Casa do Terreiro do Poco

Borba, Alentejo, Portugal Book from Book from £65 per night

Smartly refurbished historic house with gardens, a pool and welcoming hosts, close to Borba's castle-crowned centre
The Moors have held Borba, so too the Spanish. In its time it’s been pillaged and torched, but these days it’s known for its wine and its marble, and a sleepy peace now pervades its sun-baked streets. Wander its mazy streets to find a castle, antique shops, old churches and elaborately carved portals.

This is the place to stay in town. The historic home, which fronts a thin slip of public garden a few streets back from the main road, was once a wine-maker’s house and still has original cellars and frescoes. It’s been skilfully renovated to create a maze of antique-packed rooms that ooze history. Find a stone-vaulted sitting room with wood-burner and honesty bar, a garden pavilion for relaxing with a novel, orange and lemon trees in a nicely wild courtyard, a small saltwater pool with a sun-trapping terrace. You’re brilliantly positioned to dive into the Alentejo, so don’t miss Estremoz, the Serra de Ossa, Roman Évora or hilltop Monsaraz.

Highs

  • The courtyard gardens give a sense of peace and space in the middle of town
  • Characterful rooms offering flexible accommodation, from cute doubles to family-sized suites
  • Borba is an endearing and handsome town and is famous for its wineries, which you can visit
  • Many of the Alentejo's loveliest sights, including Évora and the palace of Vila Viçosa, are on your doorstep
  • Owners João and Rita are wonderfully welcoming hosts

Lows

  • There's no restaurant, but there are plenty of simple restaurants within easy walking distance
  • The small pool is small and overlooked, but it's still a great place to cool off on hot summer days
  • Parking here can be very tricky at times, so you may need to seek out a spot nearby
  • Some of the rooms are fairly dark if there's no sun or it's raining

Best time to go

The feast of the grape is celebrated in the second week of November. If you like your wine, don’t miss it. There's also a cheese fair over Easter, a herb fair in May, and a processional festival on the third Sunday in August - but July and August can be uncomfortably hot for some.

Our top tips

The towns and villages of the Alentejo are on your doorstep - one of Portugal’s loveliest areas. Potter from town to town, stopping for regular refreshment: brilliant peasant food, wonderful earthy wines, country life at its very best. There’s so little traffic that it takes no time at all to get around. Roman Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a must.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Family
  • Boutique B&B
  • 15
  • Breakfast (+ walk to restaurants)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

The house’s 15 rooms are scattered all over: in the garden, at the front, in the main house and in the neighbouring converted winery. Owner João imports antiques and has raided his collection to furnish the rooms. Some even have their own frescoes too.

The four most recently refurbished, and some of the grandest, are on the first floor of the restored winery at the far side of the garden. All have amazing artefacts, state-of-the-art bathrooms, sitting rooms, and use of a shared lounge on the ground floor. By comparison, we found the smaller Balcony room less impressive as it was very dark, with older facilities and very little WiFi connectivity during our most recent visit.

We loved Ethnic (twin or double) with its exotic animal theme, Chinese painted furniture and tiger-skin-design bedcovers (shower only); and Decadent, with its four-poster, vibrant furnishings, and corner-bath and shower. The most opulent is Golden Suite with a printed Chinese screen and lamps, and sizeable bathroom with both corner-bath and shower.

For quirky, choose the newly restored Kitchen Room, including the original winery kitchen in the corner (with 21st-century fridge and microwave) and antique kitchenalia including pans and a stove.

History of art buffs will adore Tower and neighbouring Little Boys at the top of a frescoed staircase near the entrance, both of which have original 19th-century frescoes and antique ceramic tiles in their bathrooms. Oratory’s frescoes are even older; marvel at them in its antique-furnished sitting room.

