Portugal often gets overlooked by travelers in favor of France, Italy, and Spain. But in recent years, several Lisboans and European expats have quietly opened small, design-centric properties that are drawing in-the-know visitors and establishing the country as the next great stylish getaway.
Along the cliff-studded coast of the Algarve and on the sun-drenched plains of the Alentejo, these architecturally dazzling hotels stand out boldly from the wild, rural landscape, yet feel entirely rooted in the local culture.
The owners of Villa Extramuros, for instance, enlisted a Lisbon-based architect to design a modern white cubic structure that blends beautifully into the wildflower- and olive-tree-covered hills of the Alentejo.
The area has not escaped the attention of some big-name international figures: Philippe Starck reportedly bought a house in Herdade da Comporta, a chic seaside enclave in the Alentejo, and Aman Resorts has been scouting locations in the area.
Despite such developments, this corner of Portugal remains primarily an insiders’ refuge—quiet, inexpensive, and thoroughly unpretentious.