Monte do Areeiro: a place that makes you feel home in the middle of nature

Monte do Areeiro is an environmental and sustainable cork producer in Coruche whose main purpose is the sale of the highest quality of cork in the world. “Monte do Areeiro” is a new concept of rural tourism in the Ribatejo region.

One of the burden used to feed cattle and horses

The strong contact with nature in ideal surroundings and the offer of top quality accomodation are the keynotes of Monte do Areeiro. Wise planning guarentees that rooted traditions of amazing country property are preserved, especially the “Montado de Sobro” and natural conditions are suitable for breeding the magnificent Lusitano breed of horses.

This homestead received the certification for producing the highest quality cork among the whole world in the year of 2014 respecting some parameters such as the calibre (size); it’s porosity, that means that the denser as the cork gets, the more expensive it is.  José Tavares da Silva, the owner of this green and sustainable place, explained that the best ingredient for cork production is patience and waiting the right time to comprehend if the cork is in good shape and when is at bad shape. As another technique for its success he mentioned that cork trees should have a 5-metre distance between each other and the ground within these 5 metres should be “scratched”, (a process called “escarificação” in Portuguese). This process is relative to the release of the soils to make the roots breathe and live longer.

The houses in Monte do Areeiro were built according to regional architecture and with some modern touch, making your stay more comfortable. Wood was often preferred while decorating the house. They were not obtained from alive trees, but from the trees which had a disease and had to be cut down. It was one of the best ways to make the wood of the cut down tree somehow profitable again.

There are marked paths where one can observe and appreciate natural flora and fauna with hundreds of different species. A ride to the weir by bicycle or the electric buggy which are environmentally-friendly and sustainable vehicles is also one of the possibilities. Early morning in a hot air balloon over the amazing green rice fields, Coruche village and Sorraia river is a unique experience. Special activities which are sustainable too have been arranged for children in the tree house and the small organic vegetable garden in the eucalyptus forest called ‘Eucalyptus Land’.

In the past years the climate change has made Portugal a hotter and drier country in summer which means that the risk of a fire increases and more land is burnt. Back in last year’s summer for the above reason, Monte do Areeiro was in a great danger (getting even one fifth of its primary land 1000 hectares, burnt by the fire having today 800 hectares in the whole area).

Examples of the Lusitano horse breed in Monte do Areeiro

With the administration of José Tavares da Silva, who tried to avoid similar dangerous situations, a collection of maps have been created, in order to orientate and direct even more efficiently the mission of the firemen. Moreover, he created also a fire extinguisher in a strategic position to be more able to supply water to most problematic points when there is a sign of danger nearby.

Besides the comfort standards, you may take the chance to try the local cooking and enjoy the countryside aromas that you’ll never forget. You have the opportunity to make your own salads by picking any of the fruit and vegetables you like from the vegetable biological garden.

In the end, why isn’t there more recognization to this beautiful place and above all eco friendly and sustainable residence and production of a noble product as cork?

Georgios Ntinopoulos, Marie Therese Pavia, Susana Santa Rita, Tomé Quadros, Tuna Kisaaga