The ideal villa in Alentejo for a family vacation for 12 (from 50€ a night)

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Horta dos Caracóis, in Borba, opened at the beginning of July. It has an organic vegetable garden, a natural well, and a waterfall.

The ideal villa in Alentejo for a family vacation for 12 (from 50€ a night)

When the hottest days arrive, many decide to head for an Algarve full of tourists and confusion, even when the Alentejo is just a few hours away- a region where there are more and more vacation homes with infinity pools with unobstructed views and all the comforts to spend a quiet vacation. More than rural tourism or local accommodation, the Horta dos Caracóis is “a place to get lost in nature”. Who says so is Maria Franco, one of the people responsible for giving new life to her grandfather’s old house in the charming town of Borba.

The ideal villa in Alentejo for a family vacation for 12 (from 50€ a night)

With Alentejo roots, the Franco family has always loved the tranquility of the Alto Alentejo and, although they have never ventured into tourism – theyown a household appliance company in Lisbon – they decided to take a chance on a new project: rural tourism. “This was my grandfather’s family home. We decided to turn it into accommodation, a project that we felt we could embrace,” he tells NiT.

The ideal villa in Alentejo for a family vacation for 12 (from 50€ a night)

At first, father Ricardo Sá Franco, 44, and daughter Maria, 22, considered modernizing the whole property, but decided that the best thing would be to “combine the modern and the traditional”, so that the house wouldn’t lose its essence. “We did some small jobs and some remodeling, but mostly in terms of aesthetics,” he adds.

The ideal villa in Alentejo for a family vacation for 12 (from 50€ a night)

When they bought the land, they realized that near the house there was a ruin full of snails – a “characteristic that is not very normal in the region because the land is sandy. In this case, the mollusks were so many that they even invaded the vine sticks. A problem that, in the end, turned into a funny story – and ended up giving the rural tourism its name.

The ideal villa in Alentejo for a family vacation for 12 (from 50€ a night)

After a year of renovation, the Horta dos Caracóis started receiving guests in the first week of July. The space, which is also called a villa because it can accommodate 12 guests, has five rooms and suites, one of which is intercommunicating and can accommodate four people. This one also has a private balcony, fireplace and a privileged view, as well as a rain shower.

The ideal villa in Alentejo for a family vacation for 12 (from 50€ a night)

The house comprises several living and dining areas, both indoors and out, but the highlights are the “porch with a huge table, the table football, the Alentejo fireplace, and a wine cellar in the dining room. “We have vineyards outside and inside the property and we have also made some partnerships in this area with local producers and wineries,” he explains.

The ideal villa in Alentejo for a family vacation for 12 (from 50€ a night)

The outdoor areas are also “one of the biggest perks” of the accommodation. In addition to the villa, the Alentejo monte is surrounded by an organic vegetable garden with fresh fruits and vegetables, one of the property’s major highlights. “Our mission is to grow vegetables, fruits and herbs, weekly hand-picked. We promote sustainable and socially responsible agriculture with ecologically conscious cultivation techniques,” he highlights.

The ideal villa in Alentejo for a family vacation for 12 (from 50€ a night)

Guests can also take a dip in the huge swimming pool or visit the natural well and small waterfall inside the property. The Horta dos Caracóis can only be rented in its entirety, but you may well find some neighbors, such as rabbits or sheep.

The ideal villa in Alentejo for a family vacation for 12 (from 50€ a night)

For now, they have opened the doors of the mother house, but the goal is to continue to grow in order to make the most of the two hectares of land. In the future, they admit that they may even host events, from birthday parties to small weddings, and they have space to put up a tent that can accommodate 40 to 50 guests. Occasionally, they will also organize special gastronomy events, sports, or even yoga retreats throughout the year.

The ideal villa in Alentejo for a family vacation for 12 (from 50€ a night)

“There is nothing like that nearby. We offer entertainment activities both on and off the property. Guests can pick lettuce and oranges, but they can also visit a pottery factory in Redondo, or cheese makers and wineries that we have partnerships with,” she says.

The ideal villa in Alentejo for a family vacation for 12 (from 50€ a night)

Horta dos Caracóis has a maximum capacity for 12 people and costs around 500€ per night, plus 60€ cleaning fee – and must be fully booked. Reservations can be made online:

https://www.hortadoscaracois.com/

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