Serra do Buçaco
(formerly Bussaco) is a mountain range in Portugal, formerly included in the province of Beira
Litoral. The highest point in the range is the Cruz Alta at 549 m (1801 feet), which commands a magnificent view over the Serra
Estrela, the Mondego
River valley and the Atlantic Ocean.
The Serra includes the buildings of a secularized Carmelite monastery, founded in 1628. The convent woods have long been famous for their cypress, plane, evergreen oak, cork and other forest trees, many of which have stood for centuries and attained an immense size. A bull of Pope
XV (1623), anathematizing trespassers and forbidding women to approach, is inscribed on a tablet at the main entrance; another bull, of Pope Urban VIII
(1643), threatens with excommunication any person harming the trees.
Towards the close of the 19th century the Serra de Bussaco became one of the regular halting-places for foreign, and especially for British, tourists, on the overland route between Lisbon and Porto. The Palace Hotel of Bussaco (Palácio Hotel do Buçaco
), built between 1888 and 1905 in an exuberant Neo-Manueline style, is still a magnet for tourists.
In 1873 a monument was erected, on the southern slopes of the Serra, to commemorate the Battle
Buçaco, in which the French, under Marshal Masséna, were defeated by the British and Portuguese, under Lord Wellington, on 27 September 1810.