Vilacampina

near Tavira, Algarve, Portugal Book from

Reviewed by Tom Bell
A Moorish-influenced bolthole with an inviting pool and tranquil gardens, set just inland from some of the Algarve's most picturesque beaches
Vilacampina has it all. You’re close to some of the Algarve’s best beaches, in amongst olive and citrus groves, yet far, far away from the bustle of tourists. Freshly squeezed breakfast juice comes from orange trees in the estate across the lane, so wash down freshly baked nata and head out to the national park's island lagoons for miles of sand. If you can’t pull yourself away, then don’t. Vilacampina is a great spot to linger; wander through the garden to the pool, help yourself to a drink at the bar, soak up the sun on padded loungers or read in the shade of a parasol. Candle lanterns come out at night, when the palm-graced garden takes on a real feel of Arabian Nights.

Inside, interiors certainly don’t disappoint. Hallways are lined with eye-catching contemporary art, and the 9 stylish rooms offer stone floors, whitewashed walls, and super-comfy beds dressed in crisp white linen with Indian cotton bedspreads. Lighting, from appliqués and snazzy bedside lamps, is just right. Step onto the terrace, breathe in the fresh, Portuguese air, and feel yourself unwind. Whether you’re after romance or quality family time, you’ll find it here.

Highs

  • You couldn’t be better placed to explore the eastern Algarve’s picturesque countryside, quaint villages and breathtakingly beautiful beaches
  • The pool and grounds are great spots to laze in the sun - during our 2014 revisit we found it very hard to leave!
  • Sleek modern bedrooms have an enticing terrace or balcony, plus the design and layout of the property is exceptional
  • A spoiling breakfast is served on a smart decked terrace overlooking a small orchard of pear, fig and quince trees, the fruit of which is made into jams and jellies

Lows

  • There's no on-site restaurant, though there is a sandwich menu available throughout the day and staff can arrange for dinner to be delivered from a local restaurant
  • The area can get extremely hot in July and August
  • Some may find the rooms to be a little too small for a long trip
  • Beaches are not within walking distance (the closest is about 4km) but bikes can be borrowed to get you there

Best time to go

Temperatures in July and August can hit 40 degrees. Spring flowers bloom in April and May, and the sea is nice and warm in September and October. It's closed from mid November to early January. Winter (January-March) is a possibility, as there's heating, but don't expect to swim.

Our top tips

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

Great for...

Beach
Family
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique B&B
  • 9
  • Breakfast (+ snack lunches)
  • 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

Contemporary-style rooms pamper you all the way. All are spotless, with shining white walls, creamy stone floors, and pinkish-red rugs to add a touch of colour. Simplicity is a virtue; there’s no clutter, but you get everything you need. Best of all are the French windows, which open onto a large terrace or balcony stretching around the building (each room has its own section), so fling open doors and find your very own outdoor sitting room where you can slump in a chair or sink into a mushroom-like bean bag. Those at the front look over the garden towards the pool, those at the back have views across orange groves towards the hills. Make sure you sit out at night with a glass of wine and listen to the cicadas sing.

Our favourite rooms were the 3 first-floor Doubles, which face out over the gardens; one of these, #5, is the most popular thanks to its corner location. If you’re after more privacy, opt for ground-floor #3; we loved its view over the old well.

Bathrooms are excellent and come in Spanish stone. Expect power showers, square white porcelain sinks, big mirrors, fluffy white towels, bathrobes and slippers.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • WiFi

Eating

An extensive Portuguese buffet breakfast is laid out in the open-plan sitting/dining room. You eat on a decked dining terrace for most of the year (we visited in October and found temperatures of 25 degrees), but on a rare cold, rainy morning, the fire is lit. You help yourself to an endless array of delicacies; we selflessly tested the chocolate cake twice simply to confirm how tasty it was. You’ll also find gallons of freshly squeezed orange juice, plates of cheese and ham, homemade yoghurt, bowls of fruit, croissants, homemade jams (we loved the fig jam), locally buzzed honey and an enticing choice of oven-warm breads. There’s strong coffee, warm milk and a collection of leaf and fruit teas.

For lunches and snacks, there’s a simple but delicious choice of baguettes made to order. For dinner, staff will happily order and collect food from the ever-popular Fialho. But should you choose to go out (and you should), you’ll discover fabulous fish and seafood such as giant shrimps, squid and octopus, crabs, clams and oysters. Grilled sardines are a firm favourite, as is the Portuguese speciality of salted cod; make sure you wash it down with jugs of crisp vinho verde. Try Alactruz in Santa Luzia, O Castelo in Tavira or get a table at Fialho. If you want something really fancy, head to Vila Joya at Almancil for 2 Michelin stars.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity: Armona

Activities

  • You're in the Ria Formosa Natural Park, hence the lack of development. The park is famous for its island lagoons that fan out along the coast from Faro to the border with Spain (about 45km). The beaches (praias) are fantastic and even in high season you can find a stretch to yourself. Some are connected by foot bridges, others are serviced by small ferries and water taxis (boat tours are easily arranged). Try the beaches at Fuzeta, Barrill, Santa Luzia and Tavira
  • There’s an observatory in the hills close by; the skies are marvellously clear, so it’s well worth it. You get to look through the big machine!
  • Santa Luzia is a pretty fishing village. You eat exceptional fish here - though its speciality is octopus - so drop by for lunch by the sea
  • Visit Olhão on a Saturday for its impressive farmers’ market. There are also 2 red-brick market buildings which are open most days selling fresh fish, fruit and vegetables, and local produce. Whilst here, get the ferry to Ilha Culatra, Armona or Deserta, all of which have outstanding beaches
  • Pull on your walking boots - or borrow a mountain bike - and head into the hills. You’ll find beautiful country, peace and quiet and a way of life that’s changed little in the last hundred years. On your way stop at Pêgo do Inferno (Hell’s Pool), where you can swim in a rock pool with a waterfall

Activities on site or nearby include:

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

Kids

Children are welcome, with 1 child at a time allowed to stay in their parents' room; extra beds are available on request and there are 4 baby cots.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Kids Activities on site:

  • The pool and a couple of swings

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

{{ review.firstName }}{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},
Feedback is only from guests who have booked and stayed through i-escape

Rates for Vilacampina