If you’re thinking of taking a break in March as the weather picks up in southern Europe, why not consider staying at one of Portugal’s Pousadas (www.Pousadas.pt)? The up-market, government-supported network of hotels guarantees quality and service and like the Spanish ‘Paradors’, are nearly always old monasteries, manor houses and castles which have been converted into classy accommodation with a historic feel for travellers.
During the month of March, the group is offering rates as low as €75 per night, reports the New York Times, including the Pousada in Viseu in central Portugal, which was originally opened as a hospital in 1842. It now offers two restaurants, 84 rooms with cable television and wi-fi access, golf, horse riding and a spa with a Turkish bath.
Or if you prefer to visit Lisbon, try the new LX boutique hotel, which opened in September in the Baixa district. Prices start at just €80 per night. If you’re interested in the north, you couldn’t do better than The Bussaco Palace Hotel, just north of Coimbra. Stay in this five-star former royal palace with original 19th-century furnishings and tapestries, from just €120 per night. The price includes a buffet breakfast, a bottle of wine and a free upgrade to a larger room if available.
Hotel rates in Portugal have come down by between 14 and 18 percent, according to the Portuguese National Tourist Office, due to the country’s economic problems, so take advantage of these reductions to visit this country of old world charm.