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The Tróia Peninsula is an 11-mile (18 kilometer) stretch of powder-white coast that surprisingly falls short from tourists’ radars and has been described as one of Portugal’s secret beach destinations. Sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Sado Estuary on the other, it fosters many nature-oriented activities, like bird- and dolphin-watching, but it’s also an excellent place to learn about ancient Portuguese history and a lavish hideaway for a luxuriously peaceful weekend. Perfect for a summer retreat with someone special or the entire family, and easy to reach from Lisbon, the Tróia Peninsula is a destination that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
The Tróia Peninsula’s most secluded spots are accessible by a short, 20-minute ferry ride across the Sado Estuary’s opening from Setúbal, 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of Lisbon, and allows easy vehicle transport for a fee of approximately €20 (£17.7), meaning it’s easier to take your car on the ferry than to drive around the peninsula. Once on the other side, a plethora of beaches (extending the length of the peninsula) and activities await you, the most obvious being the water sports, like swimming, boating, and windsurfing, and of course sunbathing.
The Tróia Peninsula is a destination where nature and luxury meet and blend together. Shortly after arriving, visitors can explore further than the white beaches and head towards the extensive pine forests, where they will be awarded with unique bird-watching opportunities. Flamingos and ibis are just two of the 100+ unique bird species that make their home along the Sado Estuary. Bringing a camera is a must, and photographers will have opportunities to snap images of more than 600 species plants and wildlife, from birds to reptiles and mammals, such as otters, marine invertebrates, and bottlenose dolphins. Other visitors, however, can turn their attention directly to the harborside casino, luxury accommodations, and the 18-hole Golf Championship Course, spanning an area of 1.5 acres (6,317 square meters) with coastal views.
It’s so peaceful that beach-seekers may feel like they’ve found their own private seaside paradise. The Tróia Peninsula extends approximately 11 miles (18 kilometers) from the ferry entrance to Comporta, a beautiful resort village at the strip’s base, and the thickest width barely reaches one mile (1.6 kilometers). Cycling and canoeing are two alternative ways to explore without a car, but the most romantic is easily on horseback, and prices vary by season.
Although there isn’t a bad time to visit, summer offers a full schedule of events. Until September, the main highlights include an open-air cinema on Saturday evenings and a street food festival (taking place daily until September 2). Days are filled with guided walking tours, beach sports, golfing, and tennis, dining on fresh seafood and traditional Portuguese and Mediterranean dishes, before easing into the evenings with musical sunsets and wine tastings.
The Tróia Peninsula is full of surprises and history-lovers will appreciate the ancient Roman Ruins. Made up of thermal baths, houses, a mausoleum and necropolis, the site is more than 2000 years old (dating as far back as the 1st century AD), and once the Roman world’s largest fish-salting center. Ticket prices to enter the ruins without a guide are €5 (£4.4) per person and entry hours vary by season.
Making up part of the Alentejo, the Tróia Peninsula is close to a plethora of regional delights and experiences. Hop back over to Setúbal and within minutes you’ll find yourself at one of Portugal’s largest and most popular fish markets, the Mercado do Livramento, a great place to see the culturally significant azulejo tiles, used as décor and adorning the market walls. Tróia is also close to locally favorite cheese production sites and vineyards.
In addition to the 5-star Troia Design Hotel, a sparkling beacon of luxury at the peninsula’s tip, there are 4-star resort hotels, villas, and lodges close to the casino, halfway between both ends, and around Comporta at the base, including one of the Alentejo’s most incredible hotels, the luxury resort Sublime.