|Minimum Stay||5 - 7 nights|
Beautifully restored in local granite and schist, this farmhouse provides simple, spacious and very comfortable self-catering accommodation for up to 4 people. Set in its own garden with private, fenced, 9m x 4m swimming pool, the south-west facing property has no neighbours to overlook it, and fantastic views across the valley towards the ocean. Built on a split level, with two good-sized bedrooms above,one opening out on to a patio, and well-equipped kitchen, dining room and cosy lounge below. The lounge opens direct on to the terrace. Inside, it has the atmosphere of a real home, and a lot of care has been taken to make visitors feel welcome. Outside is spectacular, with patios shaded by overhanging vines, barbecue and dining tables, terraced gardens and lawns, the pool and an olive grove. A really romantic spot all year round, quiet and very rural, yet ideal for a family holiday and with easy access to the beaches of the Costa Verde and to the historic towns of the Minho region.
Beaches and golf: The family seaside resort of Vila Praia de Âncora is 10 minutes' drive away, and either side of it, along a 50km stretch, are the many safe, clean beaches of the Costa Verde - surf beaches, sandy beaches, rocky, wide, discreet, family, romantic beaches - you can go to a different one each day to suit your mood. At Afife there's a competition surfing beach (and surf/body boarding lessons); at Caminha there's a beach with one side on the Atlantic, the other on the River Minho; or you can hire a ferryman to take you out to a deserted island; on Serra de Arga there are fresh mountain pools and waterfalls (including one at Pincho, an easy walk from Casa de Dias); and there are also warm, sheltered river beaches on the Rivers Lima and Minho, within 15km.
For golfers, the excellent Ponte de Lima course is 28km away. With its scenery of mountains, vineyards and orchards, it's a course typical of the Minho region. Par 71, 6005m, including Portugal's longest hole at 622m (par 5).
Touring, tourism: For those who enjoy rural sightseeing, just touring around, or taking some long walks, there's the rugged, wild countryside of Peneda-Gerês National Park, and further away the Douro Valley, the home of the spectacular Port Wine vineyards. The villages and country lanes of Alto Minho offer a landscape from an earlier era. Serra d’Arga provides great views in all directions, and the Lagoas nature reserve a chance to see some wetland wildlife. For more sophisticated entertainment, there's the Casino at Póvoa de Varzim, and plenty of history, culture and night-life in a dozen towns within a short drive. There's karting, canoeing, surfing, 10-pin bowling and fishing, and the World Heritage City of Porto. The traditional Romarias, folklore, singing, dancing and decorative crafts and costumes provide an unusual taste of the local culture. And the famed cuisine of the Minho region can be found in restaurants galore.
We had a fantastic 2 weeks in Orbacem. This really is an idyllic house - really comfortable, clean and tidy with lots of space around it for the kids to play in. And the pool is great - our kids learnt to dive during the holiday so we will remember it for many years to come. Not to mention Tony, who's a lovely host. The house is close to great beaches and rivers and of course the many beautiful towns of the region. We'll definitely be back.
The small, attractive village of Orbacém lies just 10 minutes' drive from the beaches of the Costa Verde, and is in a valley at the foot of the Serra de Arga range (highest point 800m). Casa de Dias is on the edge of the village, with fantastic views across the countryside. The winding cobbled lane is virtually traffic-free (except, maybe, an ox-drawn cart or tractor), and leads to the village centre a couple of kilometres away.
The rustic, rural atmosphere is wonderful, yet the cottage is very conveniently located 5 minutes from a motorway junction giving easy, quick access to Porto airport, Spain (Galicia), the whole of the Costa Verde and several cities, most notable of which is World Heritage Porto. The local villages and towns of Vila Praia de Âncora, Viana do Castelo, Caminha, Ponte de Lima, etc. are attractive, historically interesting and still unspoilt - the region is known for its beautiful green countryside, its quaint, rustic villages, and its friendly local people, who enjoy a life that seems not to have changed for centuries. Walkers and cyclists will be able to enjoy a variety of routes from the doorstep, up into the mountains, around the country lanes or along the coastline.
Ryanair, EasyJet and TAP Air Portugal fly direct to Porto airport from the UK, along with several other major European airlines, and there are also good connections from the United States. Santiago de Compostela airport is also close by, about two hours' drive away.
Rates include bed linen and towels, and weekly cleaning.