This super-cosy 6-room guesthouse sits in a hilltop village in one of our favourite Portuguese regions, the Alentejo. With views of the castle, lake and hills beyond, plus an utterly charming rural vibe, it’s easy to see why Casa de Terena is a hideaway we found hard to forget.
Inside, there’s something exquisite at every turn: a calçada (tiled) entrance hall, Italian sofas, voile wall hangings. But you won’t want to linger for too long, as there’s so much to explore nearby. Your hosts can organise mountain-bike safaris, canoe trips up river gorges, visits to local wineries, and even hands-on cheese-making sessions.
Rooms: Take your pick between a great view (rooms at the back) or a little balcony (rooms at the front) – or stay a week and swap halfway through for the best of both worlds! Inside, the rooms are all similar, with pure cotton sheets, freshly cut flowers, funky rugs and other cool details in the furnishings. Some are tiled in Portuguese style, others are more contemporary with cast-iron lampshades and round terracotta sinks. Wander at will and find West African wall hangings, decanters of Port, and angels above a bed.
Food: The day starts with a generous and delicious feast in the social breakfast room, whose beautiful view is framed by large windows. The buffet includes plenty of treats: a jug of freshly squeezed juice from village oranges, homemade muffins and banana bread, local honey, and strong coffee anyway you like it. Gourmet picnics can be arranged (and are highly recommended): wine, bread, smoked local ham, cheese straight from the maker. There’s no dinner, but you’re in the Alentejo region and food in the area is exceptional.
Top tip: Book one of manager Cesar’s special food days: you start with a walk to pick produce, then milk goats with the local cheese guru and help make the regional queijo fresco. Later, you enjoy a full evening’s dinner around a long table at Monte dos Vicentes.