“This cool European beach town is the Hamptons of Portugal” according to Fodors Travel – it is also where some of our top luxury vacation rentals in Portugal are located and it’s perfect for family and beach holidays or just slowing down!
Celebs, Fishermen & Artists
Comporta on Portugal’s west coast just south of Lisbon, has been compared to Ibiza and St. Tropez, even with a sprinkling of its own celebs like Madonna, Christian Louboutin and Phillipe Starck. But it is much more than that! Despite its popularity with artists and trendsetters alike attracted by its understated stylish atmosphere, the area remains pretty unspoilt.
The Comporta region sits within a protected nature reserve where the Sado river meets the ocean, offering a picturesque rustic scene of fishermen thatched cabanas, rice farming and quaint wooden boats. Like the extraordinary fisherman’s quay at Carrasqueira, built on rather rickety wooden stilts that stretch out hundreds of meters into the estuary. And the storks that make their nests on just about every possible chimney or electric pole available.
This is an uncomplicated place for enjoying the simple things and living at a slower pace. Like local artist Carole Delachaux who draws inspiration from the peaceful rural and beach lifestyle and creates charming pictorial drawings of Comporta and its surrounds. You can follow her on Instagram (@delachauxcarole).
Washed clean by Atlantic tides, one long stretch of golden sandy beach comprises Praia da Comporta, Praia do Carvalhal and Praia do Pego, each named according to the nearest village and each featuring its very own chilled beach bar and restaurant.
The beach most closely located to the village of Comporta village, also hosts the Comporta Café (Tel +351 265 497 652), a beach bar and restaurant with all-night-long high-season Friday and Saturday parties.
You will find two typical beach restaurants on Carvalhal beach: D. Dinis (Tel +351 265 497 023) serves outstanding fresh grilled fish and Tobias (Tel +351 265 490 236) whose house speciality is seafood rice.
On Pego beach, Sal (Tel +351 265 490 129) looks towards the Serra da Arrábida in the distance and has recently been awarded the title of “world’s best beach restaurant” by Conde Nast Traveller. It has a trendy atmosphere and is open for lunch and dinner, but it also hosts some unforgettable sunset parties on a regular basis throughout the summer. Right next door to Sal and perfect for kids is Sal Burger.
Apart from the main beach bars, there is good range of cheap and cheerful local cafés and bars as well as more refined eateries to choose from, which are generally open all summer long and during the weekends outside the high season.
Comporta versus Carvalhal shops
Fancy a bit of retail therapy under the Comporta sun?
At the heart of Comporta village there is a collection of seasonal boutiques where you can find inexpensive and good quality brands and essential beach chic accessories, you just can’t live without! Plus cafes and bars and a few food shops too, like Gomes, the best supermarket of the region with a good assortment of gourmet products (Tel +351 265 497 177).
Meanwhile on the main street of Carvalhal, there are two must-stop-by home décor shops: the Stork Club by Jacques Grange, featuring colourful and irreverent stock; and Barracuda offering mid-century design with some added Alentejo flair! There are also a couple of bric-a-brac or “velharias” (old stuff) stores in the village, where you might just find a very special Comporta memento to take back home.
Going back to the fishermen of Comporta, there are a couple fresh fish and seafood suppliers selling direct to the public: Loja du Peixe at Carvalhal village (Tel +351 914 739 404) or Ismael at Carrasqueira (Tel +351 265 497 275 & 912 599 873)
And must you stop at the roadside stalls to get your ripe and juicy watermelon (as well as other season fruit and veg), direct from the local farmers!
What else can you do in Comporta?
You can hire bikes to cycle from beach to beach or even kayaks for venturing onto the canals between rice paddies, as well go horse riding through Cavalos na Areia, located at Torre between Muda and Comporta. (Tel +351 919 002 545/www.cavalosnaareia.com).
At Surf in Comporta you can learn to surf or book a stand-up paddle session at the nearby Melides lagoon. (Tel +351 962 475 961 & 967 566 192/www.surfincomporta.com).
And the Troia Golf Course designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr is as demanding as it is scenic! (Tel +351 265 494 024/Email email@example.com)!
But if there are any kids in your party, you might take them wild dolphin watching on the Sado estuary organized by Vertigen Azul located at Troia. (Tel +351 265 238 000/www.vertigemazul.com).