Peace, privacy & pool views in a rural idyll in the Algarve
In August 2021, our founder and director, Tabitha, went with her family to Casa da Terra in Portugal. This gorgeous three bedroom property in the Algarve is set in 14 acres of rolling countryside with two small lakes. Read on to find out more about Tabitha’s stay.
It will probably come as no surprise, since I run a holiday business, that one of the things I love the most, is to plan holidays for myself and the family. We were due to travel to Portugal last summer, but covid restrictions put paid to that. So we delayed our flights and accommodation to summer 2021, and in spite of there still being some restrictions, headed to Portugal in August for 10 days. There’s no doubt that there is more bureaucracy and form filling involved at the moment for those who want to travel abroad, but if you pick your destination carefully, do your homework, and be methodical about the paperwork you need in advance, then there’s no reason why you can’t allow yourself a trip abroad somewhere.
So for us, our 10 days were spent at the beautiful Casa da Terra in the Algarve, Portugal. We chose to fly into Lisbon airport as the flights happened to be less expensive and suited us better, so we had a 2 hour drive to the house. If you fly to Faro, it’s just a 40 minute drive.
Casa da Terra is a beautifully, fantastically, rural property. It takes a few minutes to reach once you’ve left the main road - we crawled along the bumpy track, past little smallholdings and simple houses, until we came to the end of the line, Casa da Terra. And wow, the views from this place are absolutely breathtaking. Miles upon miles of countryside, with the odd white farm building dotted across the landscape. The peace and simplicity of the place is all consuming.
The house is set in 14 acres of private land, but to be honest, it’s hard to tell where one person’s land stops and a new one starts. There’s a gentle, unspoken rule in rural Portugal that you can walk where you like, providing you always stay a good distance from any other residences. One morning the children disappeared to find one of the small lakes on the property, and came back with a few scratches but looking very pleased with themselves (and quite thirsty, as they had forgotten to take water!). There’s no doubt that there is space to roam here, and if you are enthusiastic hikers, masses of opportunities for exploration. One late afternoon we wound our way through the undergrowth and up a hill to the other side where there’s a derelict farm building, and from where you can look out across the landscape, and back to Casa da Terra.
Inside, the house is spacious, the rooms are big, and there are three bedrooms. With the wooden shutters on the windows and the fireplace in the living room, this place could be a fabulous winter bolthole, as well as being perfect for summer holidays. But really, the magic lies outside. A huge terrace with table and chairs, as well as sofa seating and loungers. Down some steps is the pool set in smart decking, surrounded by more loungers, and with simply astonishing views all around. It was extremely hot when we went in August. Even for Portugal, which is hot in August anyway! So the crystal clear blue pool with its amazing views were just the ticket and we spent much of our time in it.
The town of Messines where there’s a supermarket is only a 10 minute drive, there are lots of good restaurants in the vicinity, and the coast is only 30 minutes away. To be honest, dragging ourselves away from the pool and its views were a bit of a struggle but when you do, you can be rewarded with authentic local dishes (there’s lots of Wild Boar on the menu in the local eateries) and friendly locals. If you’re after more activity, then the coastline is dotted with busy resorts, places to go, and things to do.
But if you’re in search of peace and quiet, and an opportunity to switch off from the outside world, then this is the place to do it. I sat each evening watching the swallows dip and dive in the sky, as the sun went down. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Written by Tabitha Symonds. The house and pool have panoramic views of the mountains. Although wonderfully secluded, it's just 10 minutes from the shops, 30 minutes from the beach and 40 minutes from Faro airport. Self sufficient and eco friendly, this is a place to really get away from it all; a superb Portuguese retreat. From £125 per night.