“Fabulous, family-focused rooms, studios and apartments in a leafy valley close to the stunning beaches of the Costa Vicentina”
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, 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 winter until around May/June and it's a drive to shops and restaurants
Best time to go
Our top tips
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!)”
- Boutique Apartments
- Breakfast (+ other meals / self-catering)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Bicycles Available
Vilarinha's rooms, studios and apartments are spread between 4 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.
Casa da Ribeira contains 4 open-plan Studios, each containing shower bathrooms, sitting areas and their own kitchenettes. This is the nearest house to the pool.
A little further up the hill, Casa de Cima is home to 3 larger Apartments. Each has a double bedroom, a living room with a sofabed (single), a kitchen/diner, and a bathroom with a tub.
Just beyond the bread oven and barbecue terrace, you'll find Casa do Forno, which has 3 double rooms. Double Rooms 1 and 2 have showers only and no cooking facilities. The Apartment (Room 3) has a bathtub and a private kitchen. This house makes a great choice for larger families or groups of 3 couples, who can rent it as a private unit.
All four house share a similar decorative style: high bamboo-and-beam ceilings, terracotta-tiled floors and furniture made from local cork. All-white walls impart a fresh, light ambiance. Beds come with top-of-the-range mattresses, Egyptian cotton sheets and Indian cotton throws. There are radios, plus shelves and hanging rails for storage. Bathrooms have snowy-white towels, hairdryers, shower gel and hand-wash.
We are yet to personally view Casa do Vale, which was added since our visit; being slightly further out than the other houses it boasts total seclusion and has 2 double bedrooms.
- Cd player
- Central heating
- Coffee maker
- Cots Available
- Dvd player
- Extra beds
- Hob stove
- Private or shared kitchen
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 (restaurant usually opens around May/June). 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.
- Children meals
- Coffee maker
- Dinner by arrangement
- Hob stove
- Lunch by arrangement
- 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:
- Historical sites
- Mountain biking
- Shopping / markets
- 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.
Family friendly accommodation:
Casa do Vale would be ideal for families as it has 2 double bedrooms, with the space for a rollaway bed or cot at an extra cost.
The Casa da Ribeira Studios have a double bedroom plus a lounge with a single sofabed; their bathrooms are shower only. The Casa de Cima Apartments sofabeds and space for a rollaway bed (they can sleep up to 4 + a baby).
In Casa do Forno, Room 2 has space for a rollaway bed; Room 3 has a sofabed and a rollaway bed; all can take a baby cot. Larger family parties should book all 3 Casa do Forno rooms (sleeping 9 in total), which share a big open-plan kitchen/dining and living room.
Available on request
- Baby cots
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
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:
- 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