A few weeks ago, in mid-September, Mark and I visited one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. We’d booked to stay in Pestana Eco Lodges just outside of Comporta which is on the Tróia Peninsula of Portugal. Just over 1 hour’s drive from Lisbon. For 3 days and 3 nights, we had the most amazing time with our friends (another couple and their 9 month baby).
A Stay in an Eco Lodge
Pestana Eco Lodges is a gated community situated approximately 10 minutes drive from Troia town. With a public swimming pool, a pizza restaurant and a gym on site it had everything we needed on our stay. Not that any of us used the gym!!
Our Eco Lodge was absolutely perfect. 4 double bedrooms (2 more than we actually needed), a plunge pool and a huge kitchen/diner/lounge area. All decked out in furniture from IKEA. We couldn’t have asked for more. To access the beach required a very quick walk through a wooded area and over sand dunes via a wooden board-walk. This reminded me of something you would see on an American beach (anyone seen Dear John or The Affair?!). The beach is protected by a fence with a key code lock. This prevents any old Tom, Dick or Harry entering the eco lodge community from the beach. Once through, you are treated to pure white, soft sand and waves crashing on the shore. The shoreline stretches for as far as the eye can see which just makes this beach even more stunning.
A beach hut cafe next to the beach was perfect for a cooling beverage and the food looked delicious too. I had a delicious Hendricks G&T (which came in a HUGE glass) whilst overlooking the beach. Pure bliss. We visited for a drink on our first afternoon and returned on our last day with the hope of grabbing some lunch but it had unfortunately shut for the season the day before!
The name Comporta, roughly translated, means a gate that holds back water. The town of Comporta is really small. Blink and you’ll miss it type thing. When most people talk about Comporta they really mean the peninsula in which it sits. Known for it’s rice paddies and herons that fly overhead, this area of the world was a place that peaked my curiosity as soon as we arrived. We went to Comporta for dinner on our first night, finding a local bar where we sat with the sun setting behind us drinking the local Comporta rose.
The restaurant we had wanted to try was unfortunately shut so we ended up in another local one where fresh fish dominated the menu. The boys shared a grilled Golden Fish (they got to pick the one they wanted and it was BBQ’ed before our eyes) I opted for prawn spaghetti which was so tasty. When we arrived we were the only diners but by the time we left the place was heaving with locals. Of course, we were in Portugal, a place where dinner isn’t eaten until at least 9pm!
I’m not sure if it’s because we visited at the end of the season, but the whole peninsula was deadly quiet. From Comporta at the beginning of the peninsula, to Troia at the end it’s almost 17km (about an 18 minute drive) and for the 3 days we were there I believe we didn’t see more than 30 cars. The same goes for people too. I LOVED it.
Troija Town and Comporta Beach
We visited Troija town twice. Once to purely get a supermarket stock shop in and also to have a little wander around. All the buildings are very new and there didn’t seem to be much culture/ vibe about the place. There is a casino and a marina too. I would be interested to know what it’s like in high season as the place was pretty quiet when we went!
For our last day we went for lunch at Comporta Beach at a restaurant called Ilha Do Arroz. We had heard good things about this place before we went and weren’t disappointed. It is set on the beach with an outside veranda to each al fresco whilst listening to the waves in the background. We ordered lots of different tapas bits to start (arancini balls, chorizo and bread) and then for main, Mark and I shared the biggest pot of risotto ever! The menu said it was for 2 people but could’ve easily fed twice as many. Great food and great atmosphere.
Pizza, Beach, Wine, Sunset
One of the best evenings we spent on the beach with takeaway pizza from the on-site restaurant at Pestana. We drank wine and watched the most incredible sunset with no one else around. It’s something that I will remember always.
Comporta and the Troia Peninsula is very up and coming. I am tipping it as one of THE hottest places to visit right now. In 10 years time I can imagine that the place will be booming with hotels, restaurants and tourists. So get if you’re thinking of going then get in there quick to enjoy it in all it’s unspoilt beauty.
This was just my second time visiting Portugal (read about my mini-break to Lisbon earlier this year here) but the country has drawn me into it’s charms. We are planning on visiting Porto and the Douro Valley next! Do you prefer visiting quiet places full of locals? Or do you like being surrounded by other tourists when you go away?