The owners of the Casas da Capela do Monte, originally from Switzerland and the United States, have lived in Portugal since the mid-1980s and are well integrated in the region. They spent many years developing and restoring the traditional old hamlet that dates back to the 19th century. At one point up to five extended families or some 30 people lived off the land and subsistence agriculture. Until the mid-1980s, the hamlet had no water or electricity, and the people who lived here travelled on donkeys to collect water 1 1/2 kilometres away in the village of Barão de São João. The owners have restored the old cottages brightly and in a traditional style, using modern elements to ensure good insulation and comfort. Each of the cottages has a fireplace to heat in winter and thick walls that keep the houses cool in summer. The property also has three restored, traditional threshing grounds and two working, restored bread ovens.
The Casas da Capela do Monte are exceptionally quiet and peaceful and are particularly attractive to guests wanting to stay away from the busy tourist resorts, beaches or towns. The site is close enough to the main tourist attractions of the Algarve while being located in pretty and quiet countryside. Guests are advised to have a car to come to Monte da Charneca, as public transportation (a regional bus) is available on a limited basis in the nearest village in Barão de São João - 1 1/2 kilometres away.
The site of Monte da Charneca is known for its exceptionally beautiful and peaceful countryside, where silence can be total. Guests feel exceptionally close to nature: Sunrises are accompanied by the singing of birds, sunsets show spectacular colours, and at night the absence of light pollution allows guests to admire exceptional skies filled with stars.
The houses are surrounded by stunning landscaped gardens filled with local flowers and plants. Guests can also enjoy fruits of the orchard that has 60 citrus and other fruit trees. The property, which extends over 11 hectares, also has hundreds of almond, fig, carob and olive trees.
In addition, the houses are respectful of the environment. The property is fully self-sufficient in water and electricity. Its own water supply comes from a borehole 90 meters below ground, and its own water purification and solar heating systems have a storage capacity of over 15,000 litres. Water can be drunk directly from the taps in the houses. In addition, it has a water cistern traditionally used for irrigation that is also an above-ground natural (untreated) swimming pool.
The property uses only renewable energy, producing all its own electricity through a photovoltaic power generation facility that produces about 50 KWh per year. This assures all the energy needs of the property, with the surplus going back into the public electricity grid