Pensao Agricola

Conceição de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal Book from Book from £135 per night

A uniquely restored farmhouse with quirky style, excellent food and the warmest of welcomes
Nestled in the countryside, surrounded by orchards of orange, fig and almond, Pensão Agrícola is that best of finds: an under-the-radar, truly delightful small hotel. Set between the historic town of Tavira and the picturesque clifftop fishing village of Cacela Velha, it's just 1.5km from the Ria Formosa delta and its idyllic deserted beaches, yet totally hidden away. But this is no country bumpkin. With stark whitewashed walls and smooth concrete floors offsetting vintage furniture and quirky touches, every last corner is superbly stylish. Wandering around, you want to take interiors' notes for your own home: traditional reed ceilings above retro pendant lamps and hip designer chairs; an upcycled metal trolley topped by a modern square sink; glass jars stuffed with fragrant herbs and wild flowers. The mix is eclectic, yet totally works.

But our favourite thing about staying here was how comfortable and utterly relaxing a hotel it is. Charming owner Rui and his staff go out of their way to make you feel welcome from the moment you arrive, and look after you magnificently throughout your stay. Unforgettable.

Highs

  • A perfect base for the eastern Algarve's picturesque countryside, quaint villages and breathtakingly beautiful beaches
  • Slow breakfasts on the terrace overlooking the orchards - you'll taste their fruit in homemade jams and jellies
  • Just 6 elegant rooms
  • Lazing in the sun by the small heated pool
  • Delicious 5-course dinners on request. Try osso bucco with coconut rice and manioc, followed by carob mousse with fig ice cream

Lows

  • No kids under 12 (a high for those seeking peace)
  • Fairly isolated - you'll need a car to get here
  • No beaches within walking distance, but you can borrow bikes if you don't want to drive
  • The area can get extremely hot in July and August

Best time to go

Spring flowers bloom in April and May, and the sea is nice and warm in September and October. Temperatures in July and August can hit 40 degrees. The property is closed from November to February, but it's available to rent as a whole upon request during this period.

Our top tips

Set aside a couple of evenings for visiting Tavira and dining alfresco at its waterside restaurants. There's live music most evenings in the delightful open-air arena next to the Roman bridge, and even in the height of summer the town retains a laid-back and friendly atmosphere.

Great for...

Beach
Foodie
Honeymoon
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 6
  • Breakfast + other meals on request
  • Over 12s only
  • Closed: 17 Dec 2018 - 28 Feb 2019
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
  • Snack menu
Room: Superior Double Muro

Rooms

All 6 rooms are light and spacious with a simple elegance. There are large comfy beds and statement bedside lights, and each has an individual mix of vintage and upcycled furniture. Bathrooms also make a statement with enormous showers, underfloor heating and sliding roof windows (in the Superior Doubles and Suite). Customised toiletries are by Nova Saboaria.

There are 3 room types. Three Standard Doubles are part of the original farmhouse and share a terrace. In contemporary out-buildings are 2 Superior Doubles, each with a private terrace, and the Suite, which has its own terrace and a separate sitting room with a TV. (None of the other rooms have a TV). All are gorgeous but Acoteia was our favourite, with its vintage pommel horse!

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Beach towels
  • Central heating
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Mosquito net
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

We had some of our favourite food in the Algarve here - many of their amazing dishes are based on old family recipes, and meals are served on the shady terrace next to the farmhouse.

Breakfast is a lavish affair - we feasted on scrambled eggs, melon and figs, pastries with homemade jam, and yoghurt with homemade fruit compote; there were also cheeses, meats, breads and copious amounts of freshly squeezed orange juice. Understandably, after this most people skip lunch or have a light snack by the pool (freshly made soups, salads and toasted sandwiches, available all day).

Dinner is the star event: a 5-course set menu, with meat or fish, which you'll need to request in advance. The setting feels intimate and candles add to the sense of occasion. After imaginative starters, including prawn quiche and cauliflower mousse, our main course was a deliciously rich osso bucco with coconut rice and manioc. Carob mousse with fig ice cream and dried mango was a perfect follow-up, served with a local liqueur. A choice of green, red or white Covelo wine flows throughout the meal.

The closest restaurants are 4km away at Fábrica and Cabanas beaches. All serve traditional Portuguese cuisine with wonderful fresh fish and seafood, and Noelia's (at Cabanas beach) does so with an interesting modern twist.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Minibar/fridge
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Taxi-boat to stunning island beaches in the protected Ria Formosa National Park; we love Fuseta, Culatra and Armona. In summer, the hotel can arrange for you to go to an idyllic deserted beach and set up a picnic for you (a 25-minute tuk-tuk ride followed by a quick hop on a boat)
  • Borrow bikes to explore the surroundings. Cacela Velha, a picturesque clifftop fishing village, is just 1.5 km down the road
  • Visit Tavira, one of the prettiest towns in the Algarve (10km away). The Camera Obscura has 360-degree views of the rooftops and you can climb cobbled streets to a 13th-century castle
  • Day trip in style: rent the hotel’s Vespa or convertible Alfa Romeo Spider
  • Foodies will enjoy Olhao's big bustling fish market on Saturdays
  • Pop over to Spain: the coast between Mazagón and Matalascañas has wild pine-shaded beaches and massive sand dunes; the town of El Rocio is like a Western filmset; or Seville is only an hour and a half away 
  • Staff can arrange in-room massages, dolphin watching, fishing trips, bird watching in the marshlands, or golf tee times (there are 6 courses within 15km)
  • Ernesto and Julia, the hotel's donkeys, are always happy to see people, and especially delighted if you help feed and groom them

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Well being

Kids

This property is a tranquil hideaway which only welcomes children over 12 years old. There are no extra beds.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Kid Friendly:

Location

The hotel is set on the edge of Sitio do Valonga, a small village in the eastern Algarve, near Tavira and 40 minutes from Faro airport. Lisbon is 284km away, whilst Seville in Spain is only a 1.5-hour drive.

By Air:
Fly into Faro (48km). Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving this airport.

From the Airport
You'll need a car to get here - see our 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:

  • Faro 48.0 km FAO

Other:

  • Beach 4.0 km
  • Shops 10.0 km
  • Restaurant 4.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 4 independent reviews from i-escape guests

8/10
Room
9/10
Food
9/10
Service
9/10
Value
9/10
Overall

Great location but difficult to find as it is off the main beaten tourist track, one of its best features! We will absolutely recommend it to our friends.

10/10,

Pensão Agricola is a wonderful place, we liked it very much. Rui and all the employees are so kind and we felt a very warm atmosphere in this ambient. When we arrived and drove through the small entrance way, with its impressive, awesome old trees, at the first moment we felt good vibrations. Barbara gave as a very warm welcome and led as through the surrounding garden and introduced as to the donkeys, Julia, Ernesto and its baby Clementine. We had dinner there twice and it was really in a unique great and romantic surrounding, with all the candles and warm lights around, a lovely atmosphere, we won't forget these moments. The service was really special and this is what makes holidays special.
We would have liked a room with more private atmosphere and a softer mattress, that is the only thing that we can criticize. Thanks again for the beautiful days we could spend in Pensão Agricola.

9/10,

The property was beautiful - well designed, quiet, great location. Nice dinner service outdoors. Friendly staff.

9/10,

We really enjoyed our stay . Pedro and Nuno were great and very friendly
Appreciate that they were building rooms on an existing footprint when they redeveloped the property but there was nowhere to hang clothes.

9/10,

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