In a remote part of the Portuguese countryside, just a kilometer from the coast, Uva do Monte is a pinkwashed guesthouse packed with rustic charm.
The only thing within walking distance is the wide Aberta Nova beach, bordered by wildflower meadows and cork trees on one side and arguably Europe’s best surf on the other.
While everyone and their Instagram following seems to be in Lisbon filling up on pastéis de nata and wandering cobbled alleyways before heading south to the Algarve to catch some sun, the 100 kilometers of protected Alentejo coastline between Portugal’s two hot spots remains largely unexplored. This might have something to do with the region’s perceived inaccessibility: you need a car to get there and around, and with accommodation options limited by strict regulations that prevent new developments on the beach, you also may need some help finding where to stay.
Previously, visitors to the stunning string of beaches just an hour south of Lisbon—Comporta, Brejo Da Carregueira, Carvalhal, Aberta Nova, and Melides—tended to be well-off Europeans visiting their summer villas, surfers in the know shacking up with local families, or cyclists stopping at campgrounds dotted along their route. But in 2013, the four D’Eça Leal brothers of boutique hospitality group Independente Collective reopened an old blueberry farm as Uva do Monte, creating a new destination for slow and simple comfort
Each of the 12 bedrooms looks like a 20th-century storybook brought to life: floral sheets on wrought-iron bed frames, religious paintings and old photos framed on the wall, and solid wood furnishings with artfully peeling paint. But the property is modern where it matters, with high-speed Wi-Fi in the communal areas and power rain showers in the bathrooms. A gorgeous breakfast buffet of local cheeses, meats, and breads is served in a large stone-walled barn, and evening drinks are enjoyed around a fire pit.
While the friendly on-site manager, Jose, will happily draw you a map highlighting the area’s best beaches (in case you get bored of Aberta Nova) and tiny towns worth exploring in short driving distance, there’s plenty of pleasure to be found within the guest house grounds. Lay out by the pool, pick strawberries in the fields, curl up in one of the two pink-accented living rooms with a book, or meet fellow travelers over a glass of wine from the Vinho Verde region of Portugal in the honesty bar. For lunch, Jose will whip up a delicious gourmet pizza; for dinner, pack some fixings from the kitchen for a sunset picnic on the beach or take a cab to Sal’s for some of the area’s best seafood.
With rooms starting at $85 a night, there’s no reason not to switch off for a few days at Uva do Monte.