The crenellated tower is visible as you wind along the cobbled track into this ancient hilltop village, perched high with mountain views. Levada is really a small castle in a settlement built of rough-hewn, moss-covered granite blocks where people and animals still live cheek-by-jowl; Luis’s family has been here for 300 years and it’s a gem. Rough wooden doors open to reveal a goat, a pair of oxen, the sheaves of corn stacked around a tree trunk to dry: scenes from centuries past. Luis and Maria, she a retired English teacher, are caring hosts with a lively sense of humour. Bedrooms have granite walls, wooden ceilings, beams and sisal floors; the Tower Room has a balcony; the bathroom of the Poet’s Room is reached via a trapdoor in the floor! The sitting room is comfortable, the dining room is barn-like, with an oval table at which everyone eats together: the food’s delicious, the wine and conversation flow. Find bikes, trampoline, a small pool and a river beach here, and beautiful waterfalls nearby. Up the hill, past the water mills, is a bleak hilltop with great boulders and dolmens – amazing.