Casa De Terena is centuries old - a gracious Manor House, built for the Bishop of Terena, then variously used as the Courthouse and later, the school.
The Casa offers 6 fully ensuite bedrooms - all with views either over the lake and mountains beyond, or over the village and the Castle. Guests can book either with breakfast (prepared by our housekeeper) or on a self-catering basis - taking the entire house or simply any number of bedrooms as needed.
A feature of the house is the vaulted-brick ceiling in the formal sitting room which makes for a stunning ambience. The marble slabs of the stairs were 'lifted' (literally! - by the original Bishop when the house was built) from a Roman Temple on the hill facing the Casa across the lake. This is the site of the famous Endovelico temple - originally a Celtic shrine, then rebuilt by the troops of Julius Caesar himself during his Lusitanian campaign, then used by the Moors before falling into disuse under Catholic rule. The lintels and pillars of the Casa's doorways are also pillars taken from this Roman temple and cut to size... pragmatic 17th century building techniques!
So you can enjoy walking up to bed on slabs of marble that were cut by Caesar's men more than 2000 years ago!
The bedrooms enjoy panoramic views over the lake and mountains to the west, making for the most splendid sunsets.
You will have full access to the living areas of the house - vaulted formal sitting room with ornamental hearth, reception lounge, breakfast room/bar, fully equipped kitchen and formal dining room with it's wonderful 12-seater antique oak table.
Laundry can be done one request by our housekeeper and charged accordingly.
Casa de Terena enjoys as 'sister' relationship with Montes Vicentes - an authentic Alentejo farm estate right on the edge of the village, where you can laze by the pool and enjoy typical regional cuisine cooked to order on request, with owner - and our host - Cesar Fontes.
Cesar is born and bred in the area and will offer walking tours, visits to various artisan food and craft producers in the area, as well as canoeing into the Lucefecit River gorge, mountain biking/cycling, sailing, horse-riding, etc. A highlight is his sunrise walk to our nearby artisan cheese-maker where guests have the opportunity to actually make their own queijo fresco - the typical goats cheese of the region, and then eat it for lunch!
Terena itself is an idyllic hilltop village with winding cobbled streets linking it's 12thC Castle on one side, with the Mother Church of San Pedro on the other. Strung between these two landmarks are storybook rows of tiny whitewashed houses with red tiled roofs.
It is truly a village out of time - not a Coca Cola or MacD's sign in sight! Just old ladies all in black, sitting in the sun doing the lacework for which the village is known.
Surrounding the village are vast rolling hills studded with cork and olive trees and vineyards for which the Alentejo region is famous. This is some of Europe's most unspoiled and beautiful walking, hiking or cycling country...
THE SURROUNDING AREA
Terena is located in the heart of a culturally rich region of Portugal: no less than 50 listed archeological sites lie within a 20km radius of the house; the beautiful historical town of Monsaraz is just 20 mins drive, with the marble cities of Estremoz and Elvas 30 minutes away. The World Heritage city of Evora is a 40 minute drive.
Alqueva Lake - Europe's largest man-made lake is only a few kilometres from the Casa and offers over 250km of shoreline for sailing - even renting a houseboat for a night to drift on it's glassy waters under the stars of Europe's first 'Dark Sky Reserve'.
Terena's own lake - just 5 minutes from the Casa is fed by the Lucefecit River and is perfect for swimming, canoeing or just picnicking in the shade of an 800 year old olive grove at the water's edge. Cesar can arrange a packed lunch for you to paddle up river into the stunning Lucefecit Gorge.
Terena is served by the local bus. We also have Pedro - the friendliest taxi driver in Iberia - who will take you anywhere you need to go at very reasonable rates. Cesar can also arrange any other transportation needs you may have.
Note that Terena is in a remote area - literally cast back in time so a rental car is very useful if you want the independence to be able to really tour the backroads of this extraordinary little world within a world.
Casa de Terena and Monte Vicentes have one goal - to immerse you in the timeless magic of this secret corner of Europe. You will find a place of utter tranquility, vast blue skies, long hot days and some of the best food anywhere in Europe - and don't be surprised if, having cleaned your plate, you are brought second helpings without asking... It's simply the Alentejo hospitality at work!