter of the 19th century by the Italian architect Luigi Manini, set designer at the National Theater of São Carlos.
The building of the current hotel, in Neo-Manueline style, is decorated with tile panels, frescoes and paintings depicting the Epic of the Portuguese Discoveries, all signed by some of the great masters of the arts.
The structure displays profiles of the Tower of Belém carved in stone of Ançã, motifs of the cloister of the Jerónimos Monastery, some arabesques and flowers of the Convento de Cristo, alleging a flowered Gothic with romantic episodes in contrast to austere monastic severity.
Inside, there are notable works of art by great Portuguese masters of the time. The furniture includes Portuguese, Indo-Portuguese and Chinese pieces, highlighted by lavish tapestries. Also of note is the Moorish ceiling, the remarkable floor made of exotic wood and the royal gallery.
In addition, the Military Museum of Buçaco invites you to enter the history of the Peninsular War, with emphasis on the Battle of Buçaco, in which, in 1810, the Anglo-Portuguese troops led by the Duke of Wellington defeated the Napoleonic army.