Diana found us one of the most unique accommodations we’ve ever stayed in: a historic Portuguese windmill on a hilltop in a rural part of the Alentejo Province. We stayed here for three nights.
The airbnb host directed us to the small village of São Francisco da Serra, where her parents have a little coffee shop. With our limited Portuguese we were able to introduce ourselves, and we got the keys to the mill.
Inside the mill are two levels. Downstairs is the kitchen, and behind a door is the bathroom.
The bedroom was upstairs. The wooden gears were still in place, which was pretty cool.
The main vertical driveshaft had been removed. We found it outside, decomposing.
We had hot and cold water and electricity. No tv or internet. A wood stove kept things nice and toasty when it got chilly in the evening.
I had a lot of fun gathering wood and stoking the fire. From the hilltop we had a really nice sunset view to the west. We could faintly see the coastline in the far distance.
The next day we decided to go check out the nearby town of Santiago do Cacém. Its old town is on the side of a hill, and it has a castle and church on top.
We found a place to park and walked into town.
The old town was quite rustic-looking. We enjoyed having a look around.
The church on top of the hill is the northern terminus of the Rota Vicentina, a long-distance hiking trail that leads to the very southwestern tip of Portugal.
We walked around the cobblestone streets of Santiago do Cacém.
After having a look around, we headed to the new town in the valley below for lunch. We also bought some food for dinner and breakfast.
After lunch we drove down to the coast.
Behind the dunes are huge campgrounds that fill up to the brim in July and August. But the place is deserted outside of those two peak months. We had an enjoyable walk on the coarse-sand beach, and watched the Atlantic surf come rolling in.
We stopped by the sleepy little village of São Francisco da Serra.
The next day we discussed what to do over breakfast.
We decided to stay around the windmill to enjoy our surroundings. The sun was shining, and we read our books in the sun.
Just down the hill from the windmill was a forest of cork oaks.
Spring wildflowers were blooming, and butterflies flitted between them.
There were some very pretty flowers and butterflies around.
In the evening we enjoyed our final sunset at the windmill.
Diana enjoyed taking some pictures.
In the valley below our windmill was a ruined farmhouse.
After dark, stars lit up the sky.
Santiago do Cacém is south of Lisbon. You’ll need a car to get there. We rented ours at the airport. It’s less than two hours if you take the toll roads (expensive), and a bit more than two hours if you take the back roads. The driving is easy once you get past the huge roundabout just outside of the airport (six lanes, eight exits, and lots of traffic lights here and there).
The windmill was listed on airbnb. At present the listing appears to be gone.