Tradition and family run deep in rural Alentejo, and nowhere more so than at this cork farm in the hills. Philip and Margarida are the fifth generation to strip their oaks by hand each June, keep chickens, sheep, cows, and let black pigs loose on the acorns (they give ‘porco preto’ its sweet taste). Oh, and Philip makes award-winning wine. What a pleasure to buy the farm’s fresh fruit, honey, lamb, eggs, then take a picnic to the estate’s highest point, where views swoop over forest and plains. The handsome farmhouse, white with a splash of sunny yellow, is home to the couple and their two boys, with one half handed over to guests. It’s grand without pretensions: hats hung in the entrance hall, an antiquey sitting room with a vaulted ceiling and black-and-white tiles, a large kitchen, a terrace with a swing. If rustic and cosy is your thing, pick the shepherd’s cottage next door for its sunny beamed sitting room and palm-shaded terrace. Borrow the dogs for walks, stroll to the atmospheric spring-fed pool, discover fine craftsmanship in the ‘marble towns’, bask in the family’s old-fashioned friendliness. A gem.