Villa Pedra

Soure, Mountain Beiras, Portugal Book from

Old stones, contemporary comfort and incredible style at this beautiful retreat with self-catering cottages for 2-5
The picturesque Beiras region, cradled between the Douro and the Tejo rivers, stretches from the Atlantic Coast all the way to the Spanish border yet few people outside of Portugal would be able to place it on a map. Friends Manuel and Victor have long known of the region's charms and when they happened upon a remote, abandoned hamlet, Aldeia de Cimao, with stunning views of the emerald-hilled Sicó valley, it was 'game on'.

Bringing urbane sophistication to rustic origins, they oversaw a remarkable renaissance that has given life to a cluster of self-catering cottages for 2-5 guests, which marry a strict eco-brief with chic, decorative pizzazz. The living spaces are as comfortable as they are functional, with a funky mix of contemporary paintings, ethnic art from all corners of the planet and iconic furnishings. A sense of retreat, coupled with genuine privacy and peace makes Villa Pedra a great choice for romancing or deep relaxation, but the cottages are big enough for family groups too.


  • Really stunning cottages, with oodles of TLC and quality lavished on every last detail
  • Fabulous owners and staff, who couldn't be more welcoming
  • A great on-site restaurant (home cooking with real flair) plus a feast of a breakfast included in the rates and delivered to your door each morning
  • Amazing value
  • The walled pool is a blissfully quiet spot to while away your afternoons, plus each cottage has a private garden


  • No dinner served on Sundays so you'll need to self cater or hop in the car to eat out
  • You're well off the tourist-beaten track, and a fair drive from the beach, but that's all part of the charm
  • Not much to do locally other than visiting historic Coimbra - this is a place to read, snooze and recharge
  • Only a handful of loungers around the pool, so it can quickly feel crowded

Best time to go

This is a place where you'll be comfortable at any time of year and every season in the Beiras has its own rewards. The landscape changes colour throughout the year, with stunning red golds in autumn, crisp white snow in winter, beautiful mountain blossoms in spring and blue, blue skies in summer. Walkers would naturally choose the months when there's less likelihood of rain, meaning late spring, summer and early autumn. But, like Scotland or the Lake District, those days when you are immersed in mist and rain have their own unique beauty: seeing a blanket of morning mist gradually lifting from the surrounding hills and valleys is a memory which we'll savour for many years to come. And to trek out from the hotel into the high Beiras when the snows are down would be an extraordinary experience. Summer temperatures are around 28C; winter around 6C.

Our top tips

You'll have fun shopping for cooking ingredients in the Aniaos market (6km away), where you'll find stacks of local produce - seasonal fruit and veg, tangy Rabaçal cheeses as well as the softer ones of the Serra da Estrela, a huge range of smoked meats as well as Chanfana veal and suckling pig from Bairrada: the Beiras is known throughout Portugal for the quality of its meat.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Retreat
  • 11 Cottages (for 2-5)
  • Self catering; restaurant open Mon-Sat; breakfast incl
  • 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
  • Concierge Service
Room: Casa do Limoeiro (Lemon Tree)


At the end of a very quiet country lane, a clutch of cottages wait amongst the olive and walnut trees. There's no noise from passing traffic: guests leave cars at the entrance to the hamlet then walk the last few metres to the cottages.

The restoration followed a strict eco brief: natural renders, Kambala hardwood from renewable sources, local limestone and marble. Exposed blocks of original stonework speak of the age of the buildings; numerous windows keep things light.

Decorative elements combine '50s and '60s furniture, Murano glass, splashy canvases (some by Victor), Philippe Starck and Kaiser lamps with cushions from Morocco, brass candlesticks from India and carvings from the Amazon. The look is eclectic and it all works brilliantly; you'll want to recreate it at home.

We were amazed by the incredible attention to detail (including a few surprises we won't ruin for you). Best of all, each cottage has a very spacious private garden. Some are rocky, some are grassed, all are immaculately maintained.

