Once a year, in November, one of the most visited European horse events is organised in the small town of Golega, Central Portugal.
This event is visited by people from all over the world, who come in masses to see the gorgeous, elegant Lusitano horses on their best behaviour in the otherwise quiet and noble town of Golega.
The fair in 2015 is from the 6th to the 15th of November and all about the famous Lusitano horse, a local drink called Aqua Pe (foot water) and traditionally roasted chestnuts. There are many activities organized, food and wines to taste during the festivities organized and available at the fair.
It’s a big lively affair visited by many and loved by most. Relatively Easy to reach by public transport and just 90 km from Lisbon!
Check Golega on our site Golega restaurants and accommodation
Check the district on our site Santarem restaurants and accommodation
Golegâ is just a couple of kilometers from Azinhaga – home town of Jose Saramago and the Solar Espirito Santo Hotel and roughly 90km north of Lisbon and 30 km south of Tomar and it’s considered worldwide the horse capital of Portugal.
Here are some of the best horse breeding farms of the famous Lusitano horse breed used for dressage in Portugal. Once a year, in November, Golega becomes the beating hearth of Portuguese tradition and international interest during the National horse fair.
The national horse fair, ‘Feira Nacional do Cavalo’ is a major event for horse breeders, buyers and horse lovers but also for local and international tourists that want to be part of this special energy. During this time, the town transforms into a horse ‘metropolis’.
This event includes horse shows and dressage, regional food and festivities that find no equal anywhere.
Golega is a quiet and friendly town with noble architecture, nice hotels and restaurants.
The town has a prestigious atmosphere emphasised by it’s architecture and inhabitants. It radiates, up to this day, the success of the surrounding horse breeding farms.
Meeting famous horse breeders and dressage champions riding impressive and just as famous Lusitano horses through the town is no exception on any day.
Golega is a pleasure to visit at any time of the year
Golega has a score of interesting historical sights reminding its visitors and inhabitants of its old and prosperous history.
For holidaying – horse riding, wine tasting, enjoying its restaurants and the peaceful surrounding nature, are viable arguments.
Right in the centre of Golega, you will find the Igreja Matriz ou de Nossa Senhora da Conceição from the 16th century a good example of Manueline architecture.
There are a score of good restaurants in Golega but one we can vouch for is O Barrigas, the chef is also the owner and we find it special. A very nice ambiance, good food with attention to detail, professional waiters and in the winter a delicious fireplace.
The menu is traditional with a touch of culinary, the restaurant allows smoking but there is a none-smoking area.
Prices are very reasonable considering the quality of the food and the space and ambience. Both the owners and waiters are friendly and attentive, I would be very happy to eat there more than once if I was spending some time in Golega.
Sights you may want to visit leaving Golega on the way to Villa Nova da Barquinha: Is the Quinta da Cardiga. An imposing example of Portugal rich past.
This Quinta was formed as a fortress which was part of the templar territory front lines and was later transformed into one of the countries most successful farms.
Sadly it’s not open to the public but being on the grounds is a special experience.
Nowadays it’s deserted and neglected but it doesn’t fail to impress and hopefully some day somebody will be willing to invest in it’s rehabilitation as something so beautiful and full of history should not go lost.
One of the aspects that make central Portugal for me such an interesting place for discovery are the dynamic and fast changing landscapes, there is no time to get bored with repetitive views, the activities and things to do and see are just as diverse. Even the small area we cover in this article caters for most holiday wishes.
After leaving Golega you will find yourself saying goodbye to the miles of flat stretched and fertile valley lands and the proud and beautiful Lusitano horses and sturdy vineyards that inhabit them and entering the hilly slopes of the Tajo river.
The horse fair is a very busy event for which most hotels and restaurants are fully booked months before it commences. Please check what’s available and make your booking on time.
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