in the early 17th century the forest of bussaco was conceded to the barefoot carmelites as an answer for their wishes of having a spiritual hermitage of their own, to withdraw totally from the outside world, to suit their silent and austere lifestyle, and to dedicate their lives entirely to meditation. the monks not only built a convent but also created a luxurious garden with many species of trees. in order to isolate themselves and their forest from the outside world, they additionally built an approximately 8 km long wall round their sacred forest.
the walking paths, chapels, hermitages and belvederes are unforgettable and still exemplify the rarefied atmosphere of serenity and peace of this very special place. today the forest hosts a splendid five-star-hotel, the bussaco palace [source and more information]. it's a must see, especially in low season!