For all the charms of the countryside and coast, we understand that getting your holiday downtime right is just as important as what happens during the day.
It's often after a good day’s exploring or walking that you're at your most relaxed and contented. So when better to sit yourself down for dinner at a rural Portuguese pousada, an uninterrupted sunset view over vast green plains and shadowy hills rolling out to distant Spanish horizons, with good company, delicious food and a glass of big, smoky Alentejan red wine?
Before your travels take you to Marvão and those big vistas across to Spain, chances are you’ll have been looked after by Carla, whose vegetarian cuisine is enough to delight even the most dedicated of carnivores. Hers is an old Alentejan country house, converted with obvious care and attention to detail into the cosiest of three-bedroom guest houses.
Dropped next to the gentle tinkle of a small river, on the old coffee smuggling route into Spain, its sense of place is absolutely spot on.
On a similar vain, in Castelo de Vide there’s the restored 18th century manor house, protected as a Portuguese National Monument and now run by fourth-generation family members. Jumping over to the coast, Angela and Luis go one better as fifth-generation owners in their beautifully restored farmhouse, washed over by a warm sea breeze and an all-pervading sense of absolute tranquility.
It’s the sort of the place you can come for a night or two, and accidentally end up staying for a week. And who could blame you? There’s nothing like a picture-perfect pool, a tempting selection of cocktails and gins chalked up on the board and the blanket of stars which emerges after sundown to take the edge right off a hard day of coastal walking.
Tempting? We'd love to take you through it all.