Beautifully restored large stone farmhouse. Guests arrive in the Winter months to a roaring fire and a hot meal or tea and cakes - depending on the time of day.
The farm is situated in the heart of the countryside, overlooking vines and mountain ranges but only 15 minutes drive to the historic towns of Braga and Guimarães. The village of Longos is a 2 minute drive away, with a small supermarket, various cafes and restaurants.
The 12x6m salt-water pool is a stone's throw from the house. It is surrounded by gardens and fruit trees.
In a bygone era the ground floor of the farmhouse was the 'adega' (wine house) and was also home to pigs and chickens. It is now a modern, tastefully furnished spacious apartment, with all mod cons - a world away from its humble beginnings, however maintaining the rustic charm of its origins. The sitting room has thick granite walls, maintaining the heat in the winter and coolness in the summer. It has a flat-screen TV, a DVD player and various board games for children. The leather sofa seats 6-8 people and the dining room table is also adequate for up to 8 people.
It has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, a large open plan sitting room/kitchen and dining area, with double wooden doors opening onto the patio, shaded by wisteria and jasmine. Just to the side of this is a built-in BBQ.
The kitchen is well equipped with a washing machine, dishwasher, electric cooker set into a modern kitchen island, so guests can cook and chat to the family at the same time. There are various coffee machines, and all the pots and pans, crockery, cutlery, glassware you could wish for.
The bathrooms are large, with everything provided, including bath robes.
The pool is salt-water and enjoys splendid views. It is illuminated at night.
The owners also live at the farmhouse - their entrance is at the back of the house whilst guests enter at the side of the house. Everyone has their independence, but for those wanting to get involved in the local culture, go for walks etc, they have only to ask Virginia, who is happy to organise walks, tapas, picnics, cookery demonstations etc.
There is a built-in BBQ next to the Apartment. Also, there is a large Games Room (ex- wine house) with a table - tennis table (bats and balls are provided).
All around the farmhouse are gardens and vineyards. Fruit trees abound and guests can help themselves to oranges, lemons, kiwis, clementines (in season from December to April). A juicer is provided!
The farm produces red and white vinho verde and guests are offered a complimentary bottle or two on arrival.
We also have chickens and ducks - guests are welcome to go and visit them, offering any vegetable peelings or stale bread.
On the animal front, we also have 2 dogs, one a Golden Retriever (Skye) and a Labrador (Luna) - they are very friendly and like company. Guests are welcome to join the owners on dog walks through the forest behind the house.
The farm has 2 large water mines, where water arrives at the farm through channels excavated into the mountains. One mine leads to a water tank - which is used to irrigate the vines. the other leads to a large tank inhabited by gold fish and frogs.
For those who like walking, there are many walks around. Behind the house there are unpaved roads through the forest to arrive at Sameiro 30 minutes away, and then it is possible to walk another 20 minutes to get to Bom Jesus.
Another nearby walk is the Santiago de Compostela trail, beginning 5 minutes drive from the house. Park the car and then just follow the signs.
The Celtic settlement of Citânia de Briteiros is just 10 mins drive from the house. And Castro de Sabroso is even closer, about 5 mintes away. The area abounds in relics from the past, pre-Roman. Braga and Guimarães are typical Roman cities.
The farm house has bicycles but the terrain is not ideal for cycling.
The townland of Longos has 3 restaurants, the closest being Bar da Igreja, 3 minutes away, serving food at lunch time and at night. The restaurant (serving traditional Portuguese food, such as roast pork, codfish, bean stew etc) does take-away orders and so if you don't want to cook you can order in the food.
The Roman spa town of Taipas is 5kms away, replete with an abundance of cafés, outdoor swimming pools, parks and spa treatments, including a luxurious naturally heated indoor pool, with Turkish bath and sauna.
The seaside, Esposende, is only 40 minutes away. The whole coast has interesting towns and beaches - just look for the sign 'Praia.'
The city of Porto is less than an hour's drive away and for those who don't want to drive (..lots of port tastings) they can leave their car at Braga or Guimarães train station and catch the train. It's also possible to drive to the Douro valley and be back in time for afternoon tea at home.
The apartment has Central Heating in all rooms and heated towel racks in the bathrooms. It also has a wood burner and wood is provided free of charge. There is of course free Wi-Fi and satellite TV, with all the British channels, a HI-Fi music system and CDs, a book-shelf with a large range of books - guests can help themselves.
For breathtaking scenery, walking and water sports, Gerês national park is 40 mins away.
Portugal has excellent undiscovered wines- the reds from the Douro and the Alentejo are sold in the local supermarkets.
Vinho verde (red or white) is very regional. The locals drink the red out of bowls ( 'malgas'). It's supposed to open up the flavour of the wine.
If you want to have a relaxing holiday in a beautiful setting yet near everything in the north - this is a good central base. The apartment is a real home, with the sounds of nature all around and unbelievably close to Braga, Guimarães and Oporto.
Guests are sent a list of 'Things to See and Do in a Week' at the time of booking - this saves a lot of research time!