Features include:

  • Barbeque
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dishwasher
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Fireplace
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob stove
  • Iron
  • Microwave
  • Mosquito net
  • Nespresso
  • Oven
  • Radio
  • Satellite tv
  • Slippers
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


Each cottage has a fully equipped kitchen with beautiful branded crockery and all you need for culinary preparations - plus dining tables indoors and out. Basic things are provided (washing up liquid, bin bags, salt, pepper) and there are grocery shops and a market 6km away in Aniaos.

However, Villa Pedra's restaurant is superb, so you might wind up eating there every evening (we did!). Decorated in a similarly stunning style to the cottages, with carefully laid tables and a Moroccan-style terrace for aperitifs, meals feel special from the off. Menus are a set 3 courses, daily changing, with an emphasis on seasonal, local ingredients, and Marta's cooking is superb - home cooking with real flair. We loved our traditional salted cod with olives, lamb chops with fresh rosemary, and imaginative light dessrt of oranges and pineapple slices doused in Amaretto, hazelnuts and goji berries.

The ingredients for breakfast are provided by your hosts. In your fridge you'll find butter, milk, Rabaçal cheese, yoghurt and cold cuts; freshly baked bread is delivered in a pretty linen bag every morning. You're also provided with Nespresso pods and homemade jams, as well as oranges for juicing. An extra treat comes in the form of fresh eggs from Villa Pedra's chickens.

Features include:

  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob stove
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Toaster


  • Visit the Roman ruins and museum of Conimbriga, one of Portugal's most fascinating Roman sites
  • Laze in a hammock, doze by the pool and rediscover the joy of doing precious little
  • Visit the nearby Monastery of Lorvão, one of the oldest in Portugal
  • Take a day trip to Serra da Estrela to hike some of the country's most beautiful trails
  • The mysterious village of Piódão is one of Portugal's most beautiful; historic ruins with many windowframes and doors painted blue
  • Visit a couple of vineyards for wine tasting
  • Spend a day on the beach near Figueira da Foz then have dinner in Pombal on your way back to Villa Pedra

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Pilates
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Wildlife
  • Wine tasting


Villa Pedra would be a great place for a family holiday if your kids aren't the sort who expect all entertainment to be laid on. It is a long way from the beach and a drive from restaurants, towns and villages, but a great place to hole up for a week and spend time together - the grounds and aviary are wonderful.

Babies and children are all charged per night (see Rates).

If you booked 2 cottages together, it would be fun to come with another family or the grandparents (you could take the babysitting and cooking in turn).

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

For families with 1 child, book Jasmin or Cerejeira, which have 1 double room and a sofabed. The remaining cottages all have 2 ensuite bedrooms (most have 1 twin and 1 double) and a sofabed, so sleep up to 5. Only Alecrim and Kitchen House have a bathtub, but you can borrow a baby bath if need be.

Baby equipment:

  • High chair
  • Cot (1 per house)
  • Baby bedding
  • Baby bath

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

Children's meals:

Cottages are self-catering and come with food processors, microwaves and all the ingredients you could possibly need for breakfasts. There's an on-site restaurant serving evening meals. You are a bit of a drive from other restaurants and about 6km from the closest market, and will probably eat in most evenings here.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Gardens and a huge lawn for ball games
  • Aviary with Austalorp chickens, Java ducks and Australian parrots
  • Swimming pool with shallow end
  • DVD player and satellite TV

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Roman ruins at Conimbriga
  • Walking and hiking in the hills
  • Coimbra city (20 minutes' drive) has a playpark with all the important Portuguese buildings in miniature for children to play in - Little Portugal

Families Should Know:

Baby monitors won't stretch from the cottages to the restaurant, so families tend to dine early together at 7pm. There are some stone steps in the garden and the pool is unheated and unfenced.


  • Airport: 2 hours
  • Hospital: 5 minutes
Kid Friendly: Almond

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