Caramulo is an interesting mountain hamlet, located in a remote part of central Portugal, and I enjoyed my stay at the Hotel do Caramulo there. My room was large and reasonably well appointed. I had only a single bed and, as is often the case in Portugal, I'm not sure if the hotel has any double beds, let alone queens or kings.
The restaurant was outstanding. One night I had the fixed-price dinner, which came with a regional egg-based dish with mushrooms served steaming hot in an onion soup-type dish. That was extraordinary. I believe it was there that I had a doce de bolacha for dessert. That, too, was something you can't find in the United States and a culinary delight.
The included breakfast was excellent.
Another nice touch is that the hotel has a functional Internet-ready computer for which it doesn't charge.
The common rooms on the ground floor are very pleasant. They're reminiscent of what you might find in an English country manor, an atmosphere contributed to by heavy rain and cold weather during my stay.
Quibbles: the water isn't hot, only warm, and it took five minutes to arrive at the bathroom sink in my fourth-floor room. The room lighting was dim. The TV set has no international channels.
While in Caramulo, you should, if you're the outdoors type, hike the five-mile-long Rota dos Caleiros, which takes you over thousand-year-old medieval stone roads on which you can see the ruts left by centuries of wagon wheels. The route is hard to follow, so bring a GPS receiver and download the route from the Internet onto your device.
The other thing is the museum, the Museu do Caramulo, located across the street. I suspect that this is one of Europe's better unknown museums. It has an excellent art collection and I imagine its automotive collection will appeal to car buffs. Most exciting for me was to discover there what may be the world's first mountain bike (or, to be precise, mountain-style bike). Built in England in 1891, this bicycle, the Quadrant, has a full suspension and a suspended seatpost. Only five were made (or maybe it's that only five currently exist). For me, an avid mountain biker, it was exciting to stumble across this historical artifact.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ever Caramulo - Mountain & SPA is a charming hotel, situated in Tondela, Viseu district, at an altitude of 1076.57 meters, and the mountain destination that enchants the heart of all of those who cross it. With it's very own microclimate, mainly due to the vegetation and topography of the land, it was once considered the senatorial destination of the Iberian Peninsula: the best air in Portugal! Here, the water is crystal clear and the vegetation is truly green, people are genuine and the customs are centennial, the architecture is delighful and presents well maintained gardens. ... more less
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