While staying at the Palace inside the Bussaco forest, you have the chance of a establishing a close and direct contact with the surrounding nature, as there are several tracks along the forest to explore - You can ask for a map of the forest at the reception and spend 2-3 hours of unforgettable walking there, if not the entire day, with picnics being prepared at the hotel for such an incredible Bussaco Forest discovery.
A strenuous walk up to the Cruz Alta ( The High Cross ) on top of the big hill allows you to look at the life size terra cotta figures of the Stations of the Cross, on the way up. Here the monks would stop to pray and contemplate on their way to the top of the hill. At the Cruz Alta you can take in the spectacular view to the south and west including a seat at the place from which the Iron Duke directed his victorious troops
Also history is strongly present, with the Carmelite "Holy Cross “Convent and the Military Museum, dedicated to the Peninsular War, and particularly to Napoleon- Wellington battle that took place at Bussaco back in 1810, and that heralded one of the Duke of Wellington's major victories. At the convent you can still visit the cork lined room where Wellington slept the night before the battle, as in those days the tiny monastery was the only safe place to stay in these surroundings.
The Holy Cross Convent is adjacent to the west wing of the Bussaco Palace and built by the Barefoot Carmelites in 1628. At the entrance you may appreciate the typical mosaics of Bussaco – decoration on façades and murals with geometric forms of mosaic in white, black and red stones (quartz, basalt and ferruginous remains), which demonstrate the austere aesthetic concern of the monks , in the cloister a beautiful collection of glazed tiles and altars of the 17th century, and also the narrow cells insulated from the winter cold and the summer heat by cork. In the Sacristy, the remarkable painting of an Our Lady of Milk, painted by Josefa d’Óbidos (Josefa d’Ayala) in 1644 and in the main body of the church, expressive busts of Mary Magdalena with tear-reddened eyes and Saint Peter shamefaced, and of an Our Lady of Conception, Patron Virgin of Portugal in an 18th century Italian style. You can admire an impressive Nativity scene by Machado de Castro, and also the remaining sacred art collection and historical curiosities allusive to Duke of Wellington’s overnight stay the day before the Battle of Bussaco in 1810 – at the outside, in the middle of the road, you can find Wellington’s olive-tree, under which Wellington took his stand with the officers of his staff.
The Bussaco Military Museum evokes the Battle of Bussaco, held in September 27th, 1810, and the Peninsular War, with an emphasizing the Duke of Wellington and Napoleon Bonaparte.
At its inside, along cannon balls piled up in tidy little heaps, there is a collection of fire arms, riffles, pistols and cannons, sabers and swords used in the Battle of Bussaco, as well as dummies dressed up with uniforms of the French and Anglo-Portuguese soldiers of 1810. You will find porcelain soldiers by the Sacavém and Vista Alegre factories, military miniatures and curiosities, like medals, decorations and flags of the époque, but also fine and curious printings and paintings depicting the Peninsular War and the life of Bonaparte.
This museum was opened to the public on September 27th, 1910, one hundred years to the day after the famous battle. Adjacent to the museum, you may visit the small chapel of Our Lady of Victory with its holy figures that escorted the Anglo-Portuguese army during the battle against Massena’s army.