Portugal is really having its time in the limelight. The tiny Iberian nation is finally getting the global recognition it deserves for its gorgeous coastline, world-class dining, and delicious wines that will have you asking for mais um (one more) over and over again. And while its capital city of Lisbon tends to get the most attention, as someone who lives here, I’ll let you in on a little secret: One of Portugal’s best assets is actually about an hour south, in the tiny coastal town of Comporta.
The village, located in the district of Setúbal, is small by every measure. It has fewer than 1,500 full-time residents and is just about 50 square miles (129.49 square kilometres) in size, most of which is made up of coastline. It may even remind you of the charming seaside destinations of the Northeastern United States, with many calling it the “Hamptons of Portugal.” Here’s what you need to know to plan an epic trip to this stunning beachside town in Portugal right now.
Plan a trip to this charming beachside town in Portugal
What to know about Comporta
Like we said, it’s small, so don’t expect a ton going on here during a visit. But really, isn’t that the kind of quiet, relaxing getaway we’re all looking for these days anyway? Another thing to note is public transit here is essentially nonexistent, so if you fly into Lisbon, it’s best to rent a car at the airport and drive to Comporta so you have a way to easily get around while you’re here. The drive should take about an hour and change.
When to visit Comporta
Things tend to heat up in the region starting in early May, when the average highs reach about 74°F (23.33 degrees Celsius), according to WeatherSpark. Things stay toasty through the end of October, but only really cool down to the low 60s (15.55 degrees Celsius) during the winter. Yes, the summers are warm and delightful but don’t overlook the shoulder seasons in April and November, when temperatures can still be balmy, but there are far fewer fellow tourists.
Things to do in Comporta
Visit Praia da Comporta
If you’re planning a trip to this town in Portugal, odds are your main objective is to hit the beach. So, it’s a good idea to head straight to Praia da Comporta. In the summer, it’s a rather lively space, with locals and tourists alike filling every inch of sand. Here visitors can find cafes and restaurants that are ready to serve you something tasty right on the beach, alongside surf schools that will have you going from novice to experienced paddler in one lesson flat. There is plenty of parking at the beach, but you’ll still want to try to get there early to snag a prime spot.
Boat through Sado Estuary Natural Reserve
Plan a trip to Comporta, a charming town in Portugal and walk into an animal paradise with a visit to the Sado Estuary Natural Reserve. Here, visitors can gaze upon a massive flock of pink flamingos gently dipping their beaks into the water or spot a pod of dolphins meandering by. One of the best ways to experience this reserve is via boat, so you too can find yourself among the aquatic life and spot the more than 250 bird species (including herons, kingfishers, and those above-mentioned flamingos) that call this gorgeous place home.
Go horseback riding
Plan a trip to Comporta, a charming town in Portugal and see it from a slightly elevated perspective by booking a highly sought-after horseback ride with Cavalos na Areia (which translates to “horse in the sand”). During the ride, guests will traverse several landscapes, including desert lands and rice fields, to reach the soft, sandy beach, where they can gallop right along the water’s edge, just like a scene straight out of a romance novel. Not feeling the gallop? Trips are tailored to every kind of rider, so a nice, leisurely walk is just as welcome.
Bike through the rice paddies
Those wanting to adventure through Comporta without the help of an animal can do just that with a little pedal power. Snag an e-bike from places like Comporta Electric Bikes and cruise from one end to the next, including through some of its gorgeous rice paddies found just about everywhere in town. Need more direction? Book a tour with Cool Explorers, who will happily show you around the community.
Quinta da Comporta
Have a bohemian stay by booking a few nights at Quinta da Comporta. The hotel, which overlooks the rice fields, comes with nature-inspired rooms filled with neutral tones and natural materials. Groups can book its one- or two-bedroom townhouses or its three-bedroom private pool villas, while couples can enjoy the simple suites. Just make sure to take a dip in its solar-heated pool, which stretches on for more than 130 feet.
Find yourself in the midst of 42 private acres of pristine land at Sublime Comporta. The hotel is a design lover’s paradise, with an ultra-clean aesthetic that will have you snapping pic after pic for Instagram. Choose between its rooms and suites, or go for a bio-suite, which overlooks one of the largest bio-pools in all of Europe. Don’t leave before dining in one of its restaurants, including the organic, farm-fresh plates at The Food Circle and its hyper-local Tasca da Comporta, a seasonal outdoor restaurant serving Portuguese classics.
Easy breezy is the best way to describe Spatia Comporta. The hotel is designed so guests feel an easy flow between the inside and out, with massive floor-to-ceiling windows and doors to heighten the experience. Its Mediterranean-style design and landscaping keep things simple, while its all-white rooms and villas keep things chic. Guests can take advantage of a multitude of services here too, from grocery delivery straight to their villa to readily available bikes, laundry service, in-villa dining, and even pickleball paddles when they want to work up a sweat.
How to get to Comporta
The simplest way to get to Comporta is to hop on a flight to Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado Airport, which has regular direct flights from destinations around Europe, as well as direct flights from Boston, New York City, Miami, San Francisco, Chicago, and more. Then, rent a car and make the one-hour drive down the A2. Do opt for the pre-paid toll option, as toll roads are abundant across Portugal.
(Hero and feature image credit: Santiago Urquijo/Getty Images)
This story first appeared on travelandleisure.com