Mafra, rich in history
Close by & easy to reach
The King of Portugal once decided to build his main summer residency here and he didn’t make it a cheap investment! The first goods imported from then new colony Brazil, amongst it gold and other treasures, were invested in the creation of the humongous Palace and surrounding structures.
If you are interested in history it’s definitely worth seeing it: scroll down to read what Mafra has to offer!
RUMOURS ABOUT THE KING
It’s all about love & theater
Whilst the king’s quarters are to be found in one of the corner towers of the National Palace of Mafra, the Queen’s are no further than on the opposite corner of the baroque architectural complex, almost a kilometer away from each other! With all that distance, one might put into question the passion and love between the two. The rumours of the Quinta de Santana back up our idea: What today is a beautiful winyard, once was the home of the king’s girlfriend. He had it conveniently built for her, just on the other side of his hunting grounds, today’s Tapada de Mafra and hence could go and visit her whenever he pleased. Since his second love was an actress and to make sure she would stay where she pleased him most (at home) the king not only provided her with a spacious home, but had a theatre built. Hence his woman of second choice would stay entertained and could have all her theatre buddies visiting, instead of having to go to Lisbon! Is the story true? Well, who knows…
The National Palace of Mafra
Protected by bats & ringing the big bells
The historic building which consists of a Royal Palace, a Basilica and a Convent, shows important collections of Italian and Portuguese sculptures, as well as paintings, but WHAT TO US IS MOST SPECIAL IS THE UNIQUE LIBRARY! Did you ever want to feel like Harry Potter at Hogwarts? Well, take a Palace tour and check the library! Unfortunately you can only pass by to take a peak, but it’s still worth the visit! Worth knowing: National authorities “contracted” bats to protect the old books from natural hazards, such as insects and it apparently works better than anything else!
On the same tour through the Palace you can explore the eighteenth century hospital which is exceptionally well restored and the Palace’s gardens, the Jardim do Cerco, an illuminated garden inspired by Versailles, with water ponds, wide paths, shady trees and a century-old water wheel that still works.
Don’t miss out on the Palace’s Basilica, with its two of the biggest tower bells in Europe and the six (!) historical organs – even famous Lord Byron referred to the majestic musical instrument stating that it was “probably the most beautiful organs” that he had seen so far. Tip: It’s even better to go and hear them filling the Basilica with joyas music at one of the classical concerts!
Find out more on http://www.palaciomafra.gov.pt and at the tourist info-point in the centre of Ericeira.
The Tapada de Mafra
Watch deer up close in an enchanted forest
With an area of 1187 hectares and surrounded by a huge, old stone wall of 21 km in length, the enchanted forest of the National Hunting Grounds of Mafra is characterised by the depth of its indigenous biodiversity! Go and check it out – you can freely observe a diverse range of species, see deer from very close by and even make a family picnic. Or you can choose a walking tour, explore it on mountain bikes, on an electric bus or even on horses (our choice)!
Try the Bee-Keeping Experience, the Falconry Training, the Equestrian Baptism or the Introduction to Archery course! You could also spend the night in the magical woods and get to experience the deers and the wild pigs, birds and much more. Find more infos on https://www.tapadademafra.pt/.
For Archery please call well experienced guide Luis: 0351 925 683 543