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enter description This is an area for individualists. If you cannot bear to be more than two metres from another tourist, if you enjoy lager louts, noisy bars, tacky shops, rip-off restaurants, burger gases, traffic jams and impossible parking, then this is not for you.
But why be stampeded into an overcrowded, overpriced tourist ghetto? Instead, treat yourself to a dreamy slice of a watery Eden, Europe's 'forgotten' paradise. Look around you and you might find it hard to believe you are in Europe, never mind just a two-hour flight from grey skies and rain-soaked streets. Try wild swimming in the tree-lined river. We have a 200-mtr stretch of calm water, about 1.3 mtrs deep, not as warm as the pool but still very pleasant, and full of little fish. If you stay still they will come and nibble at your skin – a recognised spa therapy! You might spot a kingfisher or even an otter while swimming downstream to the river bar (open May – Oct),
The villa has just been stylishly restored without cutting corners, to make a roomy home of uncommon charm and elegance. Hot water from solar panels. Oil-fired or wood-stove central heating and double glazing throughout.
On the ground floor are a walk-in shower room; utility room with washing machine; big sitting room with wood-burning stove (linked to the central heating), 43" SMART TV, and a glazed door with characteristic small veranda and railings, overlooking the kitchen garden and river; a large, modern fitted kitchen and dining area, with door to part-covered veranda overlooking the pool, garden and river. On this large west-facing veranda are a wooden dining table and quality lounge furniture for the outdoor life which is so much part of the holiday. Steps lead down to the pool and garden.
A wooden staircase leads up to the first floor, where there are three double bedrooms, each with private veranda and en-suite bathroom with walk-in shower. The huge double-aspect (pool and river) master bedroom has a seating area and full-size tub in the bathroom, as well as the walk-in shower. Take a lazy breakfast in the room or on its veranda, or just lounge with a good book and barely a sound, except, perhaps, for the sighing trees and the children’s shrieks of laughter from the river below.
(Note that during the course of a normal summer, on maybe three occasions groups gather in the daytime only for a picnic on the other side of the river. This will inevitably break the usual peace, perhaps for a few hours.)
In the private riverside garden is an exceptionally pretty swimming pool (c 9 x 4 mtrs water area) with lounge shelf and large terrace around it. This catches a lot of sun and its lining is very high quality, with the warming sensation of cork on the feet.
A separate walled riverside garden has aromatic fruit trees and herbs for the kitchen. Guests can also help themselves to lemons and oranges, when in fruit.
From this garden a short path leads down to a small sandy beach - exclusively yours - from where you can swim in the normally clear and warm waters, or take a kayak downstream to the river bar or upstream to the cascades and rock pools.
It is a simple delight to walk to the river bar (takes about five minutes) and maybe take a leisurely coffee at the water's edge in lovely surroundings. Of course you could also row or even swim there! This river bar also serves snacks all day. Close by is a simple children's paddling pool and a diving board into the only deep part of the river.
The town of Lousã, which has several supermarkets, restaurants and one of Portugal's best beauty spots (at Arouce Castle), is less than 10 mins by car, in the Serra da Lousã. The medieval university city of Coimbra is barely half an hour. Also within easy reach are the vast golden beaches of the Silver Coast, gorgeous mountain scenery, warm rivers and lakes (far warmer and safer than the ocean).
British / Belgian owners
PLEASE NOTE: We have another, well established villa nearby. They are screened off for mutual privacy, but we politely ask guests not to play loud music in the pool and garden areas, especially at unsocial hours.
OTHER THINGS TO DO
*Kayaks on the river;
*Lovely walks and drives through the hills and the 'lost' mountain villages;
*'Portugal Pequinitos' - a fantasy model village with Portugal's great buildings in miniature, but still large enough to walk through, plus humbler houses accessible only to children;
*Conimbriga - the ancient Roman capital with some of the best mosaics in Europe;
* World Heritage Tomar, a lovely old town with Knights Templar castle and convent;
*The vast golden beaches at Figueira da Foz, the west coast's largest seaside resort.
*Open-air zoo plus farm zoo;
*Gondola rides on the canals of Aveiro;
*The Holy Shrine at Fatima and nearby beautifully lit caves;
*The medieval university city of Coimbra with its big shopping malls;
*Tree adventure park;
*Strange limestone caves at Casmilo;
*Nazaré seaside resort with celebrated seafood restaurant and cable car to 'hidden' town above.
The infrastructure is excellent, English widely spoken and restaurants amazingly cheap. This is the real Portugal, not a tourist ghetto rip-off.
NOTE THAT DESPITE THE WATERY LOCATION, MOSQUITOS ARE NOT A SPECIAL PROBLEM (though of course we do get them). IN FACT THE ISLAND SEEMS TO BE LESS TROUBLED BY FLYING INSECTS THAN PROPERTIES WELL AWAY FROM WATER.
Tourism licence nº 63970/AL