At a country house hotel in Portugal, expect nonstop pampering and plenty of activities offered for the whole family. These resorts provide exciting opportunity year round, from horseback riding, sailing, to diving or skiing. Discover the stunning and varied countrysides of Portugal, or beeline it to the famous Algarve Coast. If you need some alone time, treat yourself to a dip in the pool, a trip to the bar, or a few hours in the spa while the kids are entertained by friendly hosts.
Where to stay at a country house hotel in Portugal? Portugal’s favorite places at a glance:
The Douro Valley: Portugal’s wine country
© Quinta do Fontelo The Douro Valley is lined with quintas estates, sprawling vineyards, and an old-fashioned Portuguese charm. Stretching from Porto into northwestern Portugal along the Douro River, the land is green-striped with cultivation and the scenery is reminiscent of a bygone era, littered with ruins and unspoiled natural beauty. The home of Port wine, this UNESCO-listed wine country is best explored slowly; take your time by boat, bike, or foot to fully experience all the lushness and the traditional flair the area has to offer. The country house hotels in the Douro Valley sit gently on massive grounds, filled with intricate gardens, vine-roofed patios, and provide plenty of opportunity for a family-oriented stay or a wellness holiday, spent lavishing all day in the spa facilities. Let the kids jet off on a bike ride through the countryside with the hotel hosts, while you take a few laps in the pool or go for a guided tour of the wine cellar. Many of the quintas offer kayaks to rent and the old steam train that runs from Porto to Spain takes you through tunnels and bridges as you soak up vistas over the magical countryside.
The Algarve & the Islands: Beachy oases
© Casa Velha do Palheiro If you simply can’t stay away from the sea on your country holiday, Portugal’s famous Algarve Coast and islands provide a happy medium between rural and coastal. Some of the country house hotels down on the southern coast are walking distance from the beach, have onsite golf courses, and are all wonderfully incorporated into both the landscape and the spirit of the region of which they inhabit. The Algarve is ripe for water sports: try paddle-boarding into caves along the cliffy coasts or diving into the colorful underwater world at the confluence of the Atlantic and Mediterranean Oceans. Portugal’s Algarve is about relaxation and recreation; make sure to check out the famous Praia da Rocha beach, Side & Splash Water Park, and the historic center of Lagos. Those seeking a romantic getaway or planning their honeymoon can get excited about fun beach bars, excellent and traditional in-hotel cuisine, and as many spectacular sunsets over blue-green water as there are nights booked. From the Algarve, it’s a straight shot into the ocean to reach the islands of Madeira or São Miguel. Madeira is proud home to some of the world’s best year-round weather and winding paths along canals that are primed for hiking. São Miguel is known as the “Green Island” and the country house hotels are in the traditional stone-walled style with hard-to-beat views of the surrounding vineyards and island landscapes. You can also find a large collection of thermal baths on the islands.
Central Portugal: Dynamic landscapes
© Quinta do Barrieiro Central Portugal houses the most dynamic of Portugal’s landscapes: from bustling Lisbon to deep in the hills of the Alentejo. On the Atlantic Coast, find record-breaking surfing waves and the Berlengas Archipelago, a set of uninhabited islands just off the coast. Hop a ferry to these rocky landscapes, riddled with caves and ruined forts. At a palace-like hotel perched in the Sintra Mountains near Lisbon, soak up the fusion of old and new in grandiose rooms that cater to all the senses. Just north of Lisbon near the coast, Óbidos is considered to be the most well-perserved of the country’s ancient towns, surrounded by medieval walls and filled with bustling cafes serving petiscos, Portuguese tapas—a must-visit to get a sense of the always-present local spirit. A family vacation in Central Portugal consists of sightseeing, biking through the countryside, and wasting afternoons on the hotel terrace, playing cards and snacking on fresh fruit. In the Centro wine country and farmland, country house hotels pride themselves on supporting a connection with nature; placing you within isolated locations equipped with sky-lights, onsite lakes, and extensive vineyards. A stay in one of these spots is best spent there, cooped up with a glass of fine wine and the people you love.