Alentejo is a paradise that sits between the bustling city that is Lisbon and a busy and sunny Algarve, offering miles of uninterrupted coastline, with yellow sandy beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see.
My childhood summers were spent in Porto Covo, an idyllic seaside village, where shoes were best left at home, and children roamed free without any worry, bar an ice-cream spill here and there. With memories like this, it’s no surprise that it holds a very dear place in my travel heart.
We used to spend our summer days eating croissants at the town’s main bakery, exploring the various beaches, daring each other to swim to the big rock island, staying out until the very early hours playing cards and fussbal, and repeat. For over 2 months we did this. It really was freedom – we made friends for life and memories that will stay with us forever.
The care-free atmosphere still rules this small coastal town, though it hasn’t been completely safe from the tourism boom felt in the last 20 years. The main square is exactly the same as before, and I’m pretty sure you can still buy the same home-made jewellery as I did 15 years ago.
Best avoided in the busy Summer months, if you’re lucky enough to visit in Spring or Autumn you’ll be rewarded with a quiet and quaint village, deserted beaches, and small coves perfect for exploring.
TIP: If you’re a walker, or want to explore the local nature more in-depth, you should try to walk the stretch of the Rota Vicentina that covers Porto Covo.
You can camp, rent a house, an apartment or stay at a hostel in this quaint Alentejo town. The food is always great, the fish straight out of the water, and the croissants a must on a Saturday morning. Visit Vila Nova de Milfontes, Ilha do Pessegueiro and try to go to all the surrounding beaches – each more beautiful than the other.
Porto Covo is only just over 2 hours from Lisbon, and well-worth your while – I really can’t think of a much better place for a relaxing and fun family beach holiday in Portugal.