Top Portugal hotels for unusual stays

updated 10/5/2021
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Several top Portugal hotels might surprise you. Think one-time forts, convents, theatres and former fishing villages. Matthew Hancock picks his favourites.The information in this article is taken from The Rough Guide to Portugal, your essential guide for visiting Portugal.

1) Forte de São João da Barra, Cabanas de Tavira, Algarve

Think the Algarve's overdeveloped? Discover this 17th century sea fort and think again.

  • Olive grove setting. Minutes from Cabanas de Tavira.
  • Tranquil, gated hideaway. Overlooks Ria Formosa nature reserve.
  • Mix of traditional and modern rooms.
  • Innovative pool built into ramparts.

Ready to discover hotels Portugal keeps secret? Book a stay at Forte de São João da Barra in Cabanas de Tavira.

2) Hotel Santos, Guarda, Beiras

A guesthouse built into medieval city walls. Hotel Santos oozes character.

Immerse in history. Check out Hotel Santos in Guarda.

Prefer to leave planning and booking to experts? Have a look at some sample itineraries. Both Complete Portugal or Portugal Itineraries offer inspiration. All Tailor Made Trips can be modified together with your local expert, then booked for a stress-free holiday. Click 'Modify this itinerary' to contact a local Portugal expert.

3) Pousada Viana do Castelo, Minho

Find memorable Portugal hotels in Viano do Castelo © Tsuguliev/Shutterstock

How lofty is Pousada Viana do Castelo? Lofty enough for a funicular. But the views are stunning.

  • Set in the Monte de San Luzia.
  • Overlooking Viana do Castelo.
  • Swimming pool, terraces, gardens and tennis courts.
  • Bedrooms with private balconies. Funicular from hotel to town.

Discover why Pousada Viana do Castelo is where to stay in Portugal if you want views.

4) Pousada de Viseu, Viseu, Beiras

It was once a hospital. Now Pousada de Viseu is one of Portugal's grandest hotels.

  • Built in 1793. Became a hotel in 2009.
  • Rooms centre on dramatic cloisters.
  • Outdoor pool.
  • Spa designed into former chapel.
  • Viseu enjoys Portugal's best quality of life.

Looking for grand and unusual? Book Pousada de Viseu for the night.

5) Vila Galé Albacora, Tavira, Algarve

Immerse in Algarve tradition. Stay at Vila Galé Albacora in Tavira.

  • Former tuna fishing village and market.
  • Now spacious, stylish eco-hotel.
  • Enormous swimming pool. Fish restaurant.
  • Private ferry to Ilha de Tavira.

Want eco-friendly and beachy? Book Vila Galé Albacora for both.

6) Convento São Saturnino, Azóia, Sintra coast

Runaways rejoice. Convento São Saturnino epitomises escapism.

  • 13th century convent in Serra de Sintra-Cascais.
  • Simple, elegant rooms.
  • Secluded hermitage also available.
  • Swimming pool and gardens.
  • Minutes from World Heritage Sintra.

Escape for a little. Book Convento São Saturnino in Sintra.

7) Solar do Castelo, Alfama, Lisbon

A favourite Lisbon conversion. Solar do Castelo is vintage Alfama.

  • Set against Castelo de São Jorge's walls.
  • Former 18th century mansion.
  • Part of the former palace kitchens.
  • Period furniture, boutique hotel character.
  • Rooms set round inner courtyard.

Top spot in the city? Book Solar do Castelo in Alfama.

8) VIP Executive Suites Eden, Baixa Pombalina, Lisbon

Stay in Lisbon's heart. VIP Executive Suites Eden is as central as it comes.

  • Central Baixa Pombalina district.
  • Simple, compact studios and apartments.
  • Former Art Deco theatre.
  • Overlooks Praça dos Restauradores.
  • Roof terrace bar and infinity pool.

Want wow factor? Find it at VIP Executive Suites Eden in Lisbon.

Ready for a trip to Portugal? Check out the snapshot Rough Guide to Portugal. Read more about the best time to go to Portugal, the best places to visit and best things to do in Portugal. For inspiration use the Portugal Itineraries from The Rough Guide to Portugal and our local travel experts. A bit more hands on, learn about getting there, getting around the country and where to stay once you are there. And don't forget to buy travel insurance before you go.

We may earn commission when you click on links in this article, but this does not influence our editorial standards - we only recommend services that we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

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updated 10/5/2021
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