Thanks to few hotels, the conservation area of Comporta, which is located only one driving hour south of Lisbon, has not yet developed into a Tourist magnet. This is one of the main reasons why it has remained so beautiful and why you should definitely go visit this place very soon.
This trip is full of joy, because it starts in Lisbon and also ends in Lisbon.
And journeys that begin and end in Lisbon are wonderful as a matter of course. The Portuguese capitol always gives you the feeling that the world is still a place of harmony. Lisbon is so charming and assessable, there are houses with colourful tiles, a regular coffee costs 1,80 Euros and you get the feeling that there is room for creativity around every corner– especially in the hotel industry…
For this reason our first recommendation for this trip is to first spend three days in Lisbon.
The larger families should stay in the Baixa House, younger and smaller families should stay at the brand new, The Lisboans and the architects, art gallery owners and people looking for tranquility might want to choose one of the beautiful and exclusive suites of the new Santa Clara 1728.
Of course all three places are real jewels and absolutely Pretty Hotels.
The second tip of this journey: After three days in Lisbon, rent a car. You should not get the car at the airport, but rather at the harbour of Santa Apolonia (at the airport you can wait up to two hours to get a car, but in this little Europcar branch you can have it in two minutes). Guests who are staying at Santa Clara 1728 can even walk down on foot, because it’s simply a matter of 500 metres.
Afterwards you cruise down to paradise by passing the enormous Vasco da Gama Bridge and driving south through wonderful alleys right down into Comporta.
But don`t get us wrong here: Comporta itself is not that spectacular. Even the neighbouring towns and villages are quite sleepy. Occasionally you see a small house that can be rented, here and there a few roaming animals and also a few small restaurants and bars. And the sea, the gigantic Atlantic Ocean, can’t be seen at first, because the water and the beach is hiding behind a big dam.
However, if you follow the signs to the “Praia” (beach), you will be well rewarded. It`s like walking into paradise: A beach the size of 200 football pitches, white-yellow sand everywhere, hardly any people and two really quiet and lovely beach restaurants playing low Ibiza sounds from their loudspeakers (e.g.Book of Love, Felix Daehn).
You order a Café Cortado and think: there’s actually nothing going on and that is just perfect.
A few years ago the luxury hotel chain Aman had big plans to build a large resort here. The bulldozers had even arrived, but the building site is still abandoned. Anyone looking for a hotel here has to do some intensive research to find one. There are however a few small ones and one outstanding one: The Sublime Comporta.
But the real hidden gems can be found a bit further away on the other side of the bay. Joao Rodrigues, who is also the owner of Santa Clara 1728, created two genuine works of art here, together with his friend the architect Manuel Aires Mateus. Casas na Areia, an ensemble made up of five buildings, which are best rented by large groups or families.
There is a main building with a kitchen, dining area and living room. The floor in this house is made up of sand. In addition there are three other buildings for up to a total of eight people. There’s even a small pool and the feeling of taking a holiday away from tourism by being right in the middle of a conservation area. The only bummer: The main beach is a mere 15 minutes by car.
Only 500 metres away from Casas na Areia, Joao Rodrigues und Manuel Aires Mateus erected the two huts Cabanas no Rio. The lie on a river delta of the bay and they are a little bit more rustic and also quite a bit smaller.
Well, to be honest, they are tiny.
One of the huts is for sleeping, the other for cooking and “surviving”. It’s a kind of tiny luxury camping just without the safari the next day. A bonus is that you can start paddling a canoe from directly in front of the building into the bay (which doesn’t belong to one of the most picturesque, because in places you are looking at the industry town of Setubal).
THE PERFECT TRIP
Fly to Lisbon, then spend three days there at A Cevicheria and dine in one of José Avillez`s restaurants. In the evening have a drink in one of the many rooftop bars (the current popular ones can be found on top of a parking garage – it is called Park Bar – enjoy the sunset and, of course, stay in one of the three Pretty Hotels:
After that a week at the beach in Comporta.
Europcar Santa Apolonia
Avenida Infante Dom Henrique 1149
Dining in Comporta
All pictures: @Pretty Hotels