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Dream Houses :: Chalets from Monte Estoril


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The whole area along the Estoril-Cascais coast is still internationally famous not only for its beautiful natural landscape but also for its beautiful architectonical elegance.

In this context, and contributing to this prestige, are the luxurious and beautiful chalets built along the coast, namely the ones built in Monte Estoril during the beginning of last century.

Let us travel back in time with you, giving you the opportunity of knowing some of the most emblematic, beautiful and best-preserved palaces and chalets from this noble area. Come with us.

The interest for Monte Estoril, generated during the last third of the XIX century, was led by the growing awakening of the urban population and bourgeois class at the time, to the benefits of the sea airs, outdoor living, practicing sports and widely inspired by other luxury touristic areas in Europe.

The birth of this locality, until then only populated by a dense pinewood forest pouring over the astonishing sea view, was forced by the urban impact driven by José Jorge de Andrade Torrezão that, between 1869-70 ordered the construction of four isolated chalets, at a cliff near the beach. Only twenty years later, at the time of the railway inauguration between Pedrouços and Cascais (in 1889) and after the creation of “Monte Estoril Company”, a strong real estate expansion begun.

The Company – composed of great names from the aristocracy had as major shareholders such people as Count Moser – president of the Railway Company – and Carlos Anjos – an enthusiastic investor that nurtured the dream of making this an entertainment summer resort – came up with a revolutionary project: urbanise Monte Estoril in luxury tourism style.

This was when the first modest, cheap and cheery homes were built and made available to rent, or sell when an interested buyer came around. Piped water was installed – Carlos Anjos pumped the water to Monte Estoril from his own propriety at Vale de Cavalos, in Sintra – and also electricity. Streets were paved, decorated and received the comfort of lamps and gas. According to the dream, Monte Estoril would become Portugal’s Riviera. And so it was!

Monte Estoril was then filled with eclectic houses in which architects opened the wings of their imagination and, according to their preferences, expressed the style from the end of XIX century on. In the same place where a pine tree wood used to be, now urbanisation took place drawing streets and bringing in infrastructure between the trees. Its natural characteristics, of a profoundly wooded area, were accentuated with the exotic gardens and its numerous houses, “steeped” into the vegetation, a characteristic that can still be seen at this location.

Since the creation of Monte Estoril Company, this summer resort gained, year by year, more fans. By the end of the century it was already an elegant village, sprinkled with exotic chalets, surrounded by leafy gardens where some of the nobles and high bourgeois class started to live.

Monte Estoril’s fame grew when D. Maria Pia fixed her summer residency here, back in 1893. Then, the opening of two casinos, “Monte Estoril Casino” – inaugurated on 30th September 1891 with the presence of current rulers – and “International Casino” – that opened its doors eight years later – consolidated the ascension of Monte Estoril to the category of luxury resort. On the other hand, the mild climate and the existence of casinos enticed a lively and exuberant social life, which contributed to the fact that more and more families prolonged their stay, even during the winter.

Located at Sabóia Avenue, the first hotel in Monte Estoril was “Grande Hotel” (Great Hotel), inaugurated in October 1898, known as “Grande Hotel Estrade”. Tourism and social life intensified and increased its presence.

When it comes to the design of the buildings, there are three main architects responsible for the trace that dictated the personality and charisma from this area: Rafael Duarte de Melo, Raul Lino and Ventura Terra.

Houses from Rafael Duarte de Melo were characterised as neo-romantic and from them we highlight “Laximi House”, “Malvina House” and “Laura House”, all of them from the beginning of the XX century and still existing nowadays, kept in a great state of conservation by their owners.

Raul Lino was dedicated to building summerhouses, building them for friends, at this new location adopted by the new bourgeois, a class in clear ascension at the time. The architecture from Raul Lino was in conflict with “typical Portuguese house style”, creating a great distance from the architectonic values of “Swiss chalets” that were built in Monte Estoril. Raul Lino introduced new elements with Moorish influence, collected during his travels through the South of Portugal and Morocco. The houses he built stand out through the exotic presence on their decorative elements, always related to and articulating Moorish motives with typical Portuguese decorative elements.

Thanks to the conservation of the majority of chalets and palaces that came to occupy Monte Estoril over a century ago, it is still possible, nowadays, to cross its streets and feel a strong presence of the past, but not only for that reason. In fact, most recent buildings that were added to this area were fused into the landscape, respecting – even though with a touch of modernity – the contours and lines from the old days, in a relationship of perfect symbioses. To the natural landscape, populated by pine trees, to which the light and colour from the rosewood and bougainvillea were added, preserves its bucolic air. The streets are crossed with abundant sunlight, mild climate, shades and leafy gardens. The jasmine perfume fills the air during the Sprint time and the singing of the turtledoves and blackbirds offer a special charm to its days. At the top of its steep streets, you can see the horizon, blue from the ocean or marked by the delicious cutting of the coast and marginal road. There is a special ruling calm living here, and it’s easy for its inhabitants to constantly feel like they are on holidays. Everything seems move along at the pace of the old days, without great mess and away from the common urban sound pollution.

Monte Estoril keeps to itself many secrets and charms, engraved in its DNA, and kept till nowadays almost untouched. Come and follow the streets of this magical place in time travel. Who knows if among the houses available for sale, in one of the beautiful and charming chalets and palaces, you’ll find the house of your life? Check our real estate partners and find the dream houses that Monte Estoril has to offer.

Special thanks to Cascais Municipal Historic Archive for the collaboration and availability of information.

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