3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. Sitting/dining room/ kitchen. Shared pool. Wifi. Garden
Virginia Henry Martins
- english, french, spanish, portuguese
About Virginia Henry Martins
I've been living in Portugal since 1999. I've always enjoyed travelling and I like walking, aqua aerobics, pilates, cinema, good food and wine, holidays..... I speak English, Portuguese, French and Spanish (Admittedly my Spanish is getting rusty as I don't use it much!). My husband is Portuguese and we have three children. I love living here as the climate is lovely and the cafes are fantastic - a huge range of cakes, good coffee and at very reasonable prices. If anything in particular interests you - just ask me. I'm happy to put together a little itinerary for you.
Virginia Henry Martins purchased this House in 2000
Why Virginia Henry Martins chose Guimarães
It's well located, has great views, is very peaceful and is in between Braga and Guimarães. We restored it from nothing and so if we don't like what we've created it's our own fault! The view cannot be criticized, looking out over the trees and mountains. I love hearing the sounds of nature all around - birds, frogs, owls, roosters and crickets in the summer. I also like to be far from the madding crowd, but not so far I feel cut off! Down the road in Longos there is an excellent restaurant which is so reasonable in price it's cheaper than cooking at home - so I don't have to feel eating out is a big treat. We're near the town of Caldas das Taipas - it's pretty, has everything and more - about 20 cafés, 10 restaurants, a Monday market, banks, pharmacies, including swimming pools, a spa, an amazing tea shop that has lemon meringue pie and cheesecake and about 100 varieties of tea. When we first saw this house my husband and I knew immediately it was the place for us - in the right location, stunning scenery around and a few but not too many neighbours! The forest is behind the house which is lovely for walks, no matter what season. We never intend to move as nowhere else would tick all the boxes like this place. We built a swimming pool and annexe in 2017 - it was a lengthy project but thankfully now it's over. So, the Pool House has the pool right up next to it but the apartment is more spacious, cooler in the summer, just 2 minutes from the pool and has the feel of a farmhouse, with thick granite walls and wooden doors and windows - the living room and Green bedroom doors opening onto patio areas. Large groups can of course rent both houses - both listed with HomeAway (for 10 people), No. 8668912 There is so much to do in the area and restaurants galore so we're never bored here. The motorway system in Portugal is great - so in no time you can be in the Douro or at the seaside - and back in time for afternoon tea, listening to the church bells in the garden.
What makes this House unique
Well located! There is lots going on here - walks, gardens, churches, a spa . This is a great place to enjoy Portugal and is also good to just sit back and do nothing. It's ideal for nature lovers - with walks behind the house. It's very safe for children - being walled in. There's a local taxi driver who is happy to drive guests to/from restaurants so the usual driver can have a break from driving and enjoy a glass of wine when out. As we live at the property (our entrance is to the side), if there is a problem with the TV or the Wifi we are here to sort it out immediately.. In the space of 10 minutes you can see 4 churches - Santa Cruz, Santa Marta, Sameiro and Bom Jesus. You don't have to be interested in churches to be able to enjoy the views and the twinkling lights of Braga below. Or, pop in to the cafe and enjoy a coffee and 'pastel de nata'. The house is very comfortable with electric central heating (and yes, we have solar panels) and a wood burner - the rooms are all large, as are the 2 bathrooms. The kitchen is a pleasant place to spend time, with an island so you can chat while you cook and even watch TV if you creek your neck a little around the corner. The apartment does come with the pool but it is a shared pool and the times are limited for those renting the apartment, from 11am-6pm. This is because the Pool House is next to the pool and it seems fair to let the PH guests have a bit of time to themselves in the morning and from dinner time. Pilates and aqua aerobics are additional bonuses if you come here - all included in the overall price, but it is necessary to have a minimum of 8 students (a selection of guests from both houses!). The apartment is perfect for 6, the Pool House for 4 and the two together can accommodate 10. Both houses are totally self-sufficient, down to their own BBQs, gardens and patios areas. What is shared is the swing for children. Through shared facilities (Aqua, Pilates, Pool) it is possible to make new friends.
Check-in: 4:00 PM
Check-out: 11:00 AM
Within reason! Discuss with the owners in advance!
Smoking is allowed outside.
Max guests:6 (sleeps up to 6 adults)
Guests in the apartment can use the pool from 11am-6pm. Guests must clean the BBQ after use. Guests must do their own recycling.
100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date. 50% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date.
Hillside country home
We prize this particular stay as one of the best HomeAway stays ever. Wonderful, friendly, welcoming hosts. Beautiful pool, pastoral setting, close to points of interest. Very, very comfortable. Lots of happy assistance from hosts as needed.
