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No doubt you’ve pounded Lisbon’s pastel-coloured streets, ticked off the pretty tiles in Porto and bronzed yourself on the Algarve. But the land of peri-peri, pasteis de nata, sun, sea and sand yields many lesser-known landscapes that tap into a slower-paced way of life. If you know where to go. A slew of out-of-the-way boutique hotels gives you the chance to experience the virgin beaches of the Atlantic coast, indulge your palate in some of the country’s richest reds and ditch claustrophobic city life in favour of the 200-year-old working farms. State-of-the-art spas, gut-busting gastronomy and miles of postcard-pretty views go without saying.
Herdade da Malhadinha Nova Alentejo
Portugal’s agricultural region is awash with quaint, whitewashed villages topped with burnt-orange rooftops, miles of olive groves and little likelihood of hearing an English accent. Baixo Alentejo is an unspoilt and un-anglicised pocket of Portugal. Surrounded by miles of verdant vineyards, Herdade da Malhadinha Nova is a traditional rural house with seven rooms and a knee-sinkingly attractive infinity pool that disappears into the sloping hills. Roll up your Levi’s and go grape trampling in August, press olive oil at the harvest in autumn or spoil yourself in the spa in the crisper, winter months. After working up a farmer’s appetite, head to the hotel’s restaurant that fuses rustic wooden interiors with floor-to-ceiling windows. The food mimics the decor, mixing contemporary flair with traditional, locally sourced produce; steak comes from the farm’s pureblood Alentejo cattle that graze nearby while shrimp and squid are lifted fresh from the Algarve coast. The working farm also boasts an acclaimed winery that’ll impress even the fussiest of noses. Pop the cork of the Monte da Peceguina, a vibrant plummy vintage that’ll you’ll want to stockpile back home.
- +351 284 965 432
- Go to Website
Noah Surf House Santa Cruz
Part of Portugal’s Silver Coast, Santa Cruz is a prime stretch of fierce Atlantic swell geared up at those wanting to hang loose. Right on the sand are 13 wooden-clad bungalows decorated with upcycled furnishings and floor-to-ceiling windows with front row sea views. Pack wax and a wetsuit at Noah’s Surf House, who vow to get you from hawking at the sandy side lines to pulling gnarly 180s in homage to Tony Hawkes. Improve your surfing stamina each morning with yoga classes, paddleboarding or specially curated functional training programmes to suit all levels of surfers. Once you’ve mastered the art of standing up, head to nearby Supertubos, a beach boasting some of the best wave breaks in Europe. Experts will want to tackle the towering waves at Nazaré, where the pros make an annual summer pilgrimage before taking on the world titles.
- +351 261 936 360
- Go to Website
Six Senses Duoro Valley
Oenophiles flock to Portugal’s celebrated wine region to tickle noses with some of the world’s finest fortified wines. It’s no secret that the Portuguese squirrel away their finest grapes exclusively for home consumption, so tap into their prestigious supply at Six Senses Douro Valley. The 19th-century manor overlooks a kink in the Douro River, far enough from Porto to escape the crowds but close enough to venture in for a day. Mixing wine and wellness is a pairing set to rival port and stilton and as with any Six Senses property, the spa takes centre stage. Pamper, preen and polish with an orange and lemon wrap with fruit picked from the garden and a luxurious facial using grape pulp before wallowing in the indoor heated swimming pool. Evenings are spent picking local wines from the very adult vending machine in the library where guests can pick their own glass (read: bottle) from a list of the finest Douro Valley plonk.
- +351 254 660 600
- Go to Website
São Lourenço do Barrocal Alentejo
This is not your typically twee, rustic farm stay. Acclaimed Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto Moura has transformed the sun-bleached farmhouse and cluster of barns and outhouses into a chic hideout catered for the well-heeled. Led by eighth-generation owner José Antonio, it took over 14 years to refurbish the entire property – and it’s clear that good things come to those who wait. Inside, regional rust-red floor tiles are paired with moss-green rugs, pendant lampshades and pops of duck-egg blue. The farm-to-table restaurant dishes up local delights such as flame-grilled black pork from acorn-eating Iberian pigs, partridge cooked from Jose’s grandmothers treasured recipe and grilled garden vegetables. After lunch, saddle up and gallop through the 780-hectare estate surrounded by wildflower meadows, vineyards and miles of olive groves before heading uphill to Castelo de Monsaraz. São Lourenço do Barrocal’s staff hail mainly from the local village, so they can pack you up with a picnic should you get peckish and direct you to the best trails.
- +351 266 247 140
- Go to Website
Sublime Comporta Comporta
The in-the-know jet-set crowd descend on the wild beaches of Comporta every summer for endless sunny days filled with jugs of sangria and buckets of local razor clams, followed by relaxed evenings doing the same. Sublime Comporta is a glittering, glass, modernist structure on 17 acres of undisturbed woodland. Inside the 14 cabanas, forest roots are upheld as each comes with cork walls, exposed wooden beams, pine stools and straw lampshades. Billowing curtains and sleek white-on-white interiors with outdoor fireplaces complete the look. An adults-only pool, a bar menu boasting eight different mojitos (we’d recommend the passionfruit) and a collection of bespoke boozy concoctions mixed by expert bartenders makes this a truly grown-up treat. Clear the cobwebs the morning after the night before with a vigorous green-coffee sculpting massage; ask for the treatment to be taken outside for an accompanying soundtrack of soothing forest sounds.
- +351 269449376
- Go to Website
Areias do Seixo Torres Vedras
Barefoot, bohemian and beautiful, Areias do Seixo sits on the edge of four unspoilt blonde-sand beaches nestled in a forest of pines, just a 40-minute drive from Lisbon. Rooms are bedecked in polished concrete and raw metal surfaces, softened by ruby-coloured chaise lounges, teardrop-shaped wooden burners, caramel velvet throws and sun streaming through full-length windows. Each of the 14 rooms leads to a private patio from which you can hear the comfortingly continuous sound of crashing waves, reminding you that this wild patch of Portugal is more Atlantic than Mediterranean. Setting the standards for sustainability, the hotel is runs off geothermal energy and solar panels; guests can choose to enrol in agricultural lessons with local farmers and are invited to pluck fresh mussels from the beach for tea. A feeling of home is evident from the lovingly made custard tarts to the honesty bar and nightly bonfire with acoustic music and glasses of local wine.
- Go to Website
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