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Walk in Wellness: Historical Garden Tour

July 20, 2020 - The most powerful connectors evoke our senses. Grounding in nature – with its sounds, textures and aromas – boosts our mental and physical health. Six Senses Douro Valley has been recognized by the Portuguese Association of Historical Gardens.

  • Douro-Valley-Portugal_Boat_Trips.jpg

As you approach Six Senses Douro Valley, it is easy to be metaphorically swept away by views of the winding river, sloping vineyards and surrounding forest park. Now listed and protected, the 11-acre (4.5-hectare) forest is a highly distinctive element of the Douro landscape. It has been integrated into the AJH’s ‘Historic Douro Gardens Route’ under a program financed by Turismo de Portugal. So far 3,500 botanical species have been recorded, including oak, arbutus, acer, blue cedar, Atlantic spruce, exotic palms and giant fir trees.

“The forest is a rare example of the classic 19th century forest gardens popular at the time,” says Six Senses Douro Valley’s landscape architect Joana Neto. “While preserving the spirit and fundamentals of the forest, which included 10 follies, a waterfall and pond, we have added secret rest and picnic spots for guests to enjoy.”

Two quarter-hectare organic gardens also grace the property. These provide thousands of kilos of delicious and healthy herbs, fruits and vegetables for the restaurants, bars, Six Senses Spa Douro Valley as well as a weekly donation to Casa do Povo de Godim, a nearby retirement home that supports 200 families.

Never underestimate nature’s power to heal. You may think we’re tending our gardens, but in fact, it’s our gardens, and the fruits of our labors, that are key to supporting our well-being.

Six Senses Douro Valley is now organizing exclusive tours through its own gardens as well as those of other stately homes belonging to the Historical Gardens association, Casa de Mateus and Santar Vila Jardim.

Casa de Mateus represents the epitome of baroque architecture and an example of a centuries-old unbroken family tradition passed down from a bygone era. Six Senses guests are exclusively invited to visit the palace and classified historical gardens, with the option to enjoy a traditional lunch or dinner in the picturesque and authentic old family kitchen or spectacular dining hall.

You can also visit the village gardens and have a wine tasting followed by a picnic lunch at the Casa de Santar e Magalhães loggia overlooking the gardens or under one of the garden pergolas. After the visit, Pedro Vasconcellos e Souza or his team, will guide you through the unique Dão wines of Santar Vila Jardim, its grape varieties and distinctive terroir.

José Luís Vasconcelos e Sousa sums up the experience:

“What will make this visit unique is the feel and taste of its cultural authenticity: the family history, the gardens, the seasons, the smells and flavors of the region, the endogenous vegetation and landscape, the wine, the manor houses, the religious and vernacular heritage, the granite, the people and their way of life”.

Our beautiful 19th century manor house has recently unveiled its new Vineyard Wing, greatly enhancing the wine estate with seven suites, three additional guest rooms and a meeting and event space accommodating up to 70 people. The new guest accommodations, ranging from 430 to 1,140 square feet (40 to 106 square meters), are beautifully appointed and feature generous outside areas to make for a very personal retreat.

What better way to listen to the birds sing in the forest and witness firsthand “nature's changing course untrimmed” than through our Summer Escape Offer, available until October 29, 2020.

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