This winter, recently restored 19th-century farmhouse hotel, winery and spa São Lourenço do Barrocal, will launch a new three-night Wildlife Wonders of the Alentejo programme for guests.
A landscape of ancient holm oaks, olive groves and wildflowers, the new experience will showcase the natural wonders on the historic family estate’s doorstep, from the breathtaking array of birdlife to the flourishing native flora.
Guests will begin with a birding tour, guided by resident ornithologist Nuno Guégués. With three hours to discover a world of colours, chirping and flight modes, guests will have the chance to spot the 75 species of resident birdlife, including the azure-winged magpies, cranes, lapwings, goldfinches and hoopoes.
Birds being the best barometer of seasonal change in the Alentejo, guests will also spot various migrating species from Northern Europe and North Africa. The experience will take guests through Barrocal’s 780-hectares, before heading out of the estate to the surrounding ‘montado’ landscape and vast Alqueva Lake.
To uncover the diverse flora on the estate, the next day Nuno will take guests on a seven-kilometre ethnobotanical hike, discovering local medicinal, aromatic and edible plants, including blue hound’s tongue, Spanish lavender and wild leek.
The walk will also introduce guests to the Alentejo’s most beautiful flowers, such as the pink butterfly orchid and the laudanum. Thanks to his upbringing, Nuno is in a great position to talk guests through the ancestral regional uses and customs of each species.
As dusk falls, guests can unwind in the Susanne Kaufmann Spa for an indulgent, results-driven spa treatment, using the local herbs and flowers seen earlier in the day. Guests also have access to the monastic relaxation room, hydrotherapy room with cedarwood bathtub, dry saunas and fitness studio.
On the last day, guests will emanate Barrocal’s farm-to-fork philosophy through a foraging experience of their own. Taken out by the resident chef, guests will collect an array of vegetables, fruits and herbs all grown in the estate’s organic garden, before returning to the restaurant for a private cooking lesson, using the ingredients they find.
To book: The Wildlife Wonders of the Alentejo package starts from £1,435 for two people including three nights accommodation in a Farm Room, daily breakfast, three-hour birding tour, ethnobotanical hike, one spa treatment and a culinary foraging experience.
For more information visit www.barrocal.pt.
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