Originally, Herdade do Pessegueiro was a farm. My father was the caretaker, and this is where I grew up. We had many cows and sheep, but my family wasn’t that interested in horses. At the time, anyone around here, even without much expertise, had horses and donkeys and it was at a neighbours’ house that I tried riding for the first time.
That first experience made an impression, and I didn’t stop asking for a horse until my father bought me one. That is the turning point of that story. I ended up influencing my family and shortly after we began breeding horses and my father registered the stable so that horses were branded with our symbol. Later, I took classes and immediately after began competing. My dream was to dance with the horses and dressage has been my life since then.
I grew up and built many important memories at Herdade do Pessegueiro, and because this is the place where it all started, I had to return. Today I share this passion with our visitors. We focus on equestrian tourism and organise very special tours that turn out to be inspiring because of the wonderful landscapes we travel through, the contact with the horses, the silence, and the quietness of the whole experience.
The contact with a horse when someone rides it can be very special - feeling it breathing and moving. You create a unique bond, and you sync with the animal in a way that allows you to relax and to have a completely different perspective of the landscape. A different way and perspective of knowing a country and a region. With the horses, you can go to unique places without being disturbed by cars or city noises. It’s just Nature and us.
Our first tour experience was both very important and gratifying to us. We were hired by a French organisation to provide them with horses, and we ended up organising one-month rides with them for former drug and alcohol addicts who were treated with horse therapy. This partnership went on for many years, and we enjoyed putting it together because it gave us the expertise we needed to start having more tours.
Our story and mission
I only learned how to really ride when I went to study in Lisbon, with some friends. I always wanted to have a teacher, and my dream was to learn how to dance with horses. At 17, I learned everything from scratch on those first classes. I focused on dressage competitions, and that’s been my life ever since.
Meanwhile, at Herdade do Pessegueiro, my father put together an activity for fun, a sort of marathon that today it’s called endurance. It was a small event in which anyone could participate. It became a tradition and every year in August, kids and grownups would come here for the competition and to win some prizes and cups. It was a big event that we still put together in his honour even after my father fell ill, and that became an official ranking leg.
Later, I bought some Arabic mares in Spain and got to know a project that organised tours like ours but geared to tourists. I was intrigued by the process and tried to figure out how to do it here at the farm. I hired a German specialist agency in 1999, and we focused on equestrian tourism.
The memories I built here are my whole life.
I was born in Santiago do Cacém but grew up at Herdade do Pessegueiro. I’ve been walking these paths since I was very young and I still find new things. Sunset is different every day and more beautiful each day. I see each season as particularly attractive. It’s always a new beginning, a discovery.
Growing up here influenced me as the person I am today. I had a happy childhood in the middle of Nature and with animals, especially horses. Everything was perfect in this scenery. There were many stories of princesses, pirates, and treasures connected to the fort that spurred lots of games and a vivid imagination.
I feel like a guardian because I try to defend and to show our local assets. I’m glad about being able to bring people here from faraway places that fall in love with this place through my work. Alentejo is a small world, and I enjoy showing how cork is more than something we use to plug a wine bottle. I enjoy explaining and telling our stories. Little details that are obvious to us, sometimes make all the difference. At the property, we have several local wines, liqueurs made with acorn and “medronhos” (a local fruit) that you’ll only find here and are unique. These are the kinds of details people keep as a memory when they return home.
At Herdade do Pessegueiro we focus on equestrian tourism. Horses are the essence of this place, surrounded by inspiring scenery. Play a role in this story too and join us for a ride in Litoral Alentejano (the Alentejo Coast).
We believe the location makes this property special. It’s part of Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano, and Costa Vicentina, with the particularity of being close to Serra do Cercal where the historical trail of Rota Vicentina is and that you can explore on a horse.
You won’t find any houses on the way to Porto Covo, a fishing town full of History and with wonderful people, and from there to Vila Nova de Milfontes, the town with the rich Mira River. It’s perfect to ride and enjoy this protected area.
The landscape here is of coast and sea and, at the same time, on the other side, we have something completely different with the mountains and the hills.
People in this area are strongly connected to the mountain and the ocean. I remember picking flowers on the hill. It was a mysterious place with diverse animal species that you couldn’t find closer to the coast. In cooking, we always used whatever ingredients the mountain and the ocean gave us that enabled us to create a vast and tasty heritage.
In addition to how the landscape influences us, our History shaped our identity as a people. We’re friendly, welcoming, and proud of our homeland, and that makes it easier for us to share what’s ours with others. We like to showcase the best of what we have, and we enjoy that people who visit us take a little of this place with them.
It’s funny how everyone in Portugal knows Ilha do Pessegueiro and its story because of the famous song by Rui Veloso. The name Ilha do Pessegueiro (peach tree island) has nothing to do with a peach tree being planted on the island. The origin of the word “Pessegueiro” is the Latin “pescatorium” (fishing port) from the Roman era. Because of the region’s special dialect, the word “pescatorium” evolved to “pesqueiro”, then to “pexegueiro”, and later to “Pessegueiro”. Older people still call it Ilha do Pexegueiro.