Arriving here feels special – meander along a one-way road from Sintra (seven kilometres) through the fairytale woods of the Sintra-Cascais natural park to a little cottage at the top of a steep lane. You’re surrounded by forest and the views from the big stone terrace are lovely.
You need to go to the nearest village, Vinagre, for your basics – it’s a five-minute walk but the road is very narrow. There are plenty of fish and seafood restaurants on the coast (20-minute drive) – Praia das Macas is popular with locals; it has a golden sandy beach, enough waves for surfers and a lively daily market.
Bring a haul back from the market to cook on the barbecue. Open the French windows from the kitchen and the living/dining room and gather round the table for a late night al fresco supper.