Tourism, as any costumer orientated service, needs to be in constant change in order to keep up with all the global trends. Nowadays the focus on the tourist, their needs and expectations, is becoming more and more relevant to a business success and for a destination to grow and find its place on this extremely competitive market.
Today I want to tell you about a slow tourism accomodation, near Mafra and Lisbon, so in the south of Portugal, that is a perfect example of the emerging concepts within the tourism industry as a response to the “new tourist” expectations, worries and type of travel.
I found Aldeia da Mata Pequena, back in 2014, once again due to a school assignment. It is located in a rural area, 8 km from Mafra National Palace, 41 km from Lisbon and 20 km from Ericeira (one of the most famous Portuguese beaches for surf). So, it offers nature, culture, history, the ocean and adventures, all in one place! Well, you will have to travel, so, unless you are a hiker used to walk long distances, renting a vehicle or a bicycle seems a good idea!
But why is Aldeia da Mata Pequena so special? I found it to be very interesting and appealing mainly because of its values, its small details and of its concept.
First of all, I totally loved how the owners chose the place to implement their idea. They compared two military maps, one from the XIX century and another from nowadays. Using this method they started the search for small rural villages that haven’t changed much since around 1820.
Aldeia da Mata Pequena ended up being the chosen one! It had all the requirements the owners were looking for: basic infrastructure, good accessibility, being embedded in a scenic and preserved environment, having houses (in ruins or not) close to their original state and still having inhabitants.
Of course that a tourist can’t know all this by just spending some days staying in these typical houses, but this process was, for sure, what caught my attention!
Another special feature of this project is how detailed the reconstruction of the houses was. The owners count with the help of the village inhabitants and tried to replicate as truthfully as possible the houses appearance and decoration. To keep it authentic many of the used objects were found in the existent ruins and other were bought from local artisans. The products visitors will taste at breakfast, lunch or dinner are also cooked with local products.
Fomenting the local economy is a very important side of this tourism project. The owners show a very strong social and environmental responsibility commitment. As far as they can, contributing to the preservation of the surrounding nature and patrimony is also a big concern.
When visiting Aldeia da Mata Pequena you can expect a quiet, relaxing environment, a comfortable stay at a typical Portuguese house and a full experience provided by all the places to visit, activities to do and locals to talk to. And believe me, this is one of the cases where authenticity and history hold hands with comfort!
For more information and pictures visit the official website: https://www.aldeiadamatapequena.com/?lang=en
As usually, I finish with some photos I took. Hope you like it!