Portugal is a year-round destination that’s as varied in landscape as it is rich in culture. From Alentejo’s verdant olive and cork fields to Costa Vicentina’s dramatic coastline, the Algarve’s charming fishing towns, and the Azores archipelago’s tropical, mysterious character in the middle of the Atlantic, Portugal has a lot to offer for travellers in search of a private getaway.
In a global landscape awakening to the advantages of slow living in the wake of COVID-19, there has been a steady rise of Portuguese accommodations emphasising the pleasures of remoteness. These boltholes offer a kind of ‘eco-luxury’ – often in rural locations – where guests can enjoy space and privacy in comfortable, laid-back and unique surroundings away from the crowds.
We round up the best holiday retreats in Portugal to enjoy social distancing at its best.
Casa na Terra
Casa na Terra or ‘House in the Earth’ is a concrete volume with geometric voids carved out of it to create monastic communal spaces and three ensuite bedrooms. Designed by Manuel Aires Mateus, the house is sunken into the ground and boasts stunning views over the Alqueva lake and the evolving Alentejo landscape.
Via Silent Living from €600 per night
Quinta da Comporta
Nestled amongst the rice fields and pine trees of Comporta, Quinta da Comporta takes cues from the area’s bohemian character for its interiors. Guests can book fully-equipped houses with private pools. During the day, they can cycle or take a tuk-tuk to a secluded spot along the vast white sandy beaches of the area.
From €855 per night.
Sublime Bio Pool Suites
Sublime’s Bio Pool Suites are independent villas, each with a terrace from which you can plunge into a private pool naturally cleaned by aquatic plants. There’s plenty of space in the 17-hectare estate to explore their various gardens and orchards, and there is an Instagram-friendly fire pit. Special offerings include a private chef or yoga teacher.
From €300 per night.
Craveiral Farmhouse invites its guests to ‘return to [their] origins with the comfort of contemporary life’. Here, guests stay in independent homes with their own patio, each interior featuring Portuguese brands and pieces by local artisans. This summer, the Craveiral FarmTable restaurant by award-winning chef Alexandre Silva has launched its ‘farm to table’ concept with produce sourced from the estate and local area.
From €210 per night.
Located in Lagos – Algarve’s iconic seaside town — Casa Mãe is a reference for its beautiful architecture and design, its winter residencies and the connections it forges with the creative and local community alike. This summer, guests can enjoy a chefs’ take-away basket to have on a deserted beach, outdoor ceramics and cooking workshops, and their outdoor cinema and barbecue nights.
From €169 per night.
Casa 1876 honours rural Algarvian culture with a carefully curated interior design featuring objects locally handcrafted made of natural materials, and reclaimed utensils from the house’s previous life as a farmhouse. Guests have an outdoor kitchen and dining area where they can opt for a private chef experience while enjoying the view of the ‘Serra Algarvia’ and the ocean in the distance, or plunge in the 13 m pool.
From €1950 per week.
Pensão Agrícola takes its roots from a traditional farmhouse dating from 1920, refurbished into charming contemporary spaces offering six rooms each with their own patio, designed by Atelier Rua (one of our top picks for upcoming young Portuguese studios). Supplementing the hotel experience is Ernesto the donkey. You can also rent a convertible Alfa Romeo Spider or Vespa to explore the wonders of the Algarve and go off the beaten track.
From €150 per night.
In the main island of the mystic mid-Atlantic archipelago of the Azores, an old stable has been renovated into two houses surrounded by gardens and ‘quintas’, or smallholdings. Painted pink on the outside and ochre tones on the inside, guests can roam free through the lush vegetation, as well as relax by the outdoor fire pit before exploring the tropical islands. See more holiday homes on the Azores’s largest island, São Miguel.
Main House from €219 per night.