The Vale Abraão Forest, Casa de Mateus, Vidago and Pedras Salgadas Park, in the Vila Real district, Casa do Campo, in Celorico de Basto, Tibães Monastery, in Braga, Quinta da Aveleda, in Penafiel (Porto district), the botanical gardens of Porto and Coimbra, Quinta das Lágrimas, in Coimbra, Mata do Buçaco, Aveiro district, or the Penha Park, in Braga district, are some of the historic gardens included in the 12 tourist routes that are already available and being marketed, announced the heads of the Association of Historic Gardens of Portugal, during the press conference to present the 12 'Garden Experiences', held at Soares dos Reis Museum, in Porto.
"Gardens are an environmental tourism, a safe tourism and not mass tourism. Gardens are one of the areas of tourism that can be safely opened [in times of pandemic]," said Manuel Sousa, architect and specialist in historic gardens in Portugal, during the press conference of the Association of Historic Gardens of Portugal.
Manuel Sousa assumed that it was difficult to create a tourism product from scratch, but stressed that the future goal is to "grow with more experiences and continue to develop this product for the rest of mainland Portugal and the Azores and Madeira archipelagos, as well as internationalise the product".
"It was an effort to transform this product [Portuguese historic gardens] into a tourism product with a new dynamic. It was a survey in the field, talking to the owners, characterising (...). It was necessary to create a saleable product for tourists", he explained.
The 'packs' were conceived in a diversified way, with different durations, in a flexible way, as it is up to the visitor to add more time or more places to his experience.
The packs include guided tours by the owners or their representatives, but if the visitor wants to explore on their own, there are also suggestions for visiting new places or revisiting them in a new context", said Teresa Andresen, in a note given to journalists during the press conference.
Associated with these tourist proposals are two travel agencies - Club Tour and Travel Tailors - that are marketing the product and can help visitors make reservations, as well as give tips on where to eat or stay.
The Association of Historic Gardens of Portugal, created in 2003, currently has over 200 members, who own some of the most remarkable gardens in Portugal.