|Minimum Stay||5 nights|
Sleeps 2. Treetop Cottage is a modernized chalet-style stone cottage in an idyllic setting. This unique one story dwelling, with a spacious sunny veranda perched above a delightful wooded valley has magnificent views from its large picture windows. It is the ideal retreat for anyone seeking tranquility amid unspoiled natural beauty. Guests have their own private lawn and garden set on a terraced hillside. Sunloungers and BBQ provided. Near many charming towns and golden sand beaches. For those who enjoy walking, cycling or having a dip in beautiful freshwater rock pools, the Serra de Arga National Park is just minutes away. Two mountain bikes are available for guests to use free of charge. The village of Covas is situated on the River Coura and has four restaurants and two shops. The village is a twenty-five minute walk through scenic roads. With double-glazed windows Treetop Cottage is a cozy and relaxing get-away.
I first arrived in Portugal on a mountain bike in 1986 and immediately fell in love with the country and the people. The scenery, especially in the Minho, is so rustic and romantic, with its grape vines on tall granite posts, stone walls and houses. So I stayed in the Minho for 5 years running a campsite. In 1993 I bought a property in Covas and spent the next 6 years restoring the house. The latest labour of love has been to restore the very old stone cottage on the other side of the property into guest accommodation. I live here all year round, teaching English in the nearby town of Viana do Castelo.
Ellen McCarthy purchased this cottage in 1993
We bought the place in Covas because it had all the characteristics that I love about North Portugal. It had the grape vines, the fruit trees, the stone walls and terraced landscape. It is situated on one of the higher parts of the village and enjoys beautiful views. It feels remote and private, yet it is just 2km from the centre of the village. Covas itself is only a 20-30 minute drive from some of the loveliest towns of Portugal. In the Minho you really have everything: rivers, mountains, beaches, historic towns and Galicia, Spain just across the river.
Now that Treetop cottage has been restored and modernised, it is, we believe, a unique accommodation. It is not overlooked by any neighbours, but overlooks a 'hidden valley' with a stream and water mills below. The cottage itself cannot be seen from the road and so feels very secluded. While the veranda enjoys sunshine for most of the day, there is shade from the oak trees nearby. We have put in large picture windows and glass patio doors so that guests can feel and see the nature all around them. Yet just a 5 minute drive or a 25 minute walk brings you to the local restaurants and shops.
*The owners direct website is packed with variety, but we feel fortunate to have discovered 'Ellen's paradise'. The tune of the holiday has been 'Somewhere over the Rainbow', which shall be for evermore Tree Top Cottage! Thanks for sharing so much with us, Ellen.
*Ellen, you have created a little bit of heaven on earth at Treetop Cottage. The cottage, and surroundings are truly beautiful and relaxing. We have had a lovely week. Thank you to you too Ellen for being such a wonderful host. We couldn't have felt more welcome. Your guidance and advice about routes and places to visit were invaluable.
*We arrived at night and so had no idea of our surroundings, but stepping out onto the terrace in the morning almost brought tears to my eyes. An idyllic setting, so peaceful - a perfect haven to get away from everything. Beautiful, friendly people, fantastic food, and some amazing places to visit. Last but not least a really big thank you to yourself, Ellen, for being such a fantastic host.
We spent a lovely fortnight at Tree Tops. Ellen obviously cares about her visitors having a good time. The cottage is really well equipped, and spacious for 2 people. It was great having the bikes available, and they were suitable for both a woman of 5ft 3ins and a man of 5ft 10ins. The roads were quiet and if you don’t mind hills there is plenty of cycling available nearby. We ate 4 times at Flor de Fontela (but never walked there). The 6 Euro lunch was amazingly good value and one night we had the fresh sardines (and they really were fresh). We used most of the restaurants that Ellen recommended and they all lived up to expectations.
A fantastic base for exploring all the beautiful places in the area.
