Holidays in Portugal: the summer holidays we all need are in the Alentejo. And we all need it badly!
Holidays in the Alentejo: the summer holidays we all need!
Ah, holidays! Those blessed deserved and so desired… It’s starting to smell like summer and the desire for a good rest is proportional to the desire to drop everything and go, without looking back. 🙂 Especially at a time when we’re still understanding how reality works and the so-called “new normal”. Whatever that means.
So, what if I say holidays and Alentejo in the same sentence? Or: holidays and Costa Vicentina? We feel like going right now, don’t we? This is, of the holiday destinations in Portugal with beach, the one that most appeals to my heart!
Travel outside Portugal and outside Europe has suffered a downturn and the majority of the Portuguese are likely to go back to places to holiday in Portugal rather than to more distant or exotic destinations.
And how beautiful is Portugal, don’t you think?
Holidays in the Alentejo: the summer holiday we all need is on the Costa Vicentina
Like any other destination, the Vicentine Coast can be visited more than once, dozens of times even!, and still always find new treasures and secrets.
I suggest you take two weeks at least, but if you have less time, go anyway. You won’t regret it! Summer days are sunny and ideal for the beach, swimming pool, walks, and lots of rest. Take the opportunity to do some hiking trails or bike rides.
Ah, for those who, like me, like to record the experience and keep some memories (attention!, living them is more important than recording them!), I suggest you make a Travel Diary, you can use one like this one from Mr. Wonderful! 😍
Where to stay on the Costa Vicentina
A cool way to go around the Costa Vicentina is by car or motorhome, within the available stopping places, you can say that you stop and sleep where you want. To rent with discounts up to 20%, check here!
Another option that is also cheaper is to look for campsites or hostels, although without a reservation, it can be difficult to find a place to stay.
The option I suggest is to stay in more central locations, in this case, Grândola and Zambujeira do Mar, and go by car and/or bicycle to discover the treasures and secrets the coast has to offer.
Vila Center, Grândola
If you start from the north to the south of the Costa Vicentina, you have to try the Villa Center, in Grândola! The place is beautiful, the decor is a balance between elegance and tradition, it is located in the town center and opened its doors this month, what more could you ask for?
Tróia is only 46 km from the Villa Center and Comporta is 30 km away.
With accommodation in Grândola, you can easily move along the coast between Tróia and Sines.
Monte Soalheiro, Zambujeira do Mar
It has an outdoor pool, canal views and the property’s garden has century-old olive trees. There are 7 bedrooms with a private bathroom, dining room and living room with fireplace.
At Monte Soalheiro, guests can visit the center of the fishing village of Zambujeira do Mar 8 km away and taste the fish and seafood specialties served at the local restaurants. Bike hire is available at the property.
Enjoying the location, between Vila Nova de Mil Fontes and Aljezur, you can enjoy the beaches, the villages, and the wonderful food!
These are just a few suggestions, to choose the one that best suits your tastes and budget, Booking has many options available!
Holidays in the Alentejo: the summer holidays we all need! What to visit in Costa Vicentina
Try the regional restaurants
In the Alentejo they don’t play around with food, everything is delicious, to eat and cry for more. So, even if you’re on a low-cost holiday, set aside a small part of your budget to go to at least one of those restaurants on the coast and enjoy a fresh grilled fish (I’m drooling just thinking about it!) or, for those who like it (which isn’t my case :p ), seafood.
Our suggestion is the Restaurante/ Marisqueira Costa Alentejana, in Zambujeiro do Mar, which has fish and seafood, all fresh and all wonderful. But what you will never lack are options for good food and drink along your route along the Costa Vicentina.
Walking trails and cycling routes
There is a lot to see along the Vicentine Coast, not to mention the Alentejo as a whole.
Rota Vicentina is a private non-profit association that offers activities, trails, and routes for those who want to explore the Alentejo coast (or just part of it, come on!) on foot or by bicycle.
If you want to become a member and collaborate in this project you can do so here.
Practical side: it is at the southern end of the Troia Peninsula, has good access and parking space.
Less practical but no less important: it is a beautiful and well-preserved area, on the edge of the Sado Estuary Nature Reserve, great to spread out your towel and enjoy some sun and sea baths.
Access is via a dirt road and it is quite busy during the summer. The beach is spacious but not extensive, surrounded by high cliffs. I don’t surf, but from what I understand, it is very popular for this sport.
One of the worst-kept secrets of the Alentejo account is the wonderful Galé Beach! It seems to have an entrance only through the camping site, but there is a path parallel to the park that gives direct access to the beach. Be brave and save some energy for the return, because the climb is steep!
The beach is extensive and this is one of those beaches where it is really worth spending the day.
São Torpes Beach
Known as one of the beaches with the warmest water in Portugal, São Torpes beach is located next to the Sines Thermoelectric Power Station (that’s where the heat comes from!).
This is far from being the most beautiful beach you will find along the coast, but the sea is generally serene and inviting for swimming.
As Malato would say “I’ve been very happy in Porto Covo! It’s a typical village of the region, with whitewashed houses and people with open smiles. Spending two weeks here would be the easiest thing because the atmosphere is so inviting that you just want to practice the art of “being there”. Pay a visit to the surrounding beaches, such as Praia Grande, Praia Pequena, Praia do Banho and Praia do Espingardeiro.
There are visits to Ilha do Pessegueiro (reminiscent of the Rui Veloso tune “there was a peach tree on the island…”), but they are by appointment only. If you’re not available, enjoy the view from here, which is also lovely.
Another paradise on earth and ideal for those seeking a good spot to quietly be in contact with nature and appreciate the biodiversity that this beach provides to its visitors.
Situated about half a kilometer from Almograve, the beach is shallow and extensive, at low tide temporary natural pools often form, and at high tide, the sea can be rough.
This is the westernmost point of the Costa Vicentina. Once again: breathtakingly beautiful and with one of those breathtaking views. Be careful, as it is a place of steep cliffs and where the sea is merciless! Cabo Sardão is the place where storks nest and here the law of nature rules and we must all respect it.
“By the cliffs, you can admire the veins embedded in the rocky walls, the islets sown here and there along the coast, the many couples of white stork that only here, and only on this coast, have chosen their nesting place. In the rest of Europe you can find them, but further inland. Among the typical birds of this region, and if you are attentive, you will also see peregrine falcons, red-tailed magpies, and more rarely blackcaps.”
It is more than 100 km along the coast, from Porto Covo to Burgau (Algarve), where you will find unique native flora and fauna. The cliffs are spectacularly angular and colored, the result of corrosion over time.
Elected one of the 7 wonders, in the category of Arriba Beaches, this beach does justice to this distinction. Already within the Algarve, but still knowing the Costa Vicentina, it can even be busy, but nothing compared to other beaches in the Algarve.
Easy to access, it’s possible to get a panoramic view from the top of the cliff right on arrival. The day goes by quickly and the sunset here is one of those moments that makes you forget the rest of the world.