The coast south of Lisbon is an ancestral landscape of cliffs and beaches. Preserved this way thanks to the lack of coastal roads as exist in other disfigured Iberian coasts. To reach each coastal village one has to take the turning off the inland road which takes us to the waves and a plate of mussels. And so, between one coastal village and another, as said, cliffs and beaches since many centuries.
Heredade de Touril is a four hundred hectares cattle farm and a divine plot of land over the Atlantic with its own beach, turned into a singular hotel. So singular, that it has been chosen Best Rural Hotel of Portugal 2011 in the Lisbon tourism fair. Not surprising, since even the storks that usually nest on church steeples and urban roofs, do so on the small marine islets, a spectacular rarity. We would also love to live here. On the outside, Alentejan country architecture, indoors vanguard decoration. Rooms and apartments divide the space, in a main house on one level, and in various houses scattered along a path which leads to the beach. A virgin beach like a post card, which one reaches going down a slope that may scare off the less adventurous. It is rare not to be alone on this cove of light coloured sand. The two different atmospheres of the hotel are, the historic building with rooms which have a rustic decoration and terrace around the pool and the independent houses, with the autonomy given to them by the way they are equipped like apartments, with vanguard decoration.
Here we are all happy, the children looking for shells in the sand or we, who seek a space for quality, peace and quiet. And the fresh breeze from the Atlantic.
The hotel has cross country bicycles for the guests. Water sports in Zambujeira and Vilanova. Vilanovas´ estuary is fantastic to bathe in, because of its clean and slightly warmer waters, and to hire canoes in quiet waters which flow into the Atlantic ocean. Its beaches are virgin and impressive. In the area, horse rental. The walks along footpath over the cliffs are an exercise for mind and body.
Zambujeira do Mar and Vilanova de Milfontes are two delicious villages with one or two storey white washed houses. Its aspect has not changed much in the last decades and has known how to maintain its relaxed and marine atmosphere. We are in the Natural park of the Sudeste Alentejano and Costa Vicentina.
-Azul Alentejano. By Monica Alí. 21 €. Alfaguara editions, 2007
-Viaje a Potugal.(journey to Portugal) by José Saramago. 12€ Puntuo de lectura, 2007.
- Portugal-Blue guide 25€ Gaesa editions, 2009
Heredade do Touril has no restaurants, the proximity to Zambujeira and to Vilnova de Milfontes allows us a great variety of land and sea cuisine. But the hotel offers us sandwiches and simple options for a frugal lunch or dinner.