The Best Things to Do in Comporta, Portugal

Escape the tourist-filled beaches and head to the tranquil Praia do Carvalha
Escape the tourist-filled beaches and head to the tranquil Praia do Carvalha | © Stuart Black / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Siobhan Grogan
22 September 2021

Trendy barefoot restaurants and wildlife-packed nature reserves are among the best things to do in relaxed but chic Comporta. Here are the best things to do while you’re there – just let’s keep it our little secret.

Swerve the Algarve’s packed-out tourist traps and find your own piece of Portuguese paradise in this wildly beautiful beach town, an hour’s drive from Lisbon. Surrounded by verdant rice fields, pine forests and the wild Atlantic coast, the area is adored by under-the-radar celebrities seeking a bolthole.

Praia da Comporta

Natural Feature
Map View
Praia da Comporta in afternoon sun, Comporta, Troia peninsula, Setubal district, Lisbon region, Portugal, Europe
© Stuart Black / Alamy Stock Photo

Grab a candy-coloured bean bag from the bar on the sand and sit back and watch the kite surfers who love this beach in the south of the Troia peninsula. Hidden behind pine forests and windswept sand dunes, this is the trendiest beach in the area so you can expect sunbathing with all the trimmings – rustic thatched parasols, two hip barefoot restaurants where you can dine with feet in the sand, not to mention DJs and cocktails at the beach bar.

Praia do Pego

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People dining on the outdoor terrace at Restaurante Sal, a popular seafood restaurant right on the beach in Praia do Pego, Carvalhal, Portugal
© Glen Pearson / Alamy Stock Photo

Foodies in flip-flops flock to this bleached-white beach to feast at Sal, a restaurant in a stilted hut on the sand. It’s worth dining here just to sit on the wraparound alfresco deck and take in knockout views of the crashing waves, revealing passing dolphins if you’re really lucky. But it’s the simple, fresh seafood that makes this a hot-spot – it’s known for mountains of clams, flavour-packed ceviche and ice-cold bottles of local wine.

Península de Troia

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Beach bar on Praia da Comporta in afternoon sun, Comporta, Troia peninsula, Setubal district, Lisbon region, Portugal, Europe
© Stuart Black / Alamy Stock Photo

No need to choose one postcard-perfect beach for your well-earned holiday. Hire a car and make the most of the entire Troia Peninsula instead, an 18km (11mi) stretch of coastline so spectacular it seems transported straight from the Maldives. Winding between the Sado estuary and the Atlantic Ocean, it’s a treasure trove of laid-back seafood restaurants, traditional fishing huts on stilts, deserted beaches and all sorts of activities from wine tasting to dolphin-watching.

Praia da Raposa

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For a real Robinson Crusoe moment, head to this gloriously secluded beach also known as Pinheiro da Cruz. It can only be reached by walking from the neighbouring beaches of Pego and Aberta Nova, so most people just don’t bother. That means you’re likely to be the only person making footprints in the powder-fine sand as you head straight to the calm waters for a dip. There’s no restaurant or loungers of course – but don’t let that put you off.

Sado Estuary Natural Reserve

Natural Feature, Park
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© Mauricio Abreu / Alamy Stock Photo

Drag yourself away from the waterfront to explore the vast protected expanse of wetlands by the coast. Flamingoes, otters, dolphins and over 250 bird species call it home, with a boat trip the best great way to spot them. Outdoorsy types are spoilt for choice too, with cycling trails zig-zagging through luscious green forest and hikes past marshes, rice paddies and surprise sheltered coves, perfect for cooling off.

Praia de Tróia-Galé

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Kids in tow? They can paddle to their heart’s content in the shallow waters of this golden-hued beach, untroubled by waves and manned by lifeguards in the summer. When they need time out of the sun, it’s an easy wander to the nearby marina for cafes, welcome ice creams and even boat trips to the Sado Reserve. Not to be confused with Galé Beach in the Algarve, it’s the stuff of family holiday fantasies.

Carvalhal Beach

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Praia do Carvalhal
© Stuart Black / Alamy Stock Photo

You’ll be in great company if you bring your surfboard to this dreamy beach south of Praia da Comporta, where perfect conditions bring surfers racing towards the water. If you’re more of the paddling type, you won’t be disappointed either as this Blue Flag beach has a wide stretch of sand sheltered by undulating dunes, lifeguards on duty and a couple of idyllic restaurants for long, lazy lunches.

After relaxing on these beaches, you might want to head back to some action – stay in one of Lisbon’s best boutique hotels, now bookable via Culture Trip. Explore the city by day and then spend an evening sipping on local wines in these bars. Why not also discover more of Portugal and visit Sintra, with these top hotels waiting for you.

These recommendations were updated on September 22, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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