Paradise in Portugal
After recently visiting this stunning place in the heart of the Portuguese countryside, Hidden Cultures has decided that this place deserves a special mention.
This time last week, Hidden Cultures went on an expedition to check out somewhere very special. An hour and a half away from Faro in a lovely white village called Santa Clara – a – Velha, nestles a 4km dirt road at the end of which lies the Quinta (which means farm in Portuguese) with the most fantastic view of a freshwater lake. This “hotel”, if you could give it so crude a title, is called Paradise in Portugal. For many comic geniuses (or perhaps DIY enthusiasts), this aptly named establishment may cause people to cry that “It does exactly what it says on the tin”. In my case this ‘joke’ was accompanied by real life crickets.
The property really is a natural haven. 90% of the electricity generated is from solar power. The bedrooms are simple but very comfortable, with 24-hour hot water and tea & coffee making facilities in each room. Down by the lake is an assortment of floating accessories from paddle boards to a canoe that you can take out. There are plenty of shady areas, not disreputable, but rather places where you can unwind, put your feet up, read a book and sip at a nice cool glass of white port. The Quinta is run by the lovely Daniela & Frank. Daniela is a very good cook and seems to concoct, almost casually, an array of delicious 3 course meals. Frank’s skills lie in birding and photography (and storytelling!).
The Quinta is great for two types of people. Birders and people who just want to “get away from it all”. Having never been birding before, a promise from Frank of a trip to see some of our flying feathery friends before we arrived at the Quinta, quite near Faro airport, was met with interest. With a set of binoculars around my neck, the first thing I chose to focus on transpired to be “an easyJet” but after this amateur mistake I was guided by Frank to look at various real species. By the end of the day we’d been told we’d seen over 35 different types of birds and I have to say that it was very enjoyable. The picture at the bottom shows a busy little Kingsfisher (photo cred to Frank for that one).
For those wanting to just shut down and relax, there really is nowhere better. There’s even a very large yoga studio so it is becoming a bit of a retreat haven as well. One of the best things about the Quinta is its isolation and this means there’s a wonderful lack of light pollution. As the sun sets on a clear night, there are many great spots to sit back and watch the stars emerge. It’s incredibly relaxing.
Trying to define the Quinta is probably the most difficult thing to do. After reading this and seeing the picture at the top you will have some idea, but it really isn’t quite the same as visiting. Is it a hotel? Not really. Is it a boutique? Probably not. But it is a Paradise and it’s certainly in Portugal. See you out there.
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