Great place, very helpful hostess
It is a lovely building on the slopes overlooking the valley so has great views. Virginia is very helpful providing us with some nice bits and pieces for when we arrived. All the rooms are a good size and the kitchen is well equipped. The showers work well, sometimes we had to give the water some time to get hot. The sitting room is very comfortable but we spent most of the time sitting outside. It is a short drive to Braga and about 20 minutes to Guimaraes, which is a very nice town. We would definitely go again.
Many thanks for this lovely review.
I always buy in some food/coffee/tea/wine for guests' arrival - I hate the idea of people having to drop off their bags and then go shopping. They're already tired enough after a day of travelling.
It does take a few minutes for the water to heat up in the morning - the plumber just tells me it's because the house is so big, and the water has to travel quite far along the pipes to get from the outside boiler to the 6 bathrooms. So, time to brush teeth, splash face and by then the shower should be hot enough. We have plenty of water - from 2 underground water mines.
Braga is close by and Guimarães is not far either - so I feel we're well located, in between the two cities. We're also very near Taipas - which is a very pleasant little town, with a market on Mondays. Longos itself is just down the road - it has a small supermarket, 4 cafés and a hairdresser's.
I'm very happy you enjoyed yourselves here - if you were to come back I'm sure I could suggest other places you could go visit!
Wunderschön gelegenes Weingut in den Bergen
Wir haben Anfang Oktober zum dritten Mal eine tolle Zeit auf dem Weingut der Familie Martins verbracht. Uns begeistert immer wieder das Ambiente und vor allem die Gastfreundschaft der portugiesisch-nordirischen Gastgeberfamilie!
Die Wohnung ist sehr gemütlich eingerichtet, super ausgestattet und breitet sich über das gesamte Erdgeschoß des wundervollen Steinhauses aus.
Die Begrüßung durch die Gastgeberin Virginia ist sehr warmherzig. Sie hat viele Ideen für Ausflüge vor Ort und immer ein offenes Ohr.
Unsere Kinder fühlen sich auch immer sehr wohl gefühlt und spielen viel mit den Kindern der Gastgeber-Familie (Dart, Tischtennis, Basketball, Reiten etc.).
Die Gegend um Longos (10 Autominuten von Braga entfernt) eignet sich perfekt für z.B. Wandertouren, Städtetrips nach Braga, Guimaraes oder Porto und Ausflüge in den Naturpark Geres, an den Atlantik oder nach Spanien. Viel Kultur und viel Entspannung. Hier ist wirklich für jeden was dabei! :-)
Danke nochmal an Virginia und ihre Familie für den "perfect stay". See you soon again! :-))
Many thanks and I hope we do indeed see you soon. You were a joy to have at our home. 😄
We are a German- Russian family of five living in the Silver- Coast region of Portugal. It was not the first time we escaped to the north of the country looking for peace and quiet during the high season, but this apartment has revealed to be absolutely the best choice.
Its location was superb- we were 10 minutes away from Taipas ( a lovely small town with amazing infrastructure including very nice swimming pools that our children really loved to bathe in). It took us just about 20 minutes to reach Guimaraes and Braga, an hour to fabulous Geres and almost the same time to the picturesque Caminha beaches close to the Spanish boarder. The was one reason why we didn't travel as much as we expected: we felt so well at our new home that it was hard to leave it sometimes. Our children kept playing for hours in the green and shadowy garden and we enjoyed the calmness not having to be worried that they might hurt themselves. I should say that the garden area as well as the apartment itself is very safe and children-friendly which is really my priority being a mother of two small children and a baby. The apartment is very spacious with a modern equipped the kitchen that provides everything you might need if you like cooking. We also enjoyed the comfort of our beds due to the orthopedic mattresses and high quality bedding.
However, what really made our stay unforgettable was the hospitality of its hosts. Virginia and Jose were so attentive that we felt welcome and relaxed every moment of the 10 days we stayed at their apartment.
We highly recommend this place and will definitely come back ourselves!
Many thanks indeed for this lovely review. I'm so pleased you enjoyed staying here and also exploring this part of Northern Portugal. There really is so much to see and do here and even though we've lived here for 17 years we're constantly discovering new walks and cycle tracks, amazing restaurants and cafés, different beaches and swimming pools. I do my best to pass on information that I have accumulated over the years to guests
It was wonderful having you here and I do indeed hope you come back.
A great place to stay!
This is a wonderful rental that we highly recommend! We (two parents and three teenagers) spent two weeks in this beautiful farmhouse and had a great time working at the nearby university and exploring the region. The apartment is spacious, very clean, comfortable, and well furnished with everything guests need. The layout works well, allowing for meals and social time in the large kitchen/dining room/living room area and quiet and privacy in the back bedrooms.
The outdoor spaces are a special part of staying at the farmhouse, and we spent as much time as we could outside enjoying the lovely views, meals, coffee, wine, reading, cards, and ping pong. We also hiked and jogged on the trails near the farmhouse, and the teens hiked down the mountain to the local bakery. We looked forward to returning to the property – with its vineyards, fruit trees, and friendly animals – each day.
