Casas na Areia in Comporta, Portugal

Refined Cabana Style with a Twist

This property, designed by Portuguese architect Manuel Aires Mateus, boasts a view over the River Sado and was originally built as a private holiday home. It was selected to represent Portugal in the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2010. Its outstanding combination of local textures like thatched roofs and sandy floors, paired with ultra-modern and minimalistic interiors is not to be missed. Architect Marta Lourenco describes what she experienced during her stay:

Casas na Areia is far from being a holiday home. This house is not attached to its function, meaning that it works like a sensory challenge, rather than just a living space. Full of complex contrasts and sensory provocations, it makes us, the users, think about the preconceived ideas we have about the places we choose to dwell, and about the rhythm we are led to believe we should have in our lives. This house offers a particular character to everyone who visits it, a character derived from a passionate story about a family of fishermen, who decided to build their home next to the rice fields. Suddenly, we almost see ourselves submerged into a new choreography, and the dance we have always performed in our lives is left behind. In this living area, the steps are smooth, slow and clean: In a moment, we realize the grounding of the sand floor frees us from the weight that anchors us in our daily lives.
With such a brake of barriers between interior and exterior, the outside is welcomed home, touching our skin through the sand, the thatched walls, the mixture of warmth and coolness. The landscape invades our eyes and, framed by the large windows, it is a constant presence wherever we are. The complex dance that, silently, brings us calmness in the living area, turns itself into slow motion in the bedrooms. Here, the only stimulating element is the colourful nature peaking through the big room windows. Everything else, the white walls and furniture, the cold stoned floor, invites you to quiet down, until the only thing you sense is your own heartbeat.
I tried to imagine what it would be like to get to know the house with my eyes blindfolded, as if the only things that needed to make themselves familiar with the space were my hands and my feet, helped by the senses of touch and smell.
The wooden walkway under my feet guided me in the right direction and, when searching around the empty air for something new, my hands encountered the strong thatched walls. I believe I imagined it as a big hut made of straw, like our ancestors houses, showing me how the memory of such typology is so honoured by this building. And then, by feeling the sand on my feet, I felt this strange sensation of being outside, but the opaque sound of an interior space confused me. Until I took the blindfold off, and vision jumped in to join all the puzzle pieces: inside and outside blend in to deliver an ultimate sensory experience, where all senses awakened to connect me, unbreakably, with nature. This perpetual shift of materials, sensations, colours, smells and atmospheres, that brings calmness and serenity in a entangled way, makes me wish to know Casas na Areia, with the palm of my hand.


WORDS: Marta Lourenço
PHOTOS: Nelson Garrido
Good to know


There are four separate houses with a maximum capacity of 8 people. There are two white concrete houses, each with a bed for two and a bathroom. There is a larger house with two rooms and two bathrooms, ideal for a family with children. The main house has a sand floor (with heating from below), kitchen, living area and terrace. There is a pool as well as an open garden offering a picturesque view over the paddy fields and across the River Sado.

Location & Booking Details


Casas na Areia is approximately one hour south of Lisbon, close to the village of Carrasqueira. Prices: low season from 11th September to 19th May with a minimum stay of 3 nights, 350 Euros. High season from 20th May to 10th September with a minimum stay of 7 nights, 700 Euros. Breakfast and daily cleaning included. For more information and booking requests please contact us directly:

Perfect for…


Large families travelling with children or a small group of friends. Recommended for guests who like to spend time together and to connect with nature.