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Comporta: Portugal's Under-the-Radar Beach Getaway

Portugal is a land of pleasures - delicious food and wine, beautifully tiled walls, palaces, port, and also pristine beaches. As Portugal grows in popularity, Comporta is the beach retreat you will love to find and want to keep secret so it stays less crowded. How soon can you pack your bags? 

Excerpt below from 5/2/2024 Virtuoso article by Georgina Lawton can found here. 

 

Comporta, Portugal – a pocket of rice paddies, white-sand beaches, windswept dunes, and natural waterways – may not seem like an obvious celebrity getaway, but George Clooney, Christian Louboutin, and Gwyneth Paltrow will tell you otherwise. The fishing village, about an hour’s drive south of Lisbon, attracts a steady stream of A-listers and designers, who’ve fallen in love with the area’s laid-back vibe. While the landscape remains wild and the vibe unpretentious (showing up to dinner barefoot is de rigueur), it’s easy now to find trendy ateliers, high-design overnights, and incredible beachfront seafood restaurants.

 

Comporta’s Wild Attractions

 

Comporta is part of the Herdade da Comporta, a stretch of coastline and seven surrounding small fishing villages. The area calls to nature lovers and beach bums year-round – summer is prime time, of course, but temps rarely drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. To see and be seen, head to Comporta Beach; for fewer crowds, drive 15 minutes south to rice-paddy-bordered Carvalhal Beach, a popular site for surfing, swimming, and horseback riding. Pego Beach is another uncrowded beauty.

For a break from the ocean, plan for an afternoon at the Sado Estuary Nature Reserve in Setúbal to spy pink flamingos, bottlenose dolphins, and more than 200 species of birds. Pro tip: Ask your Virtuoso travel advisor to arrange a guided boat tour or e-bike rentals, the best ways to get around the reserve.

 

Where to Eat, Drink, and Shop

 

Seafood is central here. At Comporta Café, a sleek beach club edged with colorful hammocks, guests savor black squid-ink rice and sushi alongside an extensive wine list and a DJ spinning house music. Nearby Dona Bia serves crispy fish fritters and razor-clam soup on white tablecloths, while Cavalariça’s menu skews more meat-heavy, featuring plates of Ibérico pork and steak tartare presented in a barnlike space filled with white wooden booths. On Carvalhal Beach, Restaurante Sal is a popular spot for fresh seafood and great cocktails, including its signature Spicy Sal, made with tequila, Cointreau, mango, and curry. 

 

Throughout Comporta, travelers have their pick of hippie-chic boutiques, gourmet grocers, and vibrant homeware shops. Rice, run by Lisbon-based interior designer Marta Mantero, is one of the most well-known home stores, teeming with custom ceramics, patterned textiles, and brightly colored prints. At Norwegian expat Cathrine Austad’s Lavanda, expect a tightly curated selection of handmade Portuguese linen, baskets, and housewares.

 

Comporta Hotels: Our Favorite Place to Stay

 

In Grândola, a 30-minute drive south of Comporta, the 45-room Sublime Comporta stays open year-round. In summer, lounge by one of its three pools; or in autumn, grab a loaner bike to pedal out and picnic beneath one of the 17-acre hotel’s pine and cork trees. Guest rooms and cabana-style villas (which sit on stilts above a swimmable natural pool), were designed to resemble Comporta’s classic fishermen’s huts. The property’s Sem Porta restaurant specializes in contemporary Portuguese fare, featuring vegetables sourced from an on-site organic garden. Sublime’s beach club, a ten-minute drive away on Carvalhal Beach, is the best excuse to leave your suite. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 hotel credit. 

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