I first heard of Quinta do Cobral from social media and was intrigued by its story: several years ago, a couple of British ex-pats decided to leave their life in Devon and move to the Portuguese countryside. What they’ve created is an idyllic, off-the-grid and eco-friendly home for themselves (and a detached guest house) with views to the highest peak in Portugal, Serra da Estrela. I stayed at Quinta do Cobral and here’s what it was like.
Quinta do Cobral is seemingly in the middle of nowhere in central Portugal (just how the owners, Ishbel and Richard, found this location still baffles me!). I won’t lie: the driveway to get down to the property is a little scary at first as you’re not sure whether it leads anywhere, but once you’ve made it down there, it’s worth the bumpy drive!
What this couple did took several years: they actually built their house, as well as the guest house, Casa da Bezerra, and the most recent building on the property: a studio. I especially loved how they’ve made the entire property solar powered (they certainly get their share of sunshine there!), energy-efficient, and energy-sufficient. Aside from being energy self-sufficient, the farm also has a great deal of fresh produce so they barely need things from the “outside world”. They grow apples, plums, grapes (which they even use for wine), olives, tomatoes, pumpkins, peppers, lettuce… you name it! Visitors are welcomed by the farm’s resident two dogs and cat. The farm also has goats, chickens and – the latest addition – piglets!
I loved the layout of the Casa da Bezerra guest house: the ground floor has a kitchen, living area and modern bathroom. There’s a huge boulder that forms part of the wall in the living room and continues into the shower in the bathroom. When you go up the stairs, you have a double bed, a closet and a separate bedroom with bunk beds. So it’s actually ideal for a couple with or without two small children. Each bed has towels and a mini soap that is hand-made by Ishbel herself.
Waking up to have breakfast (which is included with your hotel stay) in this location is a privilege… and this is coming from a city girl! Tea, coffee, juice and milk are provided. So is a selection of jam, bread for toasting, and granola. My mom and I opted to eat breakfast in the guest houses’s private patio overlooking the farm. The tranquility is remarkable! You can hear the goats and the occasional rustle of the wind. It’s an incredible and relaxing way to start the day: stress-free and surrounded by nature. We then got ready to start our soap-making course (more on that later, in a separate post!) before continuing on our travels.
If you’re looking to get away from it all, finally getting around to reading those books you’ve been too busy to enjoy, and truly forgetting the city life, have a look at Quinta do Cobral.