Ellen is a marvellous host, very helpful, friendly and knowledgable of the area.
The cottage is quiet, comfortable and well appointed, as well as situated to overlook a beautiful valley.
We used it as a base to explore the towns and mountains on our motorbike, but it would be equally as good for a centre for walking or cycling.
We arrived at the same time as a huge low pressure so had to wait until the end of the week before seeing Tree Top Cottage in all its glory. Fortunately Luis had very recently installed a wood pellet burner which fed the central heating and so we were cosy and warm in our treetop hideaway. When the sun eventually showed itself the views were amazing and we can quite understand why Ellen was drawn to this area, it is beautiful. Thank you Ellen for introducing us to village eating, the food was delicious and such good value. Where in the world would you be able to drink a jug of good wine and eat a three course meal followed by coffee for just 6 euros each? Being met by Ellen’s dog Raffa and showed to our accommodation was a first for us but obviously he is quite used to meeting and greeting. He really is adorable and we are surprised that no one has tried to take him back with them.
We had a delightful week in Treetops, once we had located the correct Covas! Apparently there are four places called Covas in Portugal - and you are supposed to READ Ellen's directions :-)
Once we arrived the property took our breath away - and we were amazed by what we found. Treetops is full of personal touches, the area is beautiful (we had no idea before we came) the food tasty and people friendly. All this was enhanced by Ellen's enthusiasm and willingness to to help - pointing out which mushrooms to eat and how to cook them. Raffa (the dog) and his friends greeted our motorcycle every day, and Luis even gave us an insight in to how to drive a tractor! Thanks Ellen - you have put a dent in our lives and a soft spot in our hearts for your property and the beautiful area in which it is located.
Dear Ellen and Louis, thank you so much for a superb 10 days, you should be extremely proud of the paradise you have created here at treetops!
Ellen was so helpful when we arrived, giving us a tour of the property and invaluable advice about the local area. The wine, honey, roses and personalised postcard were very much appreciated! Younger than her usual clientele, at 22 and 26, she never the less made us feel very welcome. We took her 'green bible' everywhere we went in our little smart car, we recommend all future guest do so as well! We did everything in there! A particularly good recommendation was the Yacht Club in Viana de Costello, we actually went twice it was that good. £17 will buy you a fantastic meal, drinks and dessert for 2 with about 10 varieties of fruit of fruit and veg on your plate! Ellen suggested the jet skiing next to the Yacht club, such good fun!! Camihna, Tui, Santa Tegra, Ponte de Lima were other highlights, to name just a few. Rafa the dog was just lovely, greeting us every morning and evening and accompanying us in a walk around the grounds. We enjoyed Ellen showing us her chickens, and Louis demonstrating how they made honey. The villa itself is perfect, we had everything we could possibly need - from a cafetière to a radio to a spice rack! The pool is great and the BBQ, bikes and film selection were a nice touch, all of which we enjoyed of an evening. Thank you again for a wonderful holiday, all the best xxx
The previous reviews summarise our feelings on our stay here as well. We kicked off the 2015 season with a 9 day stay, and we really could not have asked for or expected anything more. Ellen is a fantastic host, but Rafa (their re-homed stray dog) is closing in fast, he is such a delight to have around, he greets you in the morning with a smile and hangs out whenever you are around, goes on short walks with you etc. Ellen and Luis have created their own paradise up in the hills and you will be very fortunate if you get the chance to share it with them. I cannot think of anything that was not provided, which is rare or unheard of really in a holiday rental, right down to oils, vinegars, herbs and spices. Ellen even picked up on a previous review request and provided a cooler bag for picnics. The accommodations are perfect, everything that you need and more and it all works, strong wifi, beautiful views, gardens, pets, chickens, rooster, canaries, two cats and a lovely dog (did I already mention Rafa :) ). We have been all over Portugal but this was our first time to Alto Minho. We love it, green, mountainous, scenic, friendly, cheap....the Serra da Arga in spring is very beautiful with the gorse and heather in full bloom. The town of Ponte da Lima is a must visit, as are the local restaurants in Covas and the Iate Club restaurant in Viana. Just follow Ellens very detailed guide book and you will be fine. I better stop now. Thank you very much for everything Ellen! Herb and Sara
Special interest holidays:
Surfing lessons or surf board rental available at nearby beach of Moledo, a 30 minute drive.
