The Alentejo coastline is renowned for the quality and purity of its immense white sand beaches. The sunny weather and Mediterranean gastronomy makes the region an appetizing destination to anyone. Especially if you are looking to escape the constant motion of urban life and refuge in the peace and quiet of Portuguese coast.
However, this doesn’t mean that your adventurous spirit has to be set aside during your stay in the area. The iconic region is fortunately covered with all variety of optortunities and facilities able to provide you a pleasant time. With that in mind, we will help you uncover some of these secrets so you have the best options while planning your holidays!
12 things to do in the Alentejo coast
If you intend on being active, there’s a growing surfing scene in the Alentejo coast. Just some miles south of Comporta, in Carvalhal, the beach is perfect for beginners and the experienced alike. Surf in Comporta handles the local surf school and is the perfect pick for people wanting to slide through the waves. The school deals with students of all ages and levels and all the classes occur in the same Carvalhal beach, which is a candidate for the Seven Wonders of Portugal in the beach category.
In the other hand, if your sport type is more of meditation rather than radical, choose Comporta Yoga Shala. This centre offers classes in a beautiful setting, a cottage overlooking the rice fields spreading throughout the plains between Comporta and the nearby beaches. The class schedule is set twice in the morning and only during summer months.
3. Horseback Riding
Another highlight of this beautifully area is horseback riding. An activity sought out by celebrities who come here for their spiritual retreats that is a perfect way to get close to the surrounding nature. Cavalos na Areia, near Comporta village, grants the opportunity of experiencing a bonding journey with these magnificent animals. The horses are part of the tradition and heritage of this land and will help you discovering the breath-taking views of the immense rice fields and the coastline. Surely, an activity to form memories for a lifetime.
4. Dolphin Watching Tour and Sado River Cruises
Since we’re talking about fauna, the Sado Estuary is classified as a Nature Reserve. That means the estuary is an environmental hotspot of importance for the local ecosystem. Such proximity to wildlife makes a fantastic pretext to engage in animal watching. The most popular option in Sado waters is dolphin watching. Both Vertigem Azul and Sado Arrábida organise boat trips to sight the impressive maritime mammals and from a privileged standpoint. On top of it all, if weather permits, the boats may anchor for a while so that you can take a quick dive and freshen yourself in the calm waters.
5. Bird Watching
If you connect better to the air element than water, the Sado Estuary is also renowned for its ornithology. The estuary is one of the most important habitats in the Iberian Peninsula for the bird realm, with a large bird diversity to discover. Rotas do Sal does minivan tours all around the Estuary area going up to €15 for half a day or €30 a day (no lunch included) with the purpose of bird observation throughout the various lookout points of these beautiful wetlands.
6. Roman Ruins
For the history and culture enthusiasts, the coastal Alentejo region harboured many civilizations due to its favourable position and context. As a result, the heritage present in the land is plenty and waiting to be discovered. In the northernmost tip of the Tróia peninsula, the Romans left their mark in a decently sized settlement, the Cetobriga Roman Ruins. If the whole family is coming and one of your kids is celebrating their birthday during your vacation in Portugal, the site management throws themed parties for the younger ones!
7. Rice Museum
The Roman Ruins have a partnership with the Museu do Arroz, a homage to the dominating culture of the region, rice. Opened in 2011 replacing the old rice peeling factory, the museum tells the story of the life of the working class in the factory through videos, photos, texts and machinery in permanent exhibition. Closes only on Mondays and the entrance costs only €2 per person.
8. Wine Tasting
Take the chance of being in the famous Herdade da Comporta to enjoy the simplest pleasures of life and taste one of the best products Portugal has to offer – our wine. The estate holds daily visits to its renowned wine cellar for €5. If you’re more interested in developing your palate, wine tasting is also part of the menu and can be accompanied with bread, cheese and a selection of enchidos (portuguese sausages), in order to have a full experience. Prices ranging from €12 to €22.
9. Summer Market
In Comporta village is located the Casa da Cultura da Comporta. This place was formerly a barn, a cinema, and even a dorm for the workers of rice fields, but now hosts a local market. Summer Market, gathers products from fifteen regional brands that will, surely, catch the eye if you wish to bring home a little piece of Alentejo. The space also holds temporary exhibits and it’s available to be rent out for private events.
9. Safari Park
There are also options for entertainment to the whole family! Badoca Safari Park, between Vila Nova de Santo André and Santiago do Cacém, is a savannah themed location boasting a considerable variety of African animals. These wild animals are observable in a number of ways: through the standard Adventure Safari, an intimate way of getting closer to all the wildlife in their most natural state; the African Rafting, in which a boat and rapid waters are the stars of an immersive journey promising freshness and proximity to nature; or even the Tropical and African Forests, a maze of trees dotted with all kinds of colourful birds set to bring smiles to kids and adults alike. Prices between 15€ and 18€.
10. Trampoline Park
If safaris aren’t your thing, there’s a fun way of getting all that energy out: take your children to Urban Planet Jump, in Setúbal’s Alegro Shopping Mall. This is the place for a world of bouncing and joyful playing in the foam pits, hexagon park or even slam dunking! The price per hour is between €6 and €11.
11. DIY Bike Tour
With such impressive landscapes, both on the Atlantic coast and the Sado riverside, Comporta is the perfect scenery to enjoy a Do It Yourself Bike Tour. Hire a bike – available in several areas including Soltroia – and uncover the trails and paths of the region. A ride between Soltroia and Troia or Comporta village and Carrasqueira does not disappoint.
12. Stilt Pier
At last, but not least, spend some time to go visit the Stilt Pier (Cais Palafítico) in the fishermen village of Carrasqueira, some miles northeast of Comporta. It’s the largest of its kind in Europe, extending through hundreds of meters in the Sado Estuary waters. Its unique setting, combining elements of Portuguese fishing tradition and light reflected upon the calm river, turns it into a very popular location for professional photography productions. For the lovers of this art, the pier offers remarkable mementos of their time in the Alentejo region.