Traditional Portuguese Equestrian Art makes its return to Belém

The Portuguese School of Equestrian Art (EPAE), under the management of Parques de Sintra – Monte da Lua, shall be regularly making performances and holding training sessions open to the general public at the HenriqueCalado Stables (on Calçada da Ajuda, in Belém) as from 20th July.

At this central location, the public thus gains the opportunity to attend not only training sessions but also weekly performances and galas. At the training sessions, visitors are able to witness the work that gets carried out daily by the riders whilst the performances feature a diverse range of choreographies and exercises, such as the carousel, long reins and airs above the ground to the sound of specifically selected music. In the galas, held to commemorate special dates and occasions, the performances are more extensive and include a diverse number of presentations accompanied by lighting and sound effects to further deepen and enrich the scenario.

EPAE, one of Europe’s four Equestrian Art Schools, was set up in 1979 with the specific objective of teaching, performing and raising the profile of traditional Portuguese Equestrian Art and in keeping with the legacy handed down by the Real Picaria (Royal Stables), the equestrian academy of the Portuguese court, which was closed down in the 19th century. After a time at the Portuguese Riding Company in Campo Grande, the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art took up residence in the National Palace of Queluz in 1996 and the site for its subsequent regular presentations open to the public.

Parques de Sintra – Monte da Lua, S.A. (the managing entity of the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art since September 2012) in 2014 signed a protocol with the Portuguese Army providing for the restoration and transformation of the stables in order to appropriately house such performances and thereby bringing about the return of this national art to its place of origin, Belém. 

In addition to the historical association of this area of the city with equestrian art, whether for military purposes or in service of the “Royal Household”, Belém is also one of the Portuguese capital’s major tourist attractions and thus correspondingly rendering greater visibility and ease of visitor access to the different proposals provided by the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art.

Visiting the Henrique Calado Stables opens up the opportunity to travel back through Portuguese history, experiencing the moments that perpetuated the beauty of the Lusitano horses from the Alter Real Stud Farm, engaged in this art since the 18th century, with the performance of classical riding exercises alongside those from the Baroque period and the exercises making up the Court Games (tournaments held between the 16th and 19th centuries to commemorate festive occasions) and furthermore reflected in the costumes, saddles and harnesses, whether the working (Daily Training) or the gala versions (Weekly Presentations and Gala Performances) and exactly alike those in use in the earliest days of Portuguese Equestrian Art.

Find more information at:
 - Henrique Calado Stables - Calçada da Ajuda, Belém -
 - Reservations and further informationTel.: +351 21 923 7300
-  Parques de Sintra


From the 30th of July to the 1st of August don't miss the 2015 Madeira Wine Rally

From the 30th of July to the 1st of August, Madeira hosts the emblematic Madeira Wine Rally, the largest automobile event of the region and one of the most important races of the European Racing Championship.

The European Rally Championship is the oldest international competition organised by organised by FIA (the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile), and includes 10 events in 10 European countries. The Madeira Wine rally is one of the most important events in the championship and is the region’s biggest automobile event, attracting thousands of spectators to mountainous areas in search of a better place to watch the vehicles as they thunder by. 

The rally is named after one of the main products in Madeira, the liqueur wine that was already highly popular in European courts in the 18th century due to its unique aroma and flavour. 

This year, this sporting event will total 19 Special Trial Classifications (PEC), divided into two stages and seven sections, during which the participating drivers will test their skills among several stunning scenarios of the island, captivating thousands of people, including locals and tourists looking for the best place to watch this exciting race of the international automobile world.

"Wonders of Portugal" in Google Cultural Institute

A collection entitled "Wonders of Portugal" is now available in Google Maps and Google Cultural Institute.

The list of 57 new locations includes virtual tours of monuments such as monasteries (Jeronimos, Alcobaça,...); castles (Guimarães, Monsaraz, Leiria, Silves, Marvão); ruins (Citânia of Briteiros, Conímbriga,...); and palaces (Dukes of Bragança, Marquês de Pombal,...).

Google also has virtual visits to gardens, nature sites, wildlife areas and even beaches.
Have a


F1H2O: Porto To Host Grand Prix of Portugal

The River Douro will be the stage for another world championship, the round 3 of F1H2O world championship, the F1 of the currently fastest boats.

The competition will take place on the weekend of 31 July to 2 August, with the first day dedicated to training and the second day to competition.
These boats reach really vertiginous speeds, between 230 km and 240 km, catamaran-shaped, weight 550 kg (pilot included), are made of carbon fiber and have V6 and 430 CV engines. 
In 2014 the competition gathered 8 teams, one of them Portuguese. Duarte Benavente’s F1 Atlantic/Interpass will participate in this year’s championship too and in August we will all be supporting the Portuguese pilot.
If you like boats, speed, river and sea and Porto you cannot miss this opportunity.

Via Algarviana - Along the Algarve way

Discover a completely different Algarve – nestling in its green and peaceful hinterland are traditional villages and spectacular landscapes. How do you reach this world preserved from the past? Nothing could be easier… just follow the arrows! 


Marked with signs and interpretive panels, this footpath is known as the “Via Algarviana” and runs across the region from east to west. The path has its origins in an old religious trail followed by pilgrims heading for the Sagres promontory, where the relics of St. Vincent were found. Running from Alcoutim, on the bank of the River Guadiana, to Cape St. Vincent, the 300-kilometre-long path is divided into 14 sections, each beginning and ending in places where its users can stop for lodging and refreshment. Everything has been planned so that hikers can adapt their journey to their own pace, or just choose the sections that interest them most.

