Belmonte, Portugal

TheVagar Country House

Price per night from$157.28

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (inclusive of taxes and fees) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR145.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Barefoot condessa

Setting

Scenic sylvan serra

Savour life in the slow lane at TheVagar Country House, a boutique back-to-nature retreat set across hundreds of bucolic acres in central Portugal. Here, a pulse-raising hike, a mountain-backdropped massage and an aromatic bath infused with foraged herbs make up the morning grind. On the afternoon agenda, a picnic and a paddle in a forest-shaded stream – just make sure to squeeze in a glass of organic red round the fire pit by end of play. Switch on silent mode and start drafting that out of office reply – this is do not disturb done right.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

Locally made biscuits, plus free room service and 15% off a private 4x4 tour.

Facilities

Photos TheVagar Country House facilities

Need to know

Rooms

Six suites.

Check–Out

Noon. Check-in is at 3pm, but both are flexible, subject to availability.

Prices

Double rooms from £121.95 (€145), including tax at 6 per cent.

More details

Rates at TheVagar Country House include an à la carte breakfast of locally sourced treats, served in your suite, the cosy main house or out in the ivy-strung garden.

Also

The Simplicity Suite on the ground floor is wheelchair accessible (and comes with optional in-room dining), as are the communal living area, garden and pool. Unfortunately, the bath house, hot tub, ice baths and contemplation house are not.

At the hotel

Bath house, hot tub, ice baths, fire pit, chapel, and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: air-conditioning, radio, Delta coffee, tea-making kit, Smeg kettle, minibar, free bottled water, and Damana bath products.

Our favourite rooms

The Hope Suite has our hearts, with its cosy fireplace and view-blessed bath tub.

Poolside

The infinity pool draws entirely from nearby mountain springs – and if that doesn’t have you feeling fully in tune with Mother Nature, the panoramic valley views should do the trick.

Spa

In the glass-walled bath house and chapel-like contemplation house, aromatic baths are laced with wild lavender and rosemary and massages make use of local, organic olive oil, all with ahh-worthy valley views. There are also forest-fringed ice baths and an alfresco hot tub fed by the mountain spring, plus meditation, yoga and wellness classes.

Packing tips

In the spirit of TheVagar’s deliberately TV-free suites, ditch as much tech as you can and finally slash that daily screen-time count.

Also

If an elopement is on the cards, we’d say TheVagar’s forest-fringed chapel is a much more romantic bet than Vegas.

Children

Little Smiths are very welcome, should you fancy kicking your crunchy parenting credentials up several gears. The Essence Suite is specially designed for families, with a bunk bed that sleeps two children.

Sustainability efforts

The hotel exclusively uses mountain spring water, with rainwater collected for reuse on the land, and all of the grounds are organically maintained. Almost all produce is sourced from suppliers within a 10-kilometre area, and details from picnic baskets to traditional Portuguese board games have been handcrafted by local artisans.

Food and Drink

Photos TheVagar Country House food and drink

Top Table

The garden is your go-to for lazy, sun-warmed lunches. For supper with a spectacular view, your suite’s private balcony will take some beating.

Dress Code

Low-key and all-natural suits the casual set-up at TheVagar, wherever you choose to dine.

Hotel restaurant

There’s no formal restaurant, but you’ll stay well fuelled with a ready supply of homemade, sustainably sourced fare whenever you fancy. Breakfast might be crusty bread with organic jam and a foraged fruit smoothie; for lunch, a sun-sweetened tomato salad. Cakes are baked daily for afternoon tea, and if you stay in for supper you can look forward to cockle-warming soups and platters piled with cheese and cured meats from local farms.

Hotel bar

The hotel follows the same go-with-the-flow approach here, too. Crack open an ice-cold cerveja on a hill-cresting hike, or cosy up for a convivial night around the fire pit with a bottle from one of the region’s celebrated wineries.

Last orders

There are no set dining hours – when hunger strikes, just say the word and something tasty can be rustled up. That said, you’ll want to show your face for afternoon tea at 5 o’clock, and you’ll need to order breakfast the night before.

Room service

Breakfast can be brought to your suite from 8.00am to 11am, supper from 7pm to 8.30pm.

Location

Photos TheVagar Country House location
Address
TheVagar Country House
Serra da Esperança
Belmonte
6250-011
Portugal

TheVagar Country House is sequestered away at the top of a steeply climbing lane just outside Belmonte, a mediaeval village set within central Portugal’s forested hills.

Planes

It’s around a two and a half hours’ drive from Porto Airport, and three hours by road from Lisbon. The hotel can arrange transfers from either airport; price on enquiry.

Trains

Breeze into Belmonte Station direct from Lisbon in under four hours. From there, it’s just a few minutes’ drive – the hotel can arrange transfers for €25 each way.

Automobiles

A car will come in handy for exploring the surrounding cluster of historic villages, and there’s free private parking at the hotel.

Worth getting out of bed for

Choose your own adventure through the Serra de Esperança – hit the hiking trails, head out with a picnic, join a wildlife-watching 4x4 tour or get in touch with nature (literally) on a barefoot sensory trail. Otherwise, you can soak in your surroundings with an alfresco ice bath, a stint in the hot tub, or an aromatherapy bath.

For a further-afield expedition, set out to explore the soaring peaks of the Serra da Estrela. Or check out the region’s forest-fringed river beaches – the ones in Loriga are especially grotto-like. You’re in the heart of the Historic Villages of Portugal, a group of mountain-clinging communities recognised for their rich cultural clout. A cobbled-lane stroll gives a sense of the history here, but for a deeper dive, Caria’s centuries-old Casa da Torre, now an archaeological museum, makes a fine starting point.

Local restaurants

For a traditional Portuguese feast, Vallecula in nearby Valhelhas is a surefire bet. Soul-warming specialities include a hearty chorizo and bean stew, and pork loin with aromatic herbs, apple and stewed potatoes.

Local bars

If you’re stuck for souvenir ideas, stop by Cabralina microbrewery in Belmonte. Beer is just the beginning here – browse artisanal biscuits and handwoven wool blankets alongside your craft IPA.

Reviews

Photos TheVagar Country House reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this hill-hugged hotel in the Portuguese countryside and unpacked their herbal teas and homemade jam, a full account of their wellness-boosting break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside TheVagar Country House in Belmonte…

Wide open skies, a warm breeze and not a notification to be heard – mid-meeting on a Wednesday afternoon, we’ve all dreamed of going completely off-grid. If we’re being honest, though, few of us are cut out for the full castaway experience – without WiFi, there’s no way of sharing your Nat Geo-worthy snaps; and while fewer frills can feel mindful, what’s a week off without a well-stocked wine cellar…

Happily for on-the-fence adventurers, TheVagar Country House is your Goldilocks retreat. This bucolic boutique stay is framed by the forest-blanketed Serra de Esperança and stocks its kitchens with the region’s natural bounty, but thankfully is no stranger to a little luxury – it was once the country estate of a count, after all. There are mountain-scaling 4x4 tours, middle-of-the-woods ice baths and barefoot sensory trails for intrepid souls (and soles). But there’s also a decidedly-indoors spa, where massages, chamomile baths and sweeping mountain views deliver just as heady a natural high. The homey kitchen deals in simple, seasonal fare – fresh ewe’s-cheese and wildflower honey, foraged berries and just-baked bread – but afternoon tea is a set-in-stone tradition and golden hour is accompanied by a glass or two from some of Portugal’s finest wineries. There’s no mistaking that Mother Earth leads the way here, but it’s less a walk on the wild side, more a set-your-own-pace stroll.

Book now

Price per night from $157.28