Touring through Portugal: Part II

The crater lake Lagoa do Fogo:
Crater lake: Lagoa do Fogo

At the end of our previous post we left you in Lisbon, having taken you on a virtual zigzag journey down from the north of Portugal, highlighting some superb boutique places to stay along the way when we’re able to travel again that is. Continuing with our armchair tour, we’ve got plenty more quality places to stay in Portugal to whet your appetite…

Make a choice as you leave the capital: head westwards half an hour towards the coast and spend a few nights chilling at Engy Estoril – less than 10 minutes from Cascais, these design apartments are charming yet fun. Which wallpaper will be your favourite?

Places to stay in Portugal: a bedroom with funky wallpaper at Engy Estoril-
Funky interiors at Engy Estoril

Positioned close to Tamariz beach, the 5 apartments are totally independent and private, but benefit from the services of a boutique hotel.

Or go eastwards for 2 hours to São Lourenço do Barrocal, a winery and unique boutique find. Nestled in the foothills of medieval Monsaraz near Alqueva Lake, this understated hotel is surrounded by ancient oaks, olive groves and vineyards, and covers a whopping 7.8 million square metres.

Places to stay in Portugal: a chic bedroom at Sao Lourenco do Barrocal
Chic central: Sao Lourenco do Barrocal

Across the sizeable estate sit 22 spacious rooms, 2 suites, and 16 cottages, with interiors kitted out by designers Anahory Almeida. The backdrop may be rural, but inside, the decor is contemporary and evokes a soothing, relaxed atmosphere.

Further south, 15 minutes from the sea and the port of Sines, Santiago Hotel Cooking & Nature is a stylish place to spend a few days, particularly if you’re a foodie – the culinary experiences on offer range from cooking lessons and visits to the market to picking herbs and vegetables from the kitchen garden.

The stylish dining room and open kitchen at Santiago Hotel Cooking & Nature
Stylish dining at Santiago Hotel Cooking & Nature

Accomodation-wise, it’s fresh and modern all the way: whites and blues decorate the bedrooms, basketry adorns the walls, and the bathrooms feature glass and marble.

And now it’s time to head down to the famous Algarve; less than a 2-hour drive away, it’s the land of Atlantic beaches, pretty fishing towns, and golf courses. Not to mention a temperate climate.

A bedroom with soothing tones at Vila Monte Farm House
Soothing tones at Vila Monte Farm House

Classic farmhouse Vila Monte is well-positioned 30 minutes from Faro and has been transformed into a boutique hideaway. A restful place to holiday, be greeted by calming rooms and choose from two restaurants – Laranjal and À Terra – and a pair of swimming pools.

For a super luxe experience, choose one of the suites housed in the Casa de Cima buildings: adult-only (just this part, not the whole property), some have terraces and plunge pools, others private gardens.

Further eastwards sits Praia Verde Boutique Hotel, another top choice that’s close to the beach too. Surrounded by lush pine forests with glorious sea views, the bedrooms are bright, airy and contemporary.

Places to stay in Portugal: the inviting pool at Praia Verde Boutique Hotel
The inviting pool at Praia Verde Boutique Hotel

The on-site restaurant dishes up regional delights using ingredients from their own vegetable garden and fish from the Vila Real de Santo António market; there’s a kids club too, making it the ideal setting for a family trip.

We’ve traversed the base of the country; there’s nowhere left to take you – or is there? How about getting off the beaten track and catching a plane to The Azores, the volcanic archipelago in the mid-Atlantic known for dramatic landscapes? Comprised of nine islands, São Miguel is the chief, and though they’re prone to climactic inconsistency, you’re sure to be enchanted.

Places to stay in Portugal: a spacious suite with sea views at the Azor Hotel
Spacious suite with sea views: Azor Hotel

Grab a flight to São Miguel – several airlines fly there these days, including TAP and Ryanair – and use Azor Hotel as your base. Right in the charming capital and harbour town of Ponta Delgada, and 10 minutes from the beach and airport, the stylish property features a spa, swimming pool, gym, casino, restaurant, and rooftop whale watching bar, not to mention spectacular sea views.

Both Batalha and Furnas golf courses are easily reachable by car, as are volcanic lagoon Sete Cidades and crater lake Lagoa do Fogo. Other adventures on offer include canyoning, surfing and hiking (there are about 60 trails).

The welcoming-looking pool at Lounge by the pool at Furnas Boutique Hotel
Lounge by the pool at Furnas Boutique Hotel

Slightly further afield on the east of the isle is Furnas Boutique Hotel, a smart getaway surrounded by outstanding natural beauty in an area famous for its geothermal pools and therapeutic springs. Be sure to make the most of the onsite spa and thermal springs.

The terrace rooms come complete with private outdoor decking and sun loungers; relax out there with a drink or two before making your way to the hotel restaurant, where a woodfire oven and Josper grill are used to prepare local, seasonal plates.

And with that our virtual trip comes to an end. The question is, which places stay in Portugal will you choose when it’s safe to travel once more?

Click here for more places to stay in Portugal and elsewhere…