The perfect place for a family or group of friends who like their own space. Both houses are unique and complement each other - one represents quiet antiquity, with thick stone walls and a shaded pergola running along the front, whilst the other is tastefully modern, with fabulous views and high sloping pine ceilings - with bi-fold doors opening onto a large salt-water pool, with panoramic views all around.
Quinta da Tapada is a working vineyard, producing red and white wine. It rents out a large tastefully decorated apartment on its ground floor with the beautiful Pool House a minute's walk away, down a short flight of steps.
The apartment has 3 bedrooms (2 double bedrooms and one twin bedroom) and 2 bathrooms, a large sitting room/kitchen and a patio next to the BBQ. Gardens, planted with orange and lemon trees, all around.
Recently the old wine house has been converted into a stunning exercise/party room, with central heating and magical lighting. This is free for guests to use - for yoga, wine tastings, Pilates, Zumba etc.
The apartment's kitchen has been modernized to have an attractive island, with induction hob and cooker below. It's a great place to cook - chatting to your friends in the dining/living area.
Outside the door is a large patio area, with a BBQ to the side. The main garden is in front, with cedar, plum and orange trees.
The Pool House has a double bedroom (Queen size bed), a twin bedroom and 2 bathrooms (one next to the bedrooms and one on a terrace near the pool), with a fully equipped kitchen/living room and a dining and sitting area with a wall-mounted TV on the veranda, and bi-fold doors leading out to the lawn, pool and BBQ.
Both houses have a wood burner and central heating. They also both have satellite TV, showing all the English channels, and they both come with DVD players and HIFi systems.
All 4 bathrooms have showers and are beautifully decorated.
Both kitchens are like home from home - with a washing machine, dishwasher, cooker, microwave, fridge-freezer, a large selection of plates, cutlery, cups, glasses and cooking utensils.
Guests arrive to a welcoming hamper and are treated to wine from the farm. They are also able to help themselves to whatever fruit is in season - oranges, lemons, kiwis in the winter and plums in the summer.
The owners have a small number of hens and guests are offered free-range eggs - when the hens are laying...
Towels are provided for inside and for the pool. Sheets are changed weekly.
The two houses complement each other - the farmhouse apartment is spacious and full of character, with granite stone walls - traditional in the Minho area.
The Pool House is also of stone but the front has bi-fold doors to take advantage of the view, spectacular by day and by night (the pool is illuminated).
Both houses have internet and their own BBQs.
The pool, complete with solar shower, is maintained by the owners, who live at the farmhouse, enjoying their own entrance at the back of the house. They are discreetly on hand should guests need any advice about where to go, what local festivals are happening etc.
A table-tennis table is along the front of the farmhouse and there are swings for children in the garden, with an overhead pergola, planted with vines.
Behind the house are woodland walks to Sameiro and Bom Jesus (with beautiful gardens, fountains and walks). Braga is 15 minutes drive away and GuimarÃ£es is 20 minutes away. Another excellent walk is around CitÃ¢nia de Briteiros, an Iron Age settlement near the house. And, it's possible to walk along part of the Santiago de Compostela trail, 5 minutes from the house.
Virginia offers woodland walks at a small extra cost - this is for all levels and includes walks from Sameiro to Bom Jesus, around CitÃ¢nia (the Iron Age Settlement), the Santiago de Compostela trail (a small part of it) and a beautiful walk from the house to Braga - all off-road and stopping to admire the cork trees and the scenery. Where possible, a cafÃ© stop will be part of the outing!
Another possibility offered by Virginia is a wine tasting event, held in the newly converted wine house, the 'adega'. Guests can savour Portuguese wines from north to south of Portugal or focus on the wines of the Minho area, Vinho Verde - most are white but some are red. Guests are of course able to organise this for themselves, buying in the wines from the local supermarket - and can use the old Wine House for this.
The spa town of Taipas is 5 minutes way - with spa treatments of every kind on offer (pool, sauna, Turkish bath, Vichy massage, hot stone massage, chocolate massage, facials etc ).
Near GuimarÃ£es it's possible to hire bikes and cycle along an ex-railway line (30 km there and back) which is now an eco cycle path - it goes as far as Fafe. There is another excellent cycling track from Ponte de Lima to Arcos de Valdevez - following the river.
Back to the house - the baker comes to the house every morning and guests can get Sr. Manuel to choose an assortment of bread for them. He leaves it in a bag on the gate. And the fish monger passes in his van every Tuesday and Thursday - a good excuse for a BBQ.
The beaches at Esposende and ApÃºlia are 30 minutes away. ApÃºlia is famous for its fish restaurants.
2 minutes away from the house is a restaurant, with excellent Portuguese cuisine and at reasonable prices. There is a selection of restaurants near the house, not to mention cafes....
The surrounding villages have a rustic market one day a week, selling fruit and vegetables, pottery, cheeses, hams and olives! Market day for Taipas is Monday, Braga is Tuesday, Barcelos is Thursday, GuimarÃ£es is Friday.
As there are two houses with two excellent kitchens, each with an induction hob and electric cooker - it might be an idea for those who like to cook to organise a mini Master Chef competition - see which group can make the best meal out of ingredients bought at the local market? And Virginia is happy to be part of the judging panel!
Before coming, Virginia sends guests an updated list of 'Things to see and do in the area' - there is something for everyone, but most people are very happy just sitting outside, watching the view, reading a novel and enjoying a glass of vinho verde or a cup of tea - to the chimes of the church bells.Get the full listing »