This little-known spot nestles between the historic town of Tavira and Cacela Velha, a picturesque clifftop fishing village.
Pensão Agrícola is set in an authentic Portuguese farmhouse, impeccably restored with minimalistic rooms and vintage decor.
On the shady terrace, guests can enjoy a delicious, generous breakfast, or take other light meals by the plunge pool which is heated in the winter. Fill your lungs with the wonderful aromas that the south of Portugal has to offer – you’re surrounded by the scent of almond, carob, fig, orange and olive trees.
We fell in love with Pensão Agrícola when it first opened in 2015, and it continues to be one of our very top picks of places to stay in Portugal. Trust us – you’ll be in for a treat.
All the small details will turn your visit into a big memory.
One of the best breakfasts we’ve ever had.
It’s the real Algarve here, and you’re within easy reach of a fishing village and deserted beaches that are its best-kept secret – plus Faro Airport is only 35km away.
Seafood lovers will enjoy the local and super fresh specialities such as oysters, razor clams and tuna.
Bear in Mind
Children cannot be accommodated at the hotel.
Suite ‘Armazém’ is next to the outdoor eating area. It might not feel as private as the other suites.
The plunge pool is too small for swimming but it’s perfect for refreshing.
“This is a place where we want people to feel happy.”
We have always enjoyed travelling and hotels. Around five years ago we started looking for properties in the Algarve… we saw a lot of them until we found this one. It took us four years to create the concept and to get everything ready which involved choosing the materials, the objects, the garden architecture – it takes time!
Neither of us had any experience at all in the hotel industry but we both had a lot of experience staying at hotels as guests. A guest once said, joking, that she could tell I had experience at throwing dinner parties.
We found the house when we were looking in the area. It wasn’t really what we had in mind but it was the perfect location. What really impressed us was that the house was still full of stuff, from the furniture to personal belongings – there was a story behind it all. We fell in love with the house, we felt connected to it.
We kept the main house structure as it was but there was a lot that was in ruins, where we built from the ground up. We wanted to preserve the traditional Portuguese – Algarve architecture whilst at the same time giving it a contemporary touch. We were always careful to maintain the features we could, from the original doors to the ceilings.
Another important thing for us was that all of the rooms would be as private possible, and communal areas should be used as social spaces. All the rooms have windows in different directions and none of them faces each other. We paid a lot of attention to the architecture but also to the environmental and agricultural aspects.
We’re very close to the best beaches in the Algarve and the sea is slightly warmer than in the rest of Portugal. The weather is amazing, there are some fantastic restaurants serving local cuisine and it’s the wildest area in the Algarve. There are huge crops that go up to the sea and the river valley is a unique natural beauty. There’s also the cultural aspect of the nearby villages, Cacela à Velha and Tavira, which are both very interesting. It’s a 20-minute drive to Spain which means very quickly one can experience a totally different environment and cuisine. It’s only an hour’s drive from both Seville and Faro.
Well, we had a guest here, who happens to be a director at Vogue, and she described it very well; the real luxury is not a 5 star hotel, the real luxury is to arrive somewhere and to feel at home and to be greeted by someone who makes them feel like they’ve always been here. That’s our concept and our goal – for people to feel good, to have a good bed, to sleep well, to eat well and feel welcome. Every little detail should be perfect, not just the architecture and the decoration.
We had a guest who arrived around 9 pm, we had lit the fire and the music was on. When she arrived, she started crying. I was really worried and didn’t know what to do. We soon realised she was crying because she was so happy to be here.
“A guest arrived and started crying, I didn't know what to do… we then realised she was crying because she was so happy to be here.”
My favourite object is an art piece by Joana Astolfi which shows an old hotel key cabinet but there’s only one key which is viewed through a magnifying glass. Instead of showing the number of the room, it reads ‘Heaven’. We knew when we first saw it that it was perfect for us.
From the top of my head I’d say Posada del Faro in Jose Ignacio, Uruguay. And another one which is very different, a bit bigger – Hotel Raya in an island called Panerea, in Italy. The location is the most important thing. There’s no point in going to a beautiful hotel in a horrible place, although you also wouldn’t want to go to a beautiful location and stay in an ugly hotel!
I love travelling and I like to try a bit of everything. The last trip I went on was to Nicaragua where it’s all about eco-lodges and the jungle. But I also love New York and big cities. I like to explore, I value authentic places with a lot of character. Places with a story, with their own cuisine and culture. Places which are well looked after and of which its own people are proud of.
The breakfast is simple but high quality. Fruit, cakes, fresh bread and juice, seasonal fruit and then we give it a little touch. It’s something all the guests love and mention but it’s actually quite simple. It’s more about the quality of the produce and the presentation.
We want to build more rooms and offer more experiences such as Tuk Tuk tours and being able to hire a classic car or a Vespa. Even in high season, it’s possible to access desert islands, we want to be able to take our guests there and leave them with a hamper and parasol and for them to give us a call when they’re ready to leave. We want people to come and enjoy the Algarve even in the busiest seasons.
Ernesto was a 40th birthday present for Nuno and for the farmhouse. He was then a 5-month-old donkey. We just got a girlfriend for Ernesto and they’re both moving in this summer too. We’re planning to start a donkey family.
Thank you too!
Tavira (7km) is considered by some the prettiest town in the Algarve.
Fuseta (23km) has a fantastic flea market every 2nd Sunday of the month selling some interesting vintage goods.
Pensão Agricola offers complimentary bicycles and also organise trips to your own desert island – picnic hamper and parasol included!
Watch the video above which we did with Condé Nast Traveller. In it we talk about Foz do Douro - the seaside neighbourhood in Porto where we grew up. check out the Full article on their website.
Pensão Agrícola is a rural boutique hotel in Tavira, in the Algarve.
Faro (FAO) – 47km
Lisbon (LIS) – 307km
Porto (OPO) – 593km
It’s a 40-minute drive from Faro to Pensão Agrícola. Hiring a car is highly recommended to get to the hotel and explore the region and the beautiful beaches and villages nearby. Otherwise, you can take a taxi or the hotel can arrange a transfer from the airport.
© Photos by JO&SO and courtesy of Pensão Agricola.
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