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Rejuvenating Portugal’s historic spas

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Nelson Alcantara  Jun 06, 2008

Very little is often heard in the news about Portuguese tourism. Except for the unfortunate circumstance about the disappearance of toddler Madeleine McCann, there is hardly ever any mention of Portugal in the global tourism arena. This may soon change.

Armed with a product that is full of promise, Portuguese tourism is now reaching out to the media with one very clear message: Portugal wants spa aficionados to consider Portugal as their next destination. Historic spa resorts across Portugal are being reborn for the modern traveler, the Portuguese National Tourism Office (PNTO) has claimed. As part of this effort, new luxury spas are dotting up across in the country that has always been thought of as "a garden by the sea," with green inviting landscapes, and in some places the waters are known to be therapeutic.

The PNTO has compiled some information for those seeking to retreat to Portugal’s spa destinations.

“Now spa towns like Luso, Curia and Porto Santo island, are attracting a new generation of spa-goers with upgraded facilities and the latest spa treatments, all amid beautiful, natural settings,” PNTO said.

The PNTO claims that the water in Portugal since Roman times has been used for therapeutic purposes, healing the sick and helping people to relax. “Today's spa resorts also offer the chance to relax outdoors with a game of golf, bicycling and hiking, canoeing or swimming.”

Here are some recommendations from PNTO:

Monfortinho Spa: Some 2000 years ago, the Romans enjoyed the therapeutic properties of the Monfortinho springs. Today the spa, which sits on a wind-protected plateau, has its own micro-climate. Hydro-treatments are offered year-round. Visitors can drop in to the historic village of Monsanto, considered one of the prettiest and best-preserved in all of Portugal.
LusoSpa: May through December is spa season at the Luso Spa, located at one of the most well-known springs in Portugal. Located at the foot of the Serra do Buçaco hills, the spa offers visitors healing waters and a great location in the ancient settlement of Luso. In the Serra nearby, Portuguese and British generals joined forces to fight Napoleon's invading armies.

Curia Spa: Pure waters are the hallmark of this spa, which also happens to have an ideal location for travels between the town, Curia, and Luso and Buçaco, a mountainous region in central Portugal. The spa is located within Curia Park and is surrounded by rich gardens. A nearby lake is used for relaxing boat trips. The Palace Hotel da Curia serves guests with an Art Deco style.

Porto Santo Sands: Porto Santo's island is rimmed with fine golden sand beaches. The water is clean and warm. The waters of Porto Santo are rich in iodine, calcium and magnesium. Porto Santo offers the only Thalassotherapy clinic in Portugal. In addition to beauty treatments, visitors can opt for treatments that are said to prevent and cure bone and muscle ailments and to help with stress and fatigue. The island now has three new spas.

Caldas de Monchique Spa: Located in the green valley of the Serra de Monchique hills, this spa is still unknown in this part of the Algarve region because it's off the beaten track. Romans used the Serra waters, which they called sacred, to treat bodily and spiritual fatigue. The spa is an excellent location from which to explore the region's traditional architecture and its abundant fruit trees and gardens. In the nearby town of Silves, guest can visit a castle made of red sandstone in a region that was once the Moorish capital.

Rejuvenating Portugal’s historic spas
Monfortinho Spa /

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