For those who like cherries, Alcongosta is the place to be! Here we find the biggest production site of this fruit in Portugal: eight thousand hectares of cultivation that are covered with white flowers in the spring (rivalling the snow of the Serra da Estrela, right next door), and bloom in a bright red in the summer. This is why Alcongosta became the gathering point for cherry lovers, along with the long-awaited (and much-visited) Cherry Festival that takes place annually on the second weekend of June.
Preparing for this weekend of celebration takes a whole year of work - not always blessed by Saint Peter, not always kind to the people of Alcongosta. A sensitive fruit, the cherry requires as much care in the fields as after harvest, with the use of chestnut wood baskets - soft and airy, so as not to bruise the fruit. Both cultivation of the fruit and manufacture of the baskets require a good dose of patience and rigor to complete the task: the work begins in January, with the harvesting of the wood, and goes on for months.
The best thing to do is to go and witness for yourself. You will be able to appreciate the work of the few artisans who, to this day, remain in the village, and who continue to practice the craft with an open door, in plain sight. Then, take the basket and go exploring, among fields and levadas, irrigation channels that abound in the region. Picnics, balloon rides, bicycles, or trains... there is no shortage of offers to spend time in the land of cherries, where you will create enough memories to fill a basket.