A 25 minute drive brings you to the first of the Atlantic beaches at Caminha, also on the mouth of the River Minho. From there south to Viana do Castelo there are 4 or 5 beaches to choose from with pristine white sand. Vila Praia da Ancora is also a fishing village with a charming port.
The closest international airport is Oporto, served by Ryan Air and Easy Jet. It is an hour and a quarter minutes drive to Covas; hire car is recommended but not essential, if you are happy to stay in Covas and walk. Covas can be reached by train from Porto to Vila Nova de Cerveira, then a taxi. There are many hire car companies available at Oporto airport. It is advisable to book your hire car at the same time as your flights, because prices go up dramatically if you leave it late.
Caminha and Vila Nova de Cerveira are two lovely towns on the River Minho, just 20-25 minutes away. The fortress town of Valenca is 30 minutes away and just across the river is Galicia, Spain with its superb restaurants and a surprisingly different culture. Ponte de Lima, with its charming architecture and Viana do Castelo are both within easy driving distance. The Serra de Arga National Park, with its stunning scenery and rock pools, is just 10 minutes from Tree Top Cottage. To get an idea
Covas is a very picturesque village, where the locals still look after their grape vines and cultivate their fields. Many of the roads are cobbled and the boundary walls are often in stone. The village is on a river valley, but surrounded by beautiful mountains. It makes for pleasant leisurely walking; along the way you can find one of the 4 bar/restaurants to have a drink or try the local food. Eating and drinking is still very inexpensive here. All 4 restaurants offer a daily plate during the week which includes soup, a generous serving of the main course, and your drink for 6 euros. One place specializes in delicious barbecued chicken and mixed grills. There are also two shops where you can find almost everything you need, from fresh bread to fruit and vegetables. So on days when you don't feel like driving far, you can find all you need in Covas. It also has a cash point and a post office. Markets are a big feature of life in the Minho. Vila Nova de Cerveira has an excellent market on Saturdays, Caminha and Valenca on Wednesdays, Viana do Castelo on Fridays. The nearest large supermarket is just 20 minutes away in Vila Nova de Cerveira.
I would like to welcome guests from many different countries. I speak German, Dutch, French, Spanish and Italian.
To get an idea of just how stunningly beautiful this part of the Minho is, I recommend you go on Google images and look at the following places:
Viana do Castelo, Ponte de Lima, Caminha, Vila Nova de Cerveira, and Serra d'Arga (the National Park), all within 30 minutes driving from Covas.
|Rate Period||Nightly||Weekend Night||Weekly||Monthly *||Event|
Jan 1 2017 - Apr 30 2017
5 night minimum stay
May 1 2017 - Oct 15 2017
5 night minimum stay
|Fees||No additional mandatory fees|
Bookings can be made by phone or email. 25% non-refundable deposit required at time of booking, the balance to be paid 4 weeks before arrival. Preferred method of payment is bank transfer or PayPal. Please make sure you are fully insured against injury, sickness, cancellation, losses, etc, as we cannot accept liability for any loss or damage to your personal property or for any illness that may develop during your stay with us.
Changeover day can be flexible (minimum stay 5 days), but we would ask guests to vacate the cottage by 10.00 and to arrive after 2pm, to allow time for cleaning. If new guests are not arriving on the same day, departure time can be flexible.
Notes on prices:
Prices are for the property per week in euros for 2 people.
* Approximate monthly rate. Actual rate will depend on the days of the month you stay.