Having tried Southern Portugal many years ago & been distinctly underwhelmed we decided to focus north of Porto. It was a leap of faith & proved to be the most enjoyable family holiday weve had in foreign climes. The pictures & description of the villa on Villarenters do not do it justice, the villa is stunning & is not just a rental property but is used by the owners whenever the opportunity arises,.The interior decor is very tasteful & restful, & the fixtures & fittings are top rate & made our stay at the villa a true home from home.
Upon arrival we were greeted by the owner who gave us a tour of the villa & its facilities (including a spectacular glassed mezzanine area containing all you could require for a home cinema/entertainment relaxation area for the occasional night in - take a few of your favourite films on DVD/music CDs & enjoy them in surround sound)
the kitchen is beautifully appointed & finished with a handy central island breakfast bar with a large formal dining table within the downstairs lounge/dining area & , of course, a large wooden outdoor table for those al fresco meals cooked on the BBQ.....
The property has electric blinds to all rear & side windows & large patio doors off the dining/lounge area into the garden. The garden is laid mainly to lawn & is well tended by the owner himself. To the front of the property is further lawn with a large 10 x 5 metre swimming pool (unheated, but the perfect temperature to counter the sizzling sun we encountered throughout our stay). The property has a burglar alarm, is walled around its perimeter & has an electric gate & videophone entry system also.
Back inside, the master bedroom has a large exceedingly comfortable bed - supportively firm & not soft , with en-suite facilities Including a very generously proportioned walk in shower with the added bonus of being able to switch to massage jets for a brisk wash down! The fittings are very high quality & include a his & hers washbasin. There is ample wardrobe, cupboard & drawer space with ample hangers. There is a single door leading to the grassed area at the rear of the property, this door also has a useful tilt facility enabling it to be left ajar at night for those seeking fresh air without compromising security. (there is no air conditioning at the villa but this was not an issue throughout our stay as the villa remained cool & also this area of Portugal had the added benefit of a breeze.)
The other double bedroom is smaller, but still large enough & well appointed & also with the same handy tilt adjustable door onto the rear grassed area. This room & the large twin bedded room use the main bathroom off of the landing area (the bedrooms are only a few stairs higher than the remainder of the property), this has a bath & a powerful shower over it with a glass splash surround, a bidet & the usual sanitary ware you would expect, all of excellent quality.
The twin bedded room is well appointed & has a small television for those so inclined. There is a large window with its aspect to the side of the villa.
The villa is surrounded on two sides by pine trees, a relatively quiet granite sett residential road to the front & by a mirror image villa to its left & is set in a quiet residential road & is a mere 2-3 minute walk to the widest, sandiest & cleanest beach you could hope to encounter.
The owner took us in his own car for a tour of the surrounding villages/towns & in excellent English pointed out useful local amenities, shops, restaurants etc... It was unexpected & the first time we have encountered such an act from an owner, but exceedingly helpful &was typical of the owner & his family who were generous & welcoming throughout our stay.
You may hear what sounds like an air raid siren, do not evacuate the building as its only the sound used to guide the local fishing boats back to safety on misty mornings...... (do go to the local town, Apulia, & watch the boats return, Ill say no more but prepare to be entertained.......!)... We used the local market there too late in our holiday - We got stuck in the supermarket rut ! - & realised its all locally grown produce fresh from the fields & knocked spots off of anything wed tried before...... The butcher in the village is fabulous too... They & indeed every local we encountered ,couldnt be more helpful, in spite of our almost total ignorance of the language (do yourself a favour & learn some rudimentary Portuguese it is something we should have done & regretted not doing....)
Aside from relaxing at the villa & using the local beach we did venture out & about & can recommend Guimaraes (European City of Culture), Porto (six bridge boat tour & walk along the river), Viana Do Castelo (good shopping centre for those frustrated shopaholics...), Povoa De Varzim (Beautiful large town with an amazing underground car park that goes on , seemingly, forever with many buildings with tiled frontages in the classic regional manner) , Barcelos (one of the largest outdoor markets in the whole of Europe - Thursdays - a feast to the senses also has lovely shops/streets to walk through), Esposende (interesting town to walk about with a beautiful wide promenade to enjoy a welcome coffee break.....) & other places besides... Its your holiday & youll find as much or as little as you want to do & all the time youll be surrounded by wonderful culture & tradition & the nicest people youll ever wish to meet.
Well return in a heartbeat...... & having returned to England just this morning are already missing it too much......