Never in my travel life so far would I ever imagine that one good and even great reason to return over and again to a place would be because of a truly generous local man. That man is one long-time inhabitant of Zambujeira do Mar who goes only with the name of Senhor Barreiros. Senhor Barreiros, who I met under a chance encounter during my hunt for a simple but uniquely tranquil and exquisite far-from-the-maddening-crowd sort of place in Portugal's Alentejo coast five years ago, is a proud retired pilot in the Portuguese army. He owns a few homes in Zambujeira do Mar, all fully-furnished and equipped individual apartments which he rents out mostly during high travel season (mid-May thru mid-September) but which he also make available to anyone anytime especially to stragglers who will happen to wander unannounced and thru a self-appointed chance such as the case with me into beautiful Zambujiera do Mar when most visitors have since departed.
So when I first travelled to Zambujeira do Mar on a tip-off about the village's fantastic location borne on a rocky outcrop which seem to plunge on a breath-seizing stamina, it was already early October upon one particularly blustery rainy grim day and the ocean below the town was a roiling fracas. My first impression was of immediate dislike and disregard, then I met Senhor Barreiros driving by in his SUV inquiring if I were lost and needed direction, to which I replied that I was looking for the village bus stop for a transport onwards to the Algarve. He was a true local - genteel, slow-talking, a good listener, courteous and helpful. He calmed me down about my reservation to the place, that the beautiful weather will return the next morning which it did) and that based on what I was searching for, I will surely love Zambujeira do Mar. But not only that, he offered me to stay in one of his apartments to try out overnight, at an unbelievable price of only 35 Euros per night! At first I could not believe it especially after inspecting the apartment which perfectly fronted the sea and realizing too that moment that I was literally the only occupant in a rambling house with numerous apartment units. Well, to make the story short, he got me hooked to Zambujeira do Mar which has now become my most favorite place in Portugal whenever I seek a refuge to regain my bearing and sanity.
So, if you happen to be in Zambujiera do Mar by chance if not by design, and are looking for a simple but very comfortable accommodation, go look for Senhor Barreiros. His telephone in Zambujeira do Mar: 917260047. I'd suggests travelling to Zambujeira do Mar in off-season period to get the best deal. The town has only about two pensions, one main grocery, about four restaurants, a couple of bars and totally without discotheques.
Mr. Barreiros' apartments all come in different shapes and arrangements but all complete with bath, kitchen, living room and a bedroom. And most have superb views either of the ocean and/or the village itself.
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