Virginia has a book for visitors with many suggestions for restaurants, sites, and trips, and she is a great source of ideas for exploring the area. The drive up to the farmhouse takes a time or two to get used to but is well worth it. In addition to experiencing the nearby villages and cities, we made several day trips, including ones to the Douro Valley, Geres (site of a beautiful waterfall), northern Spain, Porto, and coastal towns.
While we had a wonderful time visiting the area and taking in some special local events, we also thoroughly enjoyed our time at the farmhouse relaxing. A highlight of our trip was meeting and getting to know Virginia and her family. They are friendly and gracious hosts. We had a delightful stay and are pleased to give this property the highest rating!
Many thanks for this lovely review. I still have great memories of our trip to the University of Minho to watch the World Skipping Competition - and you are the only family I've met who have managed to go to a church service in the hidden away Santa Cruz Sanctuary - mostly reserved for the monks, nuns and the angels.....
The drive up to the house is initially a bit of a challenge - but as it's "off the beaten track" and the road is actually good it's not a problem at all - I feel as if I'm driving along my own personal avenue. But, admittedly, with 3 children I'm up and down that road about 10 times a day, so I know every bend and curve...so far, with a wing and a prayer, I've survived very happily.
And it was lovely to get to know your family too - it's great we've kept in touch. One day you might find us skipping our way to Texas!
Lovely house, lovely location and lovely host family, splendid views , warm welcome, including an assorted basket of foodie presents. Loads of useful information about places to visit, restaurants to eat etc. Fresh eggs, oranges and kiwis from the orchard every morning. What else can you ask for?. Missing the place already. I will definitely go back.
We're really delighted you enjoyed your stay with us, and hope you'll come back one day.
Can't guarantee eggs every day as we're at the mercy of our 2 chickens - must buy a few more!
Breathtaking views over the hills and mountains. Surrounded by woodland walks. Wake up to the sound of nature and breathe in the scent of eucalyptus.
Begin the day with freshly squeezed orange juice and fresh eggs from the farm.
Go for a walk through the forest, ending up at Sameiro or Bom Jesus.
For those who like a spot of exercise before breakfast - Pilates can be arranged, with the teacher coming to the house - at an extra cost of 25€ for the session. It is a nice way to begin the day - Namaste!
Pop down to Café Europa in the village of Longos for hot bread, rollls and croissants. Bar da Igreja is the perfect stop for lunch - try the local cuisine.
Caldas das Taipas is 5 minutes away with a colourful Monday market and lots of cafes, restaurants, a thermal spa and 2 good supermarkets.
There are also 2 outdoor public swimming pools and a nice park in Taipas, with a playground for children.
The house is set in the country but only 20 minutes from the beautiful historic towns of Braga and Guimarães.
The nearest beach, Esposende, is only 35 minutes away and Geres national park is also close at hand.
For those interested in our past, the Celtic settlement of Citânia de Briteiros is only 10 minutes away.
Golf: There are excellent ( and beautiful) golf courses at Ponte de Lima - 40 minutes drive away and at Esposende, 30 minutes drive away.
The area is full of beautiful chuches and monasteries, such as the São Martinho de Tibães Monastery. And Sameiro and Bom Jesus (World Heritage site as of 2019) are within walking distance of the house!
Braga and Guimarães are brimming with culture and hold many festivals throughout the year.
The region has many restaurants, cafés and teashops, all reasonably priced.
The house is well located - near Braga, Guimarães, Porto, Ponte de Lima, Viana do Castelo, Aveiro and even the Douro is only a 2 hour drive away.
Guests can ask Virginia what she recommends for their holiday, depending on their interests - she lives on the floor above the guests, with her husband and 3 children. Her entrance door in at the back of the house and guests have a separate entrance at the side. If there is a problem with the internet or with any electrical appliance it's invaluable having the owners nearby. At the same time mutual privacy is respected.
Before guests come Virginia sends them a list of 'things to see and do in the area' - this saves doing much homework in advance. Virginia also sends them directions how to find the house.
For those who really don't like driving on the right hand side of the road - there is the GetBus (shuttle bus) from Porto airport to Braga and from there a taxi to the house. Virginia can ask her neighbour who is a taxi driver. Braga bus station is only 15 minutes from the house. There is a fish monger and baker passing the house in their vans almost every day - so guests could phone them (or ask Virginia to phone for them) and choose what sort of fish they feel like barbecuing later that day. Virginia is a viticulturist and makes red and white vinho verde, so can give you a bottle of wine to accompany your meal.
If you're feeling very healthy - why not hire electric bikes from Guimarães to Fafe and cycle along the old disused railway line. It's quite a stunning ride, about 30km there and back - with a cute railway station serving coffee and cold drinks at the half way point.
And, on the health front - there's always the Taipas health spa, offering massages, Vichy showers, a hot thermal swimming pool with sauna and jacuzzi - all at a reasonahle price.