This trip into the heart of nature begins at the quay on the bank of the River Guadiana in Alcoutim and crosses over the Serra do Caldeirão, an area of cork production where you will find the delightful typical villages of Salir, Benafim and Alte. About halfway along its length, the path passes through São Bartolomeu de Messines and continues along the banks of the Ribeira do Arade, offering some truly beautiful views. Silves is another place that calls for a visit, before you head on to the Serra de Monchique, whose breathtaking panoramas are best admired from Picota or Fóia, the highest points in the Algarve. After crossing some almost completely untamed countryside, the path passes through the villages of Marmelete, Bensafrim and Barão de São João, and a forest of stone pines. You can already begin to smell the sea, and the Algarve Way finally reaches its end in the South-West Alentejo and Costa Vicentina Natural Park, Europe’s best preserved stretch of coastline.

All along the path, you can admire the beauty and aroma of the vegetation, which includes rosemary, lavender, fennel, thyme, rock rose, heather, and even orchids, although these are rarer. The trees and shrubs include arbutus, fig, carob and cork trees, as well as the almond trees that provide the raw material for the region’s delicious sweets and liqueurs. Rivers and streams help to keep you cool on hot days and are the natural habitat of otters, among other species of fauna. Part of this region belongs to the Natura 2000 network and you will see hares, wild boars and foxes, although it may prove more difficult to spot the few lynxes that also live here. The birdlife includes the brightly-coloured rufous bush robin and the bee-eater, but you may need a pair of binoculars and to look more closely if you are to observe the Bonelli’s eagle or the eagle owl, both of which prefer much higher terrain.

This is a region where the more traditional farming practices are still to be found, and you will see several windmills, threshing floors and community ovens. The traditional white lime-washed houses are all topped with the remarkably delicate and unmistakable lace-patterned Algarve chimney pots. The friendly and welcoming inhabitants of the villages you pass through continue to preserve the traditions of the rural world and are skilled at transforming what the land has to offer them into flavoursome food and drink – medronho (arbutus-berry brandy), liqueurs made from penny royal or almonds, honey, cheeses and sausages are just some of the produce that you should sample and take away with you. And look out for the local handicraft

pieces that are excellent souvenirs and testify to the skilled handiwork of the local people, including wickerwork, woven articles, pottery and so many other crafts.

Are you ready to begin your journey? Fit yourself out in the right clothes, put on some sturdy footwear and don’t forget your compass or GPS, and other practical objects. Before setting off, consult the "Via Algarviana" website to obtain detailed information and… then get walking! Have a great trip!

More information at: Algarviana
- Flyer Via Algarviana


Portuguese Summer Festivals

Music, sun and sea, partying every night and 850km of beaches: this is the best combination, at summer festivals in Portugal.

You have great concerts, excellent beaches, nice people and nights that last until daybreak. From shows with major talents to great events in the international calendar, Portugal loves its festivals.

In addition to good music, festivals are an opportunity to know the places in an atmosphere of complete relaxation and fun.

Have a look in the programmes to see who’s going to be there. Then, just recharge your batteries and follow the beat!

More information at:

Red Bull Cliff Diving 2015 in Azores

On July 18th, in the Azores, don’t miss the chance to see the world’s top divers displaying all their skills.

The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series will be hosting a stage in São Miguel, on the tiny islet of Vila Franca do Campo, a beautiful nature reserve set in the crater of an extinct volcano.

This is the fourth time that the Azores will hosts the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, being this the fifth of eight stops for the men, and also the second of three events in the Women's World Series.

Cliff diving is a highly spectacular sport, and here divers will be competing from a height of roughly 27 metres, reaching speeds of up to 85 kilometres per hour.

Find more information at:


In Tomar, on the 4th of the July, it starts the "Festa dos Tabuleiros" (Festival of the Trays)

The spectacular "Festa dos Tabuleiros" (Festival of the Trays) takes place every four years in the town of Tomar, and their origin is associated with the cult of the Holy Spirit. The next one will take place this year, starting on the 4th of July and ending on the 13th.

The blessing of the trays, the street decorations, the quilts in the windows and the throwing of flowers over the procession of the trays carried by hundreds of young girls on their heads, is an unforgettable sight. 

Procession of the Tabuleiros:

The Procession of the Tabuleiros, heralded by pipers and fireworks, is led by the Banner of the Holy Ghost and the three Crowns of the Emperors and Kings. 

They are followed by the Banners and Crowns from all the parishes, and the girls carrying the trays. In the rear are the cartloads of bread, meat and wine, pulled by the symbolic sacrificial oxen, with golden horns and sashes. 

The girls who carry the trays have to wear long white dresses with a coloured sash across the chest. They are helped by boys, who also wear a formal costume, white shirts with rolled-up sleeves, dark trousers, a black tasselled cap and a tie matching the girl´s sash.

The tabuleiro (tray headdress), which must be of the same height as the girl, is made up of 30 loaves of bread, specially shaped and each weighing 400 grams, threaded at equal spaces on 5 or 6 canes. 

The canes are tied to a wicker basket, and at the top there is a Crown with the Cross of Christ or the Dove of the Holy Ghost. 

The decoration is completed by paper flowers, greenery and wheat sheaves.
(Information kindly provided by the Committee of the Festa dos Tabuleiros)

Do not miss this unique event!

Find more information at: