28th January 2013. The beginning of an exciting new year for Hideaway Portugal and its owners of holiday homes, B&Bs and boutique hotels. Recently joined properties include a cork farm estate, cottages above the Mira river and a charming farmhouse near cliffs and beaches.
16th December 2012. We now have 12 self-catering cottages within 5 properties to choose from in the Peneda-Gerês national park. Mountainous, with waterfalls, old-world villages, granite peaks, mossy forests, just over an hour north of Porto.
28th November 2012. Several lovely holiday rental and B&B properties have come online in the last few days. Most are renovated farm estates with rural tourism. All are located on the natural west coast of the Baixo Alentejo and Algarve regions. If you like the outdoors, quiet places, they might be the place for you.
17th November 2012. Heading further south, down the coast is the Baixo Alentejo region, a vast, sparsely populated area of traditional villages, vast farm estates, cork oak and pine-nut plantations, rounded hills and a stunning coastline of cliffs, beaches and fishing settlements. First on our recently-joined Baixo Alentejo properties are two restored farmhouses in a secluded valley by the Mira river. A nature-lover's escape.
14th November 2012. Across the Tagus estuary from Lisbon is the Setúbal Peninsula, with vineyards, small historic towns, cliffs, beaches and the stunning mountains and bays of the Arrábida natural park. A highly recommended area for outdoorsy types wanting a few days outside Lisbon. On our recent stay, we found two delightful places: wooden chalets in a garden setting and a B&B at the water's edge.
11th November 2012. Down the coast from Lisbon is Cascais, akin to Biarritz, with wealthy manor homes, sheltered beaches, marina, fishing wharf. Guincho surf beach and Cabo da Roca nearby. Whilst here, stay at a charming B&B in a classic house, with beautiful gardens.
10th November 2012. Whilst in Lisbon, we stayed in restored city centre buildings, turned into guesthouses, 4 superb properties. Great location between Chiado and Cais do Sodré, walking distance to all the sights. Exceptionally friendly, helpful, enthusiastic staff. Great breakfasts.
7th November 2012. We're into our second week visiting properties in southern Portugal. Starting off in the historic centre of Lisbon, we then covered the Arrábida mountains to the south, followed by the vast cork plantations around Alcácer do Sal and Grândola. Today, we're in Milfontes, on the stunning Alentejo coastline. Check our pages to find the properties we're recommending!
1st November 2012. We've just visited a charming farmhouse, our newest addition in the Leiria province. Built of local limestone, as are all the houses in this quiet village, it exudes country charm. Wooden flooring, old furnishings, stone walls, even an old bread oven. Outside, a stone courtyard with barbeque and annexes, then a bucolic garden and pool on olive grove terraces. Lovely location in hills, by historic Pombal and a short drive to coast and Coimbra.
19th October 2012. Welcome to three eco-designed pine and granite houses, with terraced gardens, infinity pool and tremendous views over the Lima river and Serra Amarela mountains in the Minho region. Old world stone villages and stunning scenery all around. An inspiring country escape.
16th October 2012. Just joined Hideaway Portugal: a river-side Quinta in the Minho region, with two pine chalets based on the regional granary design. Each with kitchenette. Large garden, woodland, stream, crystalline Vez river nearby. Bucolic scenery, a place to unwind. Peneda-Geres national park on your doorstep.
4th October 2012. Just joined Hideaway Portugal: an old Alentejo farm estate with traditional cottages, pool, orange and olive groves, patio under vines. A bucolic country escape, only 4km from historic Évora.
25th September 2012.
Check out our one minute Lisbon video!
24th September 2012.
We're back from an incredible 16 day trip to southern and central Portugal, taking in some wonderful places to include on Hideaway Portugal.
We started and ended in the charming historic centre of Lisbon, using it as a base to explore areas further afield, including the Setúbal Peninsula to the south, as well as western coastal areas (from Guincho beach to Cabo da Roca, Sintra and Azenhas do Mar). In the summer, the Berlenga islands nature reserve in Leiria is open for visitors, so we drove up to the fishing port of Peniche, from where we caught a boat 10km out to sea. The water on the islands is crystal clear- a great area for snorkelling and kayaking below cliffs and through caves. Next, and in complete contrast, we drove inland to the Alto Alentejo region, where we saw the old Roman town of Évora and the medieval hilltop village of Monsaraz, which was hosting its annual saint's festival. Then, heading in a southwesterly direction, we looped back to the stunning and unspoilt coastline of the western Baixo Alentejo and Algarve, a heaven for nature lovers, beach-goers and surfers.
During our trip we visited properties listed on Hideaway Portugal, saw new ones to add and found lots of hidden areas to focus on and recommend. To read about these regions, please click on the links above.
