28km (17 miles) N of Coimbra; 232km (144 miles) N of Lisbon; 3.3km (2 miles) SE of Luso
The rich, tranquil beauty of Buçaco's forests was initially discovered by a humble order of barefoot Carmelite monks, following the dictates of seclusion prescribed by their founder. In 1628, they founded a monastery at Buçaco and built it with materials from the surrounding hills. Around the forest, they erected a wall to isolate themselves further and to keep women out.
The friars had a special love for plants and trees, and each year they cultivated the natural foliage and planted specimens sent to them from distant orders. Buçaco had always been a riot of growth: ferns, pines, cork, eucalyptus, and pink and blue clusters of hydrangea. The friars introduced such exotic flora as the monkey puzzle, a tall Chilean pine with convoluted branches. The pride of the forest, however, remains its stately cypresses and cedars.