A wonderful Villa Retreat near Lousada, Northern Portugal

17 Aug
Sarah and Linda having tapas at Casa Linda

Sarah and Linda having tapas at Casa Linda

This year we are taking our long summer holiday in Spain and Portugal. We spent a week travelling through Galicia in Northern Spain and arrived at our villa destination for a two week stay at Casa Linda. We booked the villa about a year ago,and ever since the misunderstanding with one of Linda’s paintings, which was in our possession for a short while earlier this year, we have been facebook friends. Linda is an artist and runs painting courses from her Pink Buddha Studio,but we just booked the villa as a holiday retreat. We have had the benefit of admiring original artwork in all of the rooms in our villa. Next plan is to have enough money to buy one of them – not that they are astonishingly expensive as art goes!

I am becoming quite an experienced booker of villas in the peak season of the school summer holidays – no-one will ever overcharge me or offer me some inferior deal just because I happen to work in a school! This villa has to be the best one we have booked so far in terms of location and facilities available. For me, the kitchen is so important, as we like to self-cater properly so I need all my home comforts. The kitchen in the villa is excellent and has most utensils that I need; I have also felt relaxed enough to go downstairs to Linda’s studio and beg/borrow anything extra that I have needed. This is a big contrast to our villa in Tuscany four years ago: when I asked if we could have some sharper knives, our host suggested that we could go and buy our own in the village!

The villa is all on the top floor of the house, up some marble steps and is so spacious. There are three bedrooms which are all a good size and two of them have air-conditioning, which has been most welcome. The kitchen is separate from the living/dining room, which is not always the case with Owner’s Direct properties – many just have one main room. The living/dining room also has air-conditioning which has been great. Our first week was particularly hot and humid and we have really appreciated this luxury. We do like to have a bit of a home-from-home and a villa which is more than just a base for days out. I am currently sitting at the breakfast bar in the kitchen, something I would love to have at home. One other luxury has been having both a dishwasher and a washing machine – many properties for holiday lets have either one or the other and I have learnt from bitter experience not to go for the dishwasher-only option. We seem to get through so many clothes on holiday. This villa also has a tumble-dryer, but I am not a fan of these – nothing like drying your clothes in the fresh air.

Apart from all the wonderful facilities, including a big television and a selection of DVDs – so far we have used this once, although our young visitors last week also made use of the wii last week, it is lovely to have such attractive furnishings, adequate space for storage, and as I mentioned before,the original artwork on the walls in every room.

Last of all of course I must mention the swimming pool. For me a pool is an essential part of my holiday, and a private one is the preferred option. With this exceptionally hot weather it has been most welcome, and I had a lot of fun playing silly games in the pool last week with the girls. My daughter and her best friend visited for a week and were made to feel just as welcome as Paul and I have been. Being only about 30 miles from the airport at Porto has been a big advantage too, as it made it possible for the girls to visit without our having to travel too far to the airport. Linda keeps the pool clean and ready for use every day, and is also very relaxed about when we make use of it. I have had experience of being asked not to use the pool too early in the morning or late at night at other properties.

So, what are you waiting for? Come and visit this beautiful part of Portugal and stay in a villa which has all the facilities you could possibly need for a holiday long or short, whether you just want to relax and spend most of your time reading and swimming, or visit some of the beautiful cities and beaches nearby.







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