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Discover Aldeia da Mata Pequena
A quick overview
What to see? The Portuguese countryside and traditional houses.
Costs? Free or from € 80,00 to stay the night.
Where? Aldeia da Mata Pequena is located in Saloia, 45 minutes from Lisbon.
Worth it? If you like nature and quietness, then YES!
Brief overview of Aldeia da Mata Pequena
Nestled within the idyllic Portuguese countryside, you´ll discover a hidden gem that will transport you to a world untouched by the hustle and bustle of modern life. Welcome to Aldeia da Mata Pequena, a charming village that embodies the essence of tranquillity and offers a truly authentic retreat for those seeking respite from the chaos of urban living!
The village provides you with an authentic and tranquil experience. The village is a testament to Portugal’s rich historical and cultural heritage. Stepping into the village feels like stepping back in time, and the rhythm of life slows down to a leisurely pace.
Historical background and origins
Aldeia da Mata Pequena has a rich history that traces back to the Roman era. The village was established centuries ago, originating in the mists of time. The village’s name, “Mata Pequena,” translates to “small forest” in Portuguese and probably describes its original setting—an area surrounded by lush woodlands. The village was strategically located near fertile lands and water sources, which provided nourishment to its inhabitants.
Throughout its history, the village was a haven for farmers and shepherds, who relied on the land for their livelihoods. These hardworking communities built the sturdy stone houses that still grace the village today. Over time, Aldeia da Mata Pequena remained relatively isolated. This isolation allowed the town to preserve its authentic character, making it a living testament to Portugal’s rural heritage.
Aldeia da Mata Pequena today
When only a few ruins were left, efforts were made to restore and revitalise Aldeia da Mata Pequena, ensuring its historic buildings and cultural traditions are preserved for future generations. Ana Partidário and Diogo Batalha started working on improving the village in 1998. First, their own home, and later 13 more. In total, there are 22 houses in the town. Some places are residents’ homes, 13 homes are available to rent, and the village consists of just 1 street, a square and a traditional outdoor laundrette.
Today, the village is a place where history and heritage intersect with sustainable practices and a commitment to responsible tourism. Aldeia da Mata Pequena offers a rare opportunity to step back in time and experience rural Portugal’s charm, surrounded by the stories and traditions that have shaped its fascinating past. And the best thing is… you can stay here overnight!
Sustainable tourism in Aldeia da Mata Pequena
Its commitment to sustainable tourism sets the village apart. The village strives to preserve its natural beauty and cultural traditions while providing you with an authentic experience that leaves a minimal ecological footprint. Here, you’ll discover a place where sustainability and heritage conservation go hand in hand, ensuring that generations to come can continue to savour this remarkable village’s charms.
The houses in Aldeia da Mata Pequena
There are several houses in the village where you can stay the night. Smaller cottages such as Cicada’s House, Straw´s House and Jasmine’s House are perfect for a romantic getaway for two people. Larger homes for families are Jacinta´s House, Padeirāo´s House and the Wines House. These offer sleeping spaces for up to 6 people. All houses offer a private bathroom, one or more bedrooms, an outdoor terrace and heating.
Breakfast is self-service, but fresh Cheleiros bread is served hot every morning to your door. Your refrigerator will be filled with traditional delicacies, fruits and juice. Alternatives for people intolerant to gluten and lactose are available.
Animals in Aldeia da Mata Pequena
Do you love goats and donkeys? As if the village wasn’t fabulous enough, Aldeia da Mata Pequena is also home to many animals! There is even an area dedicated to preserving the Burricadas, a traditional donkey from this region. Visit the pig, listen to the geese waddle around and see the goats and their shenanigans!
Quijada de Mafra
When you visit the village, you might also have the opportunity to try some Quijada de Mafra. You might know Quijada from Sintra, and this one is very similar. Try this unique treat made of eggs, almonds, fresh cheese and sugar. This friendly man will happily sell you some to test!
Where is Aldeia da Mata Pequena located?
Aldeia da Mata Pequena is located northwest of Lisbon in the region known as Saloia. It’s situated in the Special Protection Area of Penedo do Lexim, an extinct volcano with amazing views!
How to get to Aldeia da Mata Pequena from Lisbon and Sintra
You’ll reach Aldeia da Mata Pequena from Lisbon within 45 minutes of driving. A car will be necessary as the village is in the middle of nowhere. You can follow the A8 to Mafra (toll road) and take the exit to the A21. The N548 will bring you all the way to the village.
If you come from Sintra, you’ll follow the N9 towards Mafra. From Cheleiros, you’ll follow a dirt road until you reach the village.
Transportation options from nearby cities
Mafra is the nearest city in the area. If you rely on public transport, you can take a bus from Lisbon to Mafra and continue your journey by taxi. With Bolt, this journey will cost around € 10.00. Uber is usually a little more expensive. The cost is likely between € 9.00 to € 17.00. The ride from Mafra is only 4 minutes. There is no public transport all the way to Aldeia da Mata Pequena.
If you wish to take a taxi from Lisbon to the village, Bolt will charge between € € 30,00-50,00. Uber will cost between € 30,00-65,00.
Recommended duration of stay
You should stay at least a night in Aldeia da Mata Pequena to enjoy Portugal’s rural gem! But if you can use a break from daily stress, you can stay much longer! Enjoy the special offer: Stay 7, pay 6! There is plenty to do nearby to fill a week’s holiday!
Mafra is super close, and the Palace in Mafra is a place not to miss! It’s a Portuguese Baroque masterpiece where you’ll easily spend a few hours. The coastal town Ericeira is also nearby. It’s famous for surfing, but the city is just stunning to walk through. And with plenty of beaches, Ericeira is a favourite place for many travellers.
From the village, you’ll also enjoy many hiking opportunities. At Penedo de Lexim, you have a fantastic view over the valley and with clear weather, you’ll spot Pena Palace and Lisbon from the top. Other hikes will lead to the waterfalls Cascata Mastrontas and Cascata de Mourão. Bicycle rides, jeep excursions, and horse riding are also options.
If you still need to go to Sintra, now is the time! The area is known for its many palaces, such as Palácio e Parque Biester, Park and Palace of Monserrate, Quinta da Regaleira, The Moorish Castle and Palácio Nacional da Pena. You can easily take 2-3 days to venture to all sights. Especially places like Convent of the Capuchos are a bit further away but just as stunning!
Other tips are:
✓ Aldeia Museu José Franco, a miniature replica museum of a traditional village
✓ A day trip to Óbidos
✓ Take the boat from Peniche to Berlengas Natural Reserve
✓ Cascata de Fervença (waterfall)
✓ The Sintra Coast
If you like to escape the bustling city centre of Lisbon, a stay in Aldeia da Mata Pequena is a welcoming retreat. You’ll support sustainable tourism and enjoy the lush Portuguese countryside. The village is loved by locals and tourists alike and is a true gem if you like tranquillity and nature. And that only 45 minutes from Lisbon!