Cork Trees in Portugal and a Cork Museum in Spain

Cork grows on trees. As we drove though the Alentejo region of eastern Portugal, I was surprised to make this discovery. Cork trees lined the road.

Harvested cork trees outside Evora Portugal

Many of the trees had already been had their cork manually stripped off by well paid professionals called cork strippers. (That’s hubby in the photo.)

Harvested cork waits to be collected outside Evora Portugal

After being stripped from the trees, piles of cork are left out to “weather” for six months.

In the nearby town of Evora, a huge variety of cork products are available for purchase ranging from bags and hats to postcards. This added to the mystery of the town where we stayed in a haunted palace and saw a chapel made of bones.

Cork bags and hats in Evora Portugal

We had been living in a home exchange house in Palamós Spain when we took off for our road trip to Portugal.  Once we returned, we wanted to know more, so we visited the nearby Spanish town of Palafrugall, famous for Museo del Corcho (simply translated from Catalan to mean “cork museum”). Interestingly, Spain and Portugal are home to over half of the worlds cork forests.

Pressing cork at the Cork Museum in Palagrugall, Spain

I was fascinated by the simplicity of this cork press.


Dress made from cork in Palafrugall Spain

However, it was this cork dress that was displayed just inside the window that really caught my eye.

Did you know cork grows on trees? Have you seen cork trees?

This page linked at Travel Photo Mondays at Travel Photo Discoveries, Weekend Travel Inspiration at Reflections Enroute, Our World Tuesdays, and Wordless Wednesday at Be There 2Day

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  1. says

    Rhonda, I love this kind of stuff. One of my all-time favorite photos is of a stripped cork tree I took when we went to Portugal. I didn’t get to see a museum or learn more about it. That would have been interesting. Love the dress! Thanks for participating in Weekend Travel Inspiration!

  2. Suzie says

    WOW! I admit to never even thinking about cork. I honestly thought it was made made from something natural. Never knew about cork trees. Thanks for teaching me something and sharing these pictures.

  3. says

    I did know put never seen one, nice photos, that dress is amazing

    We have a saying here if someone won’t shut up “Oh put a cork in it will ya” 🙂

    Have a corktastic week Rhonda 😉

    • Rhonda Albom says

      Never a dull moment. It was a former palace and it was one creepy place, and the many of the hall lights didn’t work.It was dark and eerie, but a really cool place to stay.

  4. says

    Hari Om
    I recall learning about cork and its harvesting in Geography lessons at School… When you have experience genuine cork, all the substitutes just don’t “cut the mustard”! Out of interest, when I saw the paperbark trees in Australia, I could not help but draw comparisons. That of course is of no practical use beyond art. Perhaps lingerie…? YAM xx

    • Rhonda Albom says

      I have never seen the paperbark trees in Australia, maybe next time I am crossing the Tasman I will look them up before we go. Thanks for the tip.

  5. says

    That is really interesting. I’ve never heard of doing that.

    One time I was really into making homemade paper. I made some, set it out to dry, and my dad said, “Put some of this in it.” I did. It was mulch. Cotton started growing from my paper!

    • Rhonda Albom says

      I am with you, I never really thought about it before, but had no idea cork grew on trees before learning about the region we were headed to in Portugal.

  6. says

    Wow. I’ve never seen a cork tree! But I love that dress!! So pretty!

    Rhonda, I’d love to add your button to my Wordless Wednesday blog roll, but I can’t seem to find it on your blog. If you could point me in the right direction, that would be great!


  7. says

    Visit a cork tree forest is one common school activity in Spain. I remember I was impressed that it takes 10 or 15 years to grow. Unfortunately eucalyptus plantation are taken the space of the cork trees because people can make money quicker 🙁

    Shere y Paul

    • Rhonda Albom says

      I love having “friends” all around the world! Cool that you have know this always and thanks for the added information. Just curious, how do they make money form eucalyptus? We think of it as a pest tree.

  8. says

    Hey Rhonda, this is very timely for me. Whilst I was in India a couple of weeks ago some of the trees in the hotel grounds were labelled as cork trees too.

    • Rhonda Albom says

      Were they native or part of a display? I know just over half the cork is grown in Portugal and Southern, Spain, but I don’t know where the rest is from.

    • Rhonda Albom says

      LOL – I didn’t see a Birkenstock sandal tree – but I’ll admit, I wasn’t looking for one either. LOL Thanks for the giggles.

  9. says

    I have to admit, before I saw the cork forests of Tunisia, it didn’t really dawn on me that cork came from trees. I never really thought of it as organic. I second your sense of amazement.

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