As we drove up the road to Hotel Casa da Ínsua, we noticed a carpet of flowers and candles lining both sides of the road. This is not an unusual site to behold in central Portugal, as there are plenty of religious festivities celebrated throughout the year. This particular celebration was in honor of Our Lady of Fatima, a religious figure who had ceremoniously been “traveling” throughout the area and was returning home to her village. (Or at least that is my interpretation of the event.)
Hotel Casa da Ínsua
Situated in Penalva do Castelo, close to the town of Viseu in central Portugal, Casa da Ínsua is an 18th century manor house. This five star Baroque-styled hotel features 30 rooms, including five apartments with kitchenettes, that have been carefully updated and maintained by Montebelo Hotels & Resorts. Once owned by the Albuquerque family, the manor house reflects fine craftsmanship, with granite fireplaces, a grand music room, outdoor swimming pool, and lovely formal and wild gardens.
Historic Hotel Casa da Ínsua
Casa da Ínsua was the second home in all of Portugal to have electricity. The estate was so large that it housed 300 workers on the property. My room, #101, named the Miracle Suite, opened up to the beautiful formal gardens. Antique lovers will appreciate the period furniture and 16th century plate collection in the hotel. To the left of the garden, two swans glided in a pond.
Hotel guests may enjoy a complimentary tour of the manor house and gardens, while visitors are charged four euros for the one hour tour. One of the highlights of my trip to central Portugal was the opportunity to make the famous Serra da Estrela cheese during a hands-on workshop. Additionally, guests are able to make jams and, during harvest time, participate in wine workshops.
Need to know
Breakfast for two is included in the price of the room. My suite rented for $350 euro per night. Check the website below for details. Internet service is available by the restaurant.
Check in: 1:00 p.m.
Checkout: 12:00 p.m.
The local wines, Serra da Estrela cheese and jams of Casa da Ínsua are available for purchase at the hotel. Nearby, guests may drive to the Dao wine region and, for a fee, taste wines of Paco dos Cunhas de Santar and picnic or stay for dinner.
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If You Go:
Hotel Casa da Insua 351 232 642 222
3550-126 Penalva do Castelo
Article written by and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of VisitCentro, Portugal Tourism and SATA Airlines.