The small 2-storey suites - known as Nana’s House and Rosária's House - are at the front. You enter from the public garden and step into tiny sitting rooms with well-concealed kitchenettes (microwave, kettle , fridge). There’s also a lovely garden-facing room with disabled access and facilities.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Fridge
  • Terrace
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast is served in the converted wine cellar leading off the garden. Help yourself to freshly-squeezed orange juice, baskets of freshly baked sourdough bread, Rita's homemade jams (including her famous quince jelly), plates of ham and local cheese, and eggs if you want them.

For dinner, we’d suggest you wander into town to one of the many simple restaurants nearby where you can try the local cuisine. Owners João and Rita can provide recommendations.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Fridge
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Borba is a lovely and lively town. It’s known for its chiefly for its antique shops and wines. João and Rita will help book you onto a guided tour of the town’s Adega de Borba winery, which includes a tasting of their wines. It is also one of the great marble towns; take the road south and you pass the quarries. Keep going for a couple of kilometres and you come to Vila Viçoca, a must-see. This was the country seat of the Dukes of Bragança, the last ruling family of Portugal. The palace here is the Portuguese equivalent to Versailles.

  • Join one of João’s cookery classes, held in the winery kitchens below the four new rooms. Class theme and length is negotiable (minimum group size 8). João also organises wine tastings on request.

  • Estremoz is a fine example of a provincial country town, with a famous market on Saturday mornings. It attracts only a little interest from tourists and is all the prettier for it. It’s a garrison town and one of the region’s seven hilltop settlements. Estremoz marble is extremely pretty, thus a stroll about the Rossio, the town’s square, is quite a grand affair.

  • Head south from Borba to a string of interesting towns and villages: Alandroal, Terena, Reguengos, then glorious Monsaraz. Beyond you’ll find Alqueva, Europe’s largest, and newest, lake. It’s manmade and provides water for the Alentejo. You can canoe, sail, ski and swim

  • Bicycles can be rented for a small, hourly fee - potter around town, take to the hills, drop in on the vineyards, sample the wines

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Children are welcome and will enjoy the swimming pool.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

We suggest you opt for the Patio room, which has an adjoining twin room sharing its bathroom (bathtub, no shower). Most rooms can fit in an extra bed or baby cot.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request and 3 high chairs are available in the breakfast room.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

There's a pool, which isn't heated and is open from May until October, 9am-9pm.

Kids Activities nearby:

The Monte Selvagem animal reserve is 45 minutes away, or you can cross the border into Spain and head to an aqua park in Badajoz - all within a half hour drive.

Distances:

  • Supermarket: Local shops available
  • Hospital: 40 minutes (Evora)
  • Airport: 2 hours (Lisbon)
Kid Friendly:

Location

Casa do Terreiro do Poço is in the village of Borba in rural Alentejo, about 160km east of Lisbon and 50km northeast of Évora in Portugal.

By Air:
Lisbon Portela Airport (160km) is the closest. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving it.

From the Airport
You will probably want to hire a car to explore the region and to get here from Lisbon - see our car rental recommendations.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to Portugal and getting around

Airports:

  • Lisbon Portela 160.0 km LIS

Other:

  • Beach 160.0 km
  • Shops 1.0 km
  • Restaurant 1.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 3 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
9/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

We absolutely loved our stay. Rita and João were both excellent hosts and give wonderful tips about local restaurants and trips. We cannot recommend highly enough!

10/10,

Joao and Rita waited up late for us as our flight was late but they still gave us a sincere and warm welcome. We were delighted with the Casa - a beautiful property with lots of character. Being in the centre of Borba was great, even though the property feels secluded due to the enclosed garden. Borba is quaint and charming , with surprisingly lots of little shops. Joao made a reservation for us at a local restaurant and we had a lovely meal. Our kids loved the pool. Joao noticed that our kids loved cats so he brought them to see a beautiful cat in a shop in the town so that they could pet it - they were thrilled. Thank you Joao and Rita. We will return.

10/10,

A great hideaway in rural Portugal with a wonderful host - Rita - who put us at our ease immediately and was a wonderful source of local information from where to eat to where to visit. We loved our time here.

10/10,

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