Sao Lourenco do Barrocal
Just two hours east of Lisbon, São Lourenço do Barrocal is a beautiful farm estate in the heart of rural Alentejo. Surrounded by olive groves, vineyards and flower-covered meadows, it's a short distance from medieval Monsaraz and the Roman ruins of Evora.
At a Glance
A horseriding, hiking, wine tasting and wellness paradise far from the tourist trail
Farm to table food here is superb with incredible local produce and cheeses
The Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve boasts incredible stargazing
A relaxing spa offering a range of natural treatments and holistic wellness options
The 40 rooms and cottages are beautifully restored offering simple but luxurious accommodation
Take advantage of the dark sky reserve with astronomer-guided stargazing.Tracy Stevens
Monseraz, just minutes away, is one of the prettiest medieval hilltop towns in Portugal.Tracy Stevens
São Lourenço do Barrocal is an idyllic 200 year old farm estate in the Alentejo region of Portugal. A mere two hours from cosmopolitan Lisbon, this area feels a world away. The pace of life is slow here in one of the least populated regions of western Europe. Endless wheatfields, cork forests, olive groves, wildflower meadows and small white-washed villages lend this area a subtle charm - it's the largest region in Portugal and perhaps the least discovered.
In the heart of all this unspoiled beauty, this unique farm hotel offers 40 rooms, suites and cottages that perfectly reflect the rustic appeal of the area. Every room is large and feels like a private retreat designed for reflection and relaxation. The decor is simple but generous with high quality sheets, underfloor bathroom heating, excellent amenities and calming colors and every room has its own outdoor space with views over the fields and low farm buildings that surround the property.
The food in Alentejo isn't hugely sophisticated but it is honest and fresh. The estate's charming restaurant offers delicious local specialties, whether the Serra de Estrella cheese that can be eaten with a spoon, rustic breads, or dishes typical of the region like lamb stew and gazpacho, prepared with local herbs and produce.
With almost 2,000 acres, there is plenty to see and do around the property. One of the fields boasts a swimming pool while there is a superb spa by Susanne Kaufmann and fitness area set amongst the farm buildings. With an exercise studio, a cedar wood soaking tub, dry sauna, hydroptherapy and a range of natural treatments to soothe body and soul, this is a perfect place to unwind and be pampered.
The grounds have several archaeological sites dating to the Bronze age that can be explored with a guide. Treasure hunts are fantastic fun for kids, and walking trails and hikes can come complete with a picnic. There are several horses for riding and wine tastings can also be arranged. Bicycle tours around the Alqueva Lake are scenic and the Alqueva Dam was the first Starlight Tourism Destination in the world and has a Dark Sky Designation. Astronomers will take you on a walk to remember here and it's an experience not to be missed.
Further afield, Evora is worthy of its UNESCO World Heritage designation thanks to its Roman temples, 12th century cathedral and ghoulish Chapel of Bones, whilst nearby Monsaraz is the very definition of a picture perfect hilltop medieval village.
There are 40 rooms and cottage at this lovely 200 year old country estate. Set in former barns and farm worker's dwellings, each of the 22 spacious rooms, two suites and 16 cottages is decorated in muted colors and pale woods. Typical of the region, floors are made of local tile, windows have painted shutters, and bathrooms offer top end fixtures and underfloor heating. Crisp cotton sheets and locally woven blankets dress the beds, and all natural Susanne Kauffman spa products complete the bathrooms. All rooms have refrigerators while the cottages offer fully equipped kitchens.
Breakfast sports a buffet of local delicacies as well as made-to-order hot items; lunch and dinner offer a variety of field to fork dishes. A shop, spa, fitness studio and swimming pool can also be found on the estate.
Bikes and horses take you around the farm, try an idyllic hike with a picnic, stargaze in the Dark Sky Reserve or soar in a hot air balloon, go wine tasting, see archaeological sites, Roman ruins and medieval towns at your doorstep.
Location & Directions
São Lourenço do Barrocal is located in Alentejo, the rural heartland of Portugal, a two hour drive east from Lisbon. A patchwork of medieval villages, farms, olive and wine estates, Alentejo is one of Portugal's most picturesque regions.
When to go
The south of Portugal has a mild climate with more that 300 days of sunshine a year. The weather generally warm and sunny in May with the risk of the odd shower of rain. Sometimes it can be cool in the evenings. By June the weather generally settles in a pattern of long hot sunny days and balmy evenings especially in July and August. June and September are particularly pleasurable months.