Greta Thunberg became an international movement and taught the world a lesson. The 16-year-old Swedish girl went on strike at school to help save the planet and forced her country's politicians to take urgent action against climate change. Her appeal was heard all over the world and, last week, Greta led the most emotional speech of the Climate Summit, at the United Nations Conference, in New York.
It is in this context of climate emergency that it is urgent to think about projects that help save the planet and encourage a more ecological lifestyle. Because architecture, nature and well-being can - and should - go hand in hand, we present two possibilities for perfect ecological investment, in the north and south of the country. These are unique opportunities to invest in Rural Tourism, Ecotourism or to meet the Green Visa, a program still under discussion for Eco Investments, which aims to attract environmentally friendly investors.
It is close to the Frecha da Mizarela Waterfall, the highest in mainland Portugal, the beautiful Serra da Freita and Passadiços do Paiva, known worldwide and distinguished many times by the World Travel Awards. The village, where 14 families once lived, now has eleven houses in the process of restoration in an area of almost 854 square meters. It is located 15 minutes from Arouca, recognized by Arouca Geopark and distinguished by UNESCO as World Geological Heritage, and it’s less than an hour from Porto. The owner, who is passionate about the region and the village's reconstruction project, but a doctor by profession, has invested in rehabilitating the houses of the small village with almost 100,000 square metres of land, but keeps this unique heritage for sale.
If it is true that Passadiços do Paiva is the biggest calling card in this village (in the first two months of opening it attracted 200,000 people), it is also true that the village is very far from being exhausted in this irresistible wooden route of almost nine kilometres, built along the left bank of the Paiva river, between the bridge of Espiunca and the river beach of Areinho. And that it has won awards and recognition worldwide, including the Award for Europe's most innovative project, the Award for Europe's Best Tourism Development Project or the Award for Europe's Best Adventure Tourism Attraction.
Arouca Geopark has an extension of 328 square kilometres and 41 classified sites of geological interest.
We have selected only 5 reasons that make this place one of the most attractive for tourism.
At the end of the summer it is said that the mountain is covered with gold, because all its shades are an immense golden tone. For the rest of the year, the plantation, full of heather and broom, makes it a rainbow. If you climb the panoramic balcony on the tenth floor of the Arouca Meteorological Radar, more than a thousand metres above sea level, you can see from Figueira da Foz to Porto region. But you can also see the whole village of Arouca and its immense heritage, in which a megalithic monument with nearly 6000 years stands out: the corridor dolmen of Portela da Anta, consisting of nine stones.
Casa das Pedras Parideiras is located in the village of Castanheira. It's an information centre, a shop for regional products and an interpretation centre. This is where the phenomenon of stones that seem to give birth to other stones is explained, although it is obviously an action of erosive agents. This is also where the following legend is told: placing a small stone like this under the pillow helps fertility.
There are those who go to Arouca only for the gastronomy, since certified meat from Arouca is one of its flags. Almost everything there is home-made and often cooked in a wood-fired oven. Among the best known delicacies are the roast lamb and veal, codfish with bread crumbs, smoked rice, stewed pork fat (rojões de redenho) and boiled stomach (bucho) with green sauce. But you can't forget the region's sweets, especially the famous Arouca Conventual Sweets, of which the almond cigars and the nun's bellies are just two examples. Other highlights include liqueurs, jams and honey.
At the bottom of Serra da Arada, crossed by Ribeira de Palhais, stands an entire village of schist houses, crystal clear water lagoons, birch forests and enchanted trails, perfect for those who like to go hiking. Its name is Drave, but, not by chance, it was baptized as magical village. It is an almost inaccessible place, without a single inhabitant but with many tourists, and where the telephone did not arrive until 1993.
The region of Arouca offers the ideal conditions for the practice of extreme sports and adventure. And, for that very reason, they abound there. In addition to the mandatory and unforgettable walking trails, there are mountain biking trails, road and off-road jeep tours, climbing, rappel, and various nautical activities, such as rafting, kayaking and canyoning.
If you've come to this point and thought that all this is perfect, but for you, the pearl of national tourism is in the south of the country, know that in Silves, in the Algarve, lies the village of Funcho de Diante. Abandoned in 1974, after the construction of the Funcho Dam, the village of Funcho de Diante occupies a total of approximately 10 hectares, consisting of a residential nucleus with about 3000 square meters of urban area. It is located in the middle of the "Iberian Lynx Route" and offers a breathtaking landscape.
Everything about this place is inviting: the superb natural landscape that invites you to relaxed walks along the banks of the Arade River, the traditional houses overlooking the river, the walks in the mountains, the diving and leisure sports activities in the river and, no less important, the peace and gastronomy that is offered here. The natural conditions make this village an extraordinary setting and the perfect place to develop a sustainable tourist project in rural areas or a health-related project. It is located 15 minutes from São Bartolomeu de Messines and 30 minutes from the beaches of Armação de Pêra.