Head off the beaten track and experience Europe as you’ve never seen it before with these two secluded wooden waterside eco-cabins in Portugal and France
Avoid the predictable tourist traps and opt for a relaxing, low-impact retreat in these two breathtaking fishing locations in Europe:
Cabanas no Rio in Comporta, Portugal
‘Reuse and recycle’ was the overarching concept behind this project by Portuguese architect Manuel Aires Mateus, who took two old fishermen cabins on the banks of the Rio Sado River in Comporta, Portugal, and transformed them into a rustic retreat for two. The setting is one of absolute seclusion, with only a small, sandy road directing you to the destination through lush vegetation fields. At just 14m2 each, Cabanas no Rio – meaning ‘cabins on the river’ – are small, to say the least, but include all the essentials needed for a relaxing break.
The first cabin is designed for living, and features a lounge with two armchairs and a fitted kitchen that can be concealed in a cupboard when not in use. The second cabin is for sleeping, and has a bedroom with canopy bed, an en suite bathroom and a shower that can be opened up to the outdoors for bathing alfresco.
With their enviable waterfront position overlooking the natural reserve of the Sado estuary, Cabanas no Rio also offer a glimpse of the famous palafitte harbour of Carrasqueira, which is considered to be a masterpiece in folk architecture thanks to its ingenious construction on stilts. silentliving.pt
Grands Cépages in Avignon, France
Located in a fishing reserve near Avignon in south-east France, Grands Cépages eco-hotel consists of 14 wooden cabins by French studio Lavit Atelier. Consideration of the environment was of utmost importance when conceptualising this project, so Lavit Atelier prefabricated the architecture to ensure minimum impact to the terrain. The cabins are simple yet sophisticated in their design, comprising vertical wooden exteriors that both echo the reeds and form a screen for privacy and protection from the sun and wind.
All furnishings have been kept to a minimum, while random gaps between the slats provide natural light and allow for glimpses of the water, greenery and sky from the inside. Whether floating on the lake or hovering on posts along its banks, each of the suites integrates seamlessly into the surrounds.
Text: Karen Tennent