From a striking snake-shaped mansion to a sprawling villa with stacked swimming pools, these properties are the epitome of luxury living.
And while many of us are unlikely to ever live in such breathtaking surroundings, the BBC’s Inside the World’s Most Extraordinary Homes offers us a taste of what it might be like.
Each episode focuses on a different country, providing an around-the-world tour of the very best in architecture and design.
Tonight’s episode, the first in the new series, focuses on Portugal, where presenters Caroline Quentin and Piers Taylor visit four very different luxury residences.
Their stops include a mansion built by a British couple in the nation’s wine-growing region; a cross-shaped home that blends into the surrounding forest; a mountainside cabin that’s perched on a platform; and a ’21st century fortress’ that boasts two swimming pools and sliding walls.
Here, FEMAIL offers a sneak peek inside each of the homes…
THE WALL HOUSE
Pioneering pools: The ‘Wall House’ features a ‘double decker’ pool spread across two floors
Modern marvel: The ’21st century fortress’ also boasts moving walls to maximise the space
Minimalist: The windows in the open-plan sitting room, pictured, can be opened completely
This stunningly exquisite three-bedroom house made of concrete and glass by Guedes Cruz Architect, sits in Cascais, west of Lisbon Portuguese Riviera.
The minimalist interior in the L-shaped building offsets with the striking sight of the two enormous pools that sit directly above each other in the front room of the house.
Every door opens with a remote with sliding walls that allow entry into different rooms and not only does the house back on to a golf course but the sitting room windows open so you can swing a gold club right from inside.
The unique double-decker pool – which contains 55 tonnes of water unsupported on two sides looks weightless – features one on ground level where the dining room is.
Thoughtful: The walls and glass move with a counterweight system that glides up and down
Relaxation: The upper pool, pictured, has a glass bottom that allows swimmers to be seen
Bright: The clever stacking system allows coverage of the below area while allowing sunlight
The other surrounding the bedrooms and with the clear bottom of the upper pool filtering though sunlight as well as giving a view of the swimmers above.
The walls and glass move with a counterweight system with weights that glides up and down as the glass moves.
Architect Piers says: ‘What’s interesting here is the wall is a device I guess like a castle would have used historically.
‘It is a fortress that has a number of different ways that the wall can open and move and slide around. A 21st century fortress.’
Luxuries: The home also boasts a cinema room and games room that’s perfect for entertaining
Clean and simple: The living room is designed to make the most of the stunning view beyond
Architects wanted the seating area outdoors to be covered but not dark, so they created the stacking pools to bring light into the area.
Windows made of huge acrylic 13 cm thick set in steel frames that weigh eight tonnes each that were craned over the top of the house after, carefully being lowered into position to make them water tight.
‘This is without doubt one of the biggest privileges of my life to be in a house like this everywhere you turn there’s something beautiful something fun something interesting something challenging, it’s a real treat,’ said Caroline.
CASA NA GATEIRA
Striking: The snake-shaped three-bedroom Casa Na Gateira – the brainchild of London couple Neil and Shirley. It sits in the hilly farming region of Penela, the medieval heart of Portugal
Open plan: The living space is on the bottom level of the two-level property in the hills
Countryside oasis: The pool and decking area below looks out across the vineyards
In the hilly farming region of Penela, the medieval heart of Portugal, known for its vineyards, sits the snake-shaped three-bedroom Casa Na Gateira – the brainchild of London couple Neil and Shirley.
The Brits found the plot online and their architect nicknamed it the ‘snake’ because of the uneven ground it was built upon, lending to the different levels.
At the top is a garage, a gym, and a guest bedroom, while downstairs is the kitchen living room and dining room, and to the right is the master bed and another guest room.
Each part of the house is in a different part of the snake so everywhere has a beautiful view of the countryside surrounding the property, chosen because the land was so affordable.
And because the house was built out of concrete, meaning it has bad acoustics, the couple opted to cover the interior wall in cork to deaden the bouncy sound.
The cork, which is soft to the touch has been harvested in Portugal for over 300 years, and has to be made manually.
THE DUNE HOUSE
Natural beauty: The Dune House is so called because it is set in the sandy terrain of Muda
The building, which is made as a cross shape, is supposed to blend into the pine forest
The Dune House, so called because it is set in the sandy terrain of Muda.
It was created by Pereira Miguel Architects and features two artificial sand dunes that buttress the side of building and lead up side of the roof, where you can walk up to admire the view.
The building, which is made as a cross shape, is supposed to blend into the surrounding pine forest it is located.
One wing has garage guest apartment, while there are four bedrooms in other two wings and the last one has an open plan living and dining room looking out to the pool.
Presenters Caroline Quentin and Piers Taylor visited the Dune House on their tour of Portugal
The shutters on side of the house reduce glare from the sun, while all the windows facing south to make the most of the rays of sun in winter.
Th architect opted to save on the decision of choosing furniture in the house, making the bed out of concrete along with the bathroom fixtures making it easier to clean.
Andre the house owner, a financier that lives there with his family said of the first time he laid eyes on the house: ‘It was very unusual.
‘And I remember the first impression I got was it was like a letter from some unknown alphabet but it made a lot of sense and it wasn’t very difficult to buy into the idea.’
Getaway: This home is located in the far north of Geres National Park, famed for its beauty
Set in the far north of Geres National Park, which is famous for its natural beauty and extremely popular with hikers and holiday makers, Casa Geres almost appears to grow out of the land.
The owner wanted somewhere that would be able to cope with cold weather and took advantage of the wooden landscape of the park.
Visitors have to walk all around the land to get to the house, coming across a natural steam before reaching the building, before having to go down set of huge steel stairs.
It is essentially a cabin perched on mountain on a concrete platform, made out of a lightweight combo of steel, timber and glass.
Huge glass doors open onto courtyard where a hottub sits, with a separate courtyard inside that divided the master bedroom from the other bedrooms and bathroom on the mezannine overlooking the living space below.
The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes airs tonight on BBC Two at 8pm