Here are four pretty apartments and houses perfect for family and friends; from the top floors you can see the sea. The interiors are tiled and spacious, with enough stripes and blocks of colour to add life to a functional décor. Quintamar sits in the Ria Formosa: lovely farmland and trees and a 15-minute walk to a boat (summer only) or train to ferry you to the sand-spit beaches – reputedly the finest in Portugal. But the main joy is the natural swimming pool whose plants keep the water pure; bathing is in the centre, away from dense waterlilies and singing frogs! Grown-ups can loll on loungers as little ones duck and dive, or join the owners’ children on the wooden pirate ship. On arrival, kind Tamar brings you milk, fruit, rolls, jam and eggs from her hens, and there are heaps of seafood restaurants in the fishing village of Sta Luzia. Beds – super comfy – are draped with Indian spreads, sofas wear throws, wood-burners keep you warm on cool nights, the two-storey apartments have sliding doors to balconies, and patios have space for barbecues. It couldn’t be nicer.