1st August 2012.
Porto is packed full of history. Medieval streets, churches, cathedrals, old squares and Port wine lodges line the Douro riverside. Just downstream is the coast, with the charming Foz district. Ideal as a long weekend break, or in conjunction with a few days in the Douro vineyards, it is a fascinating place to visit. We went there recently ourselves and found some delightful apartments and boutique hotels, right in the historic centre. Check out our Porto pages.
1st July 2012.
We're back from a 3 day trip to the Douro wine region, where we were selecting charming places to stay. Check out our Douro pages to see our recommendations.
21st June 2012.
11th June 2012.
As red poppies and cherries flourished in May, we added lovely holiday homes and country hotels to our website. We're now 40+ and looking forward to adding more special places to our site throughout the summer. Keep looking!
21st April 2012.
Time has flown since our last post, almost a month ago. Spring blossom has come and gone and trees are now laden with young cherries, peaches and almonds. Olive trees are sprouting young leaves and on a hot day they give off a subtle scent of olive oil. The 90 days of winter blue skies and sunshine have given way to April showers, a relief for farmers. Hideaway Portugal is coming on well- we're up to 24 charming holiday homes and guest houses now and adding a couple more each day. In the last couple of weeks we’ve entered new regions: the Azores, Algarve, Lisbon Coast, Mountain Beiras, Baixo Alentejo and Douro wine region, including fantastic places for outdoor enthusiasts and culture vultures. Lots more great places to come- keep following us.
25th March 2012.
Photos from Guimarães, European capital of culture 2012. Located in the Minho region, close to Porto, this historic town is the birthplace of Portugal, being its first capital in 1139.
23rd March 2012.
Today there has been a sudden seasonal shift in the weather. The last couple of months, it has been hovering around a crisp 5ºc first thing in the morning, with pale blue skies and crystal-clear air. This morning, the garden thermometer read 14ºc at 7am and by early afternoon it was 26º, shorts weather. The wind turbine on the hill has been pointing directly south, towards Africa, from where a huge mass of warm dry air has duly arrived. A mackerel sky in the morning turned to hazy conditions by the afternoon, and we thought heavy rains might be on their way. In time with this, all the seedlings are sprouting up and, in the last couple of days, all the oak trees have become covered in young pale green leaves. The pine trees, which form forests on the hillsides, are sending out a fine dust of yellow pollen into the air, which covers everything. Its a couple of days after the Equinox and Summer already seems to be making a push into Portugal.
22nd March 2012.
Following the almond blossoms in late February, peaches and nectarines in early March, now is the turn for white cherry blossoms in the Minho hills. Unlike the inland region of Trás-os-Montes, high on a plateau, where cherries are grown commercially in large orchards, in the Minho, they tend to be found as solitary trees on the edges of fields. Today, I found our neighbours, Dona Isabel and her elderly aunt Dona Maria planting cabbages and potatoes in one of their fields, below their cherry tree. Typical of the Minho, where land is subdivided upon inheritance, Dona Maria has fields scattered all over the valley, and she gets to them on her little tractor and wagon. In the photo, there are also bundles of fibrous leaves. These are shredded into strips and used as string to tie together firewood and crops.
18th March 2012. After three months of blue skies and one of the driest winters on record in the Minho, we had our first couple of days of rain this weekend, with some short heavy downpours. The rain has been welcomed by all, especially the local farmers, who are sowing their crops at the moment. It's incredible how in just a matter of days the hilly Minho landscape is regaining its intense Fuji-green colour. To experience this, we went walking in the Serra d'Arga hills and the Âncora valley, beautiful rural areas typifying the hills and valleys of northwest Portugal. Up in the hills, the landscape in places is quite stark, with huge granite boulders and gorse. Then, there are patches with fertile green terraces and country houses and holiday homes built from granite. When we got down to the lush Âncora valley, we wandered through fields and across brooks, and stopped off in small villages. We saw some beautiful farmhouse-style holiday homes here- all built from layers of dark brown schist rock. We look forward to listing some of these lovely rural holiday homes soon. Refer back to the Minho page to check them out.
8th March 2012. It's a glorious spring day here in the Minho with blue skies and temperatures in the low twenties. The almond and plum trees are in full blossom and local farmers are tilling their small fields to hand-plant potatoes and Galician cabbage. The air is extraordinarily clean and clear, and the hills are becoming covered in a yellow blanket of gorse. Migrating birds are arriving from Africa and we're beginning to see the first butterflies. This is a time of year when you can have a log fire in the evening and ideal temperatures in the day, for walking in the hills or being out in the garden in a T-shirt. Wonderful.