I don’t think I can find enough words of praise to describe our overnight stay at Casas do Rio at Cossourado, near Barcelos and Braga in Portugal, but I’m going to try.
When Greg was looking for ways to break a 33.6km Camino stage into 2 more manageable stages, he did a search on booking.com to see what accommodation was available at or near the halfway mark. Casas do Rio came at the top of the list, thanks to their amazing rating of 9.6 (out of a possible 10). We wanted to stay there, just to see how good this place was. The fact that it is located just 1.5km from the Camino route, at the half-way point of the longest stage, was a bonus.
So …. what’s so good about this place? Well, everything. I know, this is going to sound like some tacky travel promotion, but we want to write it all down so we remember our stay there, plus give the owners of the 16th century Casas do Rio some well-deserved publicity and encourage anyone going to Portugal to plan a short or long stay at this wonderful haven. As well as being a beautiful place, the customer service is outstanding.
Jose and Cristina Amaro have owned Casas do Rio for the last 9 years and have spent a lot of time renovating both the buildings and the grounds. The 6-room boutique hotel is managed by their daughter Sofia, who originally suggested that it should be opened to the public. It’s only been open for 7 months, but judging from the reviews and feedback, it has been an outstanding success. Our bedroom with ensuite was on the 1st floor of the stables. There are a total of 4 double bedrooms, plus a family room and a suite. The large grounds have lots of fruit and nut trees, chickens, ducks, geese & swans, and a sparkling clean pool which we spent some time swimming in, and lying beside.
There are a couple of restaurants nearby, but we just didn’t have the energy to walk to any of them, so our very kind hosts offered to cook us a meal, and we gratefully accepted. We ate on the terrace just outside the stables and chatted with Jose and our fellow guests, a couple from Germany who have travelled a lot in Portugal and who also thought that Casas do Rio was one of the best places they had ever stayed at.
The following morning, we had the most incredible buffet breakfast I have ever seen, anywhere. All homemade, from home-grown produce, cooked on one of their two wood stoves. At least 3 different kinds of cake (Greg’s idea of the perfect breakfast), a vegetable quiche, a chicken and tomato pie, 3 different kinds of home-made jams, home-made yoghurt with red-berry jam, a platter of fresh fruit, breads, meats and cheeses. And 3 home-made juice combinations. Our hosts encouraged us to take any leftovers with us for our lunch, so we made some ham and cheese rolls and enjoyed them later in the day.
I was very sorry to leave Casas do Rio after such a short stay, but walked out of there feeling relaxed, rested and reinvigorated, and ready to do a day’s walk. And I’m already planning our next holiday in Portugal, with at least a week’s stay at Casas do Rio! It’s the perfect place for pilgrims, foodies, tourists and travellers.