While many people are familiar with Lisbon, Portugal, a lot of travelers enjoy venturing off the typical tourist track. If you love to discover new places and enjoy the feeling of staying in a home away from home – I have a special treat waiting for you in central Portugal. Villa Pedra Natural Houses remind me of the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun.” However, this story involves several men visiting and falling in love with Aldeia de Cima- Cotas, Portugal, a small village, formerly abandoned, one and a half hours outside of Lisbon.
Villa Pedra Natural Houses near Coimbra
Situated near Coimbra, Portugal, Villa Pedra Natural Houses are like the phoenix rising from the ashes. In fact, one of the owners, Manuel Casal, shows me some of the ancient coins that they discovered on the slopes of Serra do Sicó, while building their natural houses made of limestone block walls. The last inhabitants lived in the area of Aldeia de Cima over 80 years ago. Now home to nearby marble and granite quarries, this area near Coimbra was the ideal location to build Villa Pedra Natural Houses, a unique lodging concept in central Portugal.
Along with a third partner, owners Manuel Casal and Victor Mineiro, decided to build seven natural houses, with plans for seven additional stone houses. “I was in the tourist business for 10 years,” notes Casal. “I wanted a place where people could stay, but not in a “normal” way. You come here and this is your home. We have kitchen gardens for each house.”
Farm to table breakfast at Villa Pedra
With a stocked refrigerator of butter, fresh cheese, local jams, fruit, yogurt and farm-fresh eggs, guests may have breakfast whenever they want in the privacy of their own villa. A fresh loaf of bread, baked locally, is delivered in the morning, to your door. A bottle of local wine, along with fresh cheese and bread is waiting in a basket upon arrival to your natural stone house.
Each natural stone house, named after a tree, is designed by director Victor Mineiro. All houses welcome families or couples. The owners restore and recycle furniture, acquired from their many travels. Of course, the kitchen and beds are new. With Pirelli beds and 100% Portuguese cotton sheets, it is easy to enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Relax at Villa Pedra
With 32 types of orchids on the property and the surrounding area, as well as fruit trees of every kind, guests may enjoy the Villa Pedra grounds or relax at the swimming pool. I will remember my stay at Villa Pedra with a full moon hanging outside my balcony and dinner with my hosts Manuel and Victor.
Our dinner began with chorizo sausage with honey and Porto red wine, followed with creamy vegetable soup, potatoes roasted with fresh herbs, salad from the garden and fish in a cream sauce. The memories of my time in Central Portugal at Villa Pedra Natural Houses will be with me forever.
There is plenty to see and do in Central Portugal
If you enjoy relaxing on holiday, you’ll want to spend time at the swimming pool, take a yoga class or perhaps indulge in a massage.
Villa Pedra requires a two night minimum stay. During my visit to Central Portugal, the cost of the stay at Villa Pedra included one house, one couple, with breakfast for 120 euros. Check the Villa Pedra Natural Houses website for current pricing.
Villa Pedra will soon be opening a restaurant for guests of the natural houses. For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Instagram and Twitter at Nancydbrown.
If You Go:
Villa Pedra Natural Houses 351 910 731 194
Rua do Rechio e Seladas
Aldeia de Cima – Cotas
3130 – 092 Soure, Portugal