Barretos, Portugal: A Portuguese idyll
Near Marvão, which is on a crest overlooking the Serra de São Mamede Natural Park, is the village of Barretos in the Alto Alentejo region of Portugal. Once you drop your bags in the area, you may never want to leave.
The Alto Alentejo was featured last year in the NY Times. Who could resist the white houses, the cobbled streets, the olive groves?
A stay at the 'self-catering cottage' Casa do Brasão is an excellent way to go. It can sleep up to six people, has a garden, terrace and patio, plunge-pool, and wood-burning stove. High season rate is €585 for the week for two people (each additional person is another €30). Off season, the price drops to €382.
In addition to the gorgeous landscape, the region offers plenty of diversions: castles, a nature preserve, great food, Roman ruins. And, for a shot of testosterone, a bull festival in August.