Monte da Vilarinha

near Carrapateira, Algarve, Portugal Book from

Fabulous, family-focused rooms, studios and apartments in a leafy valley close to the stunning beaches of the Costa Vicentina
As you follow a winding road down into a wooded valley, across a narrow bridge then up towards an isolated cluster of low schist buildings, you sense that something really special awaits you. And there are few Portuguese hideaways that have been so masterfully crafted, inside and out. Each of Monte da Vilarinha's 10 living units (a mix of rooms, studios and apartments, spread between 3 houses) brilliantly combines clean-cut, contemporary design with the traditional Alentejano materials of slate, terracotta, bamboo and local adobe-like taipa. They, and their shared poolside diner, are as functional as they are good-looking.

But what makes Vilarinha stand out from the pack is its family-friendly ethos. This is a place where children are not just tolerated but celebrated, and any kid would find staying here a joy. There's an adventure playground with swings, a slide and climbing ropes, a wooden roped walkway snaking through the trees, mountain bikes to ride, a beautiful pool, 32 hectares of enchanted valley to explore, and beautiful beaches close by. For toddlers there's a small playroom with toys. And, thanks to the peace and tasty regional cuisine, grown-ups love it, too.


  • A tranquil setting in a natural park, with lush green views from private terraces and heaps of activities nearby. It's only a short drive from some of the Atlantic coast's most stunning beaches
  • Most units have kitchens and kitchenettes which are well-equipped for cooking
  • With breakfast served daily, and lunches and dinners on offer (traditional Alentejo cuisine), this is a highly flexible self-catering set-up
  • If you came as a family, you could guarantee your children would quickly find playmates
  • With solar power, natural materials and recycling, sustainability is central to Vilarinha's ethic rather than a mere afterthought


  • Couples without kids might find it too family-focused
  • In Casa do Forno, Double Rooms 1 and 2 do not have access to self-catering facilities
  • Meals follow a set-menu formula but can be adapted for veggies and fussy eaters - dinner should be confirmed 24 hours in advance
  • The diner lacks atmosphere in the evening, but the food is delicious and the staff friendly
  • The restaurant is closed in the winter month and it's a drive to shops and restaurants

Best time to go

It gets extremely hot in July and August, when a minimum booking of a week is required. Spring (April-May) is perfect for flowers, autumn (September-October) for coastal walks. The sea is swimmable from June to September. It can rain quite a lot in winter (November-March).

Our top tips

Bear in mind that, whilst the beaches in this part of Portugal are amongst the most beautiful in the country, the sea is several degrees cooler than elsewhere in the Algarve. Bringing wet suits for you and your children might significantly add to the enjoyment of your holiday

It's also worth packing a torch to help you navigate your way around the site after dark, as there's little outdoor lighting (though this means it's great for star-gazing!)

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Apartments
  • 10
  • Breakfast (+ other meals / self-catering)
  • 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
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Bicycles Available
  • Playroom
  • Playground


Vilarinha's rooms, studios and apartments are spread between 3 different houses, each differing slightly in conception. Whichever you choose, you'll have a private terrace with garden furniture and a choice of sun or shade.

The decorative style is similar throughout, with high bamboo-and-beam ceilings, terracotta-tiled floors and furniture made from local cork. All-white walls impart a fresh, light ambiance, whilst shiny black surfaces feel cool and contemporary. Beds come with top-of-the-range mattresses, padded leather headboards, Egyptian cotton sheets and embroidered pillows, and are topped by Indian cotton throws. There are TVs, DVD players and radios, plus shelves and hanging rails for storage; in the bathrooms you'll find snowy-white towels, hairdryers, shower gel and hand-wash.

The nearest house to the pool is Casa da Ribeira, which contains 4 open-plan studios, all with shower bathrooms, sitting areas and their own kitchenettes. A little further up the hill, Casa de Cima is home to 3 larger apartments, each with a double bedroom, a living room with a sofa (which can be made up as a single bed), a kitchen/diner, and a bathroom with a tub.

Just beyond the bread oven and barbecue terrace, Casa do Forno has 3 double rooms. Rooms 1 and 2 have showers only and no cooking facilities; Room 3 has a bathtub and a private kitchen. Casa do Forno makes a great choice for larger families or groups of 3 couples, who can rent the house as a complete unit.

Features include:

  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Cots Available
  • Dishwasher
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fridge
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob stove
  • Microwave
  • Phone
  • Private or shared kitchen
  • Radio
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi


Most rooms and suites have access to snazzy kitchens and kitchenettes with hobs, microwaves, fridges and dishwashers, but no ovens. There’s also a communal barbecue and bread oven - exclusive to Casa do Forno if the building has been booked in for one group. Basic ingredients are provided and you can buy groceries in the village, 2km away. Note that Rooms 1 and 2 in Casa do Forno do not have any self-catering facilities.

