A secret slice of idyllic Portugal can be all yours if you book one of these fine properties, and it’s an absolute cinch with Culture Trip.
The Tróia Peninsula is a special place indeed – picture a long tongue-like stretch of sand protruding into a bottle-green Atlantic bay in the Alentejo region in southern Portugal. Stays are serene and bucolic – almost guaranteed to deliver cinematically lovely views over coves and dune-backed strands, rugged capes and cliffs. The sun sets romantically over the ocean, where dolphins are known to put on a (natural) show. Here’s where to book – best done via Culture Trip.
This is one of the more luxurious affairs in Tróia, secluded among swathes of private pine woodlands, with indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, saunas and a Turkish bath. Rooms and villas do their designer best – picture neo-Frank Lloyd Wright cubes in warm woods and glass. Interiors are bright and spacious, with a cream colour palette, floor tiles and ample lounge and kitchen spaces. Paths lead to one of the least spoilt beaches in the region, Praia Atlântica, which stretches long and broad. You’ll feel like it’s all yours.
It’s all about the views at the Tróia Design Hotel – the best of which are from the sea-view suites above the 10th floor, which overlook the Tróia Marina, the shimmering bay and the forest-clad hills around Setúbal. They are big enough for families, with two bedrooms, and feature contemporary light colour palettes, offset by soft beige furnishings and unassuming decorative art. Ready to explore? There are boat trips that depart from right outside the lobby. Restaurants, a scattering of shops and the dune-backed Praia Tróia Mar are all within a short walk.
This sprawling, family-centric beachside property is about as close as it gets to a mega-resort in Tróia. There are many room options – from studio apartments with bunks to two-bedroom suites big enough for a family, complete with kitchens and living rooms. The best choices – on the upper floors facing west – have sunset and ocean views from the balconies. The decor is clean with fresh neutral tones brightened by buttery sunlight spilling in through floor-high windows. Hotel facilities are excellent, with a spa, tennis courts, indoor and outdoor pools and a kid’s playground.
The little town of Sesimbra has about a half-moon bay of golden sand across the water from Tróia. The forested hills of Arrábida Natural Park rise above, and the rugged cliffs at Cabo Espichel – one of the westernmost points in Europe – drop to the roiling sea a few kilometres away. All rooms feature neutral tones and laminate woods and make the most of the setting – with private balconies pulling out the stops to deliver meditative ocean and beach views. Upgrade to a deluxe on the upper floor for a larger balcony and more lounge space; it’s worth every cent.
If the rustic beach hotels in Tróia seem quiet and restaurant options limited, this townhouse hotel in the heart of old Setúbal is a very respectable urban alternative. Empty sands are a 30-minute car-ferry ride across the bay, while the forests and bays around the Arrábida Natural Park are an easy drive away. Also, shops, bars and restaurants are a no-sweat stroll from the lobby. Rooms are compact, refreshingly done in whites, with arty wall panels inspired by azulejos (Portuguese tilework). The brightest and airiest have French windows opening onto Juliet balconies.
With celebrity-owned villas dotting its pine woodlands and the finest beaches in the region, Comporta is the Alentejo at its most exclusive. Don’t expect tons of facilities – the property sits on the edge of the quiet village, about a 10-minute drive from the beach. But you can always self-cater here as some of the wooden villas have fully equipped kitchens. Others come with private swimming pools in an open-plan condominium area overlooking rice fields. All-white, warm-timber interiors are big, bright and contemporary. All in all, it’s a friendly winner.
Head through the wrought-iron gates of the stately 17th-century Casa Palmela, and you’ll feel like distinguished guests in an aristocrat’s rural retreat. All around are the cork oak-covered hills of Arrábida Natural Park, while some beaches are about 10 minutes away by car. The rustic setting is idyllic – a relaxing composite of birdsong and bright stars – and the hotel has a pool with a sundeck as well as an impressive menu of excursions, including surfing and horse riding. The rooms to book are the suites, where heavy Edwardian furniture, chintzy cushions and ottomans are offset by understated modern colour palettes and plenty of fresh air and light.
Are you desperately seeking sand, sea and golf in Portugal? Thought it had to be the Algarve? Think again. The Montado sits behind an 18-hole, par-72 course with easy access to beaches, vineyards, lakes and cork oak forests. The location is a holidaymaker’s dream, with the photogenic Sado Estuary Natural Reserve a putt away and the nightlife of Setúbal a quick drive away. Rooms in neutral creams and greys occupy a large, modern glass-fronted building. They have golf-course views from the floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies, so sit back and switch off.
This is an updated rewrite of an article originally by Nina Santos.
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It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.