What happens to a village when it is abandoned? Does it deteriorate or does the natural landscape take over; its boulders and limestone block walls waiting patiently to be brought back to life?
Like a small town recovering after an earthquake or flood, the owners of Villa Pedra lovingly built several natural houses, stone by stone, from the ruins of a former village, Aideia de Cima, located in central Portugal. Using old world construction techniques, with careful respect for the region, the architect capitalized on the natural riches of limestone and marble surrounding the area.
It’s difficult to classify Villa Pedra when it comes to lodging. Certainly not a hotel, these natural houses each have a personality of their own. In fact, each house is named after an herb, fruit or tree, reflective of the type of garden in the backyard. Did I mention that each natural house has its own private garden?
I stayed in the Mediar tree house; a two bedroom, two-story house with its own kitchen and balcony, situated on the slopes of Serra do Sicó, looking out to central Portugal’s countryside.
Ideal for couples, or families traveling together, the kitchen is thoughtfully stocked with butter, cheese, jams, yogurt, fruit and eggs from the chickens. If I close my eyes, I can still remember the smell of the fresh bread, delivered to our door in the morning. Fresh cheese and bread greets you upon arrival, as does a bottle of wine. Oh, to be in Portugal again!
While there is not a lot going on in this village, there is plenty to discover in nearby Coimbra, or, you may simply relax by the pool and enjoy your time in central Portugal.
Check prices at Villa Pedra Natural Houses
Villa Pedra Natural Houses review and photos by San Francisco-based travel, food, and wine writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Villa Pedra and Tourism Centro Portugal.