Cooking is just one option though, Vilharinha also has a glass-fronted diner by the pool with tables spilling out onto the terrace whenever the weather's good. There’s a healthy buffet breakfast of locally made cheese, juicy tomatoes, homemade jams, fruit salad and freshly squeezed orange juice, plus wonderful freshly baked bread and sweet treats from a renowned Aljezúr bakery. If you have to leave for an early flight, breakfast packs can be delivered to your door in the evening, ready for the next morning.

Lunches and dinners should be requested 48 hours’ in advance. Lunch could be a salad with octopus or shrimp, a mushroom risotto, or pork with Aljezúr sweet potato. On our last visit, we tucked into a 3-course set menu dinner of sea bass and decadent chocolate cake, while our son feasted on spaghetti Bolognese and ice cream.

Groups of 5 or more (team up with fellow guests if you're short) can order a gourmet fish supper, which may feature the famous perceves or gooseneck barnacles from Vila do Bispo.

If you prefer to eat out, there’s a choice of simple restaurants in Carrapateira, 5km down the road - the team are on hand for recommendations.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Coffee maker
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Fridge
  • Hob stove
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Microwave
  • Toaster
  • Vegetarian menu


  • Vilarinha is set in a natural park, surrounded by beautiful mountains, rivers, lakes and valleys. Bring your binoculars for bird-watching, go hiking (there are marked trails), or ask the owners about fishing and kayaking opportunities
  • Grab one of the mountain bikes and explore the surrounding area on 2 wheels
  • Or saddle up and meander through this beautiful swathe of country on horseback: there are stables just down the road
  • Head for the beach. The nearest, Amado, is about 5 minutes away by car, with a huge stretch of sand and lots of surf schools; a few minutes further on is the beautiful Bordeira, which has a river for children to paddle in
  • Hit the waves or, if you’re a novice, book a place on a surf course: the Costa Vicentina is home to some of Europe's best breaks. Even if you're not a surfer, it's great fun just to watch
  • Shop for the makings of your meals at any number of colourful local markets: you can make use of Vilarinha's big barbecue area or prepare a roast in its wood-fired oven
  • Head down to Sagres - if you've got kids in tow you might be tempted to visit the zoo - then carry on to Cabo São Vicente (Cape St Vincent), from where the sunsets are simply electrifying
  • Back at Vilarinha, laze by the small crescent-shaped pool, doze in a hammock, treat yourself to a massage with a local therapist (arranged on request), then sit back on your terrace with a glass of chilled vinho verde as the stars appear overhead

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Well being


This is a perfect place for a family holiday, combining rural retreat and proximity to the beach; in fact it's so popular with parents that you're bound to end up with new friends, much like your kids. Vilarinha's guiding ethos is to encourage children to get outside and discover more about nature, and with its playground, lawn, toys for toddlers and welcoming atmosphere, it does that and more.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Two of the rooms in Casa do Forno have space for a rollaway bed, and the studios in Casa da Ribeira have sofabeds that can be made up as single beds. The apartments in Casa de Cima have sofabeds and space for a rollaway bed, and so can sleep up to 4 + a baby. Larger family parties should book all 3 Casa do Forno rooms (sleeping 8 in total), which share a big open-plan kitchen/dining and living room. All units can take a baby cot. Note that the studios in Casa da Ribeira and 2 of the rooms in Casa do Forno have showers only (no bathtubs).


Available on request.

Baby equipment:

  • Highchairs
  • Baby cots

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

Children's meals:

Breakfast is served daily; for other meals, you can self-cater or eat in the poolside diner (kids' options are available on request). Room 1 and 2 in Casa do Forno do not have self-catering facilities. Kitchens have microwaves for heating up baby food. The nearest grocery shop is 2km away.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Small playroom for toddlers
  • Playground and rope walkway for older kids
  • Mountain bikes to borrow
  • Swimming pool
  • Ping pong table
  • Lovely expanse of flat lawn that's perfect for toddlers (though there are some water features nearby)

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Beaches
  • Horse riding
  • Zoo in Sagres
  • Surfing lessons

Families Should Know:

Kids can run around freely, but there are some steps in and around the buildings. The pool is unfenced so toddlers, as always, need a keen eye on them. The hotel also has a dog which is often off the lead in the gardens.


  • Airport: 1 hour (Faro)
  • Nearest shop: 5 minutes
  • Hospital: 40 minutes
Kid Friendly:

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