Maybe it’s the weather getting colder or my tan slowly fading, but I suddenly really miss the beach! It prompted me to write about a quick day trip I took to the beaches of Comporta and Tróia, found in the Alentejo region of Portugal. I wasn’t familiar with these beaches but had heard wonderful things about them. Giving ourselves only a day, we got up early and drove down to Comporta to see what all the fuss was about.
It was a hot, sunny day and the beach did not disappoint! The fine, nearly white sand beach is dotted with parasols and faces a distant coastline of the Parque Natural da Arrábida to one side. We enjoyed the beach for a couple of hours as well as the peace and tranquility away from Lisbon. I wish I could give you a report of the beach bar and restaurant there, but I always pack snacks to prevent the very scary “hanger” attacks I’m often prone to, so I ate my little picnic instead. Next time, however, you’ll find me sitting on those beach chairs with a cold drink in my hand and the other hand hiding the “Portuguese food baby” – a direct result of the tempting menu on display.
We made our way up the narrow peninsula to Tróia, which was easy to find. On the way, there are some Roman ruins, which I made a mental note to see when I’m not as rushed so I can thoroughly enjoy them. Tróia is much more developed than Comporta: it has a casino, numerous big hotels and apartment rentals, a golf course and even a theater. The restaurant-lined marina is gorgeous and I had loved picking out my “future boat” (the big one, of course) as I walked up and down the pier. I ate a delicious salad there whilst planning my next trip to the area, which will include a dolphin-watching trip and the Roman ruins. Don’t make the mistake I made of going to the beach near to the marina (Praia de Tróia). It was really crowded that day and not as nice as the beach in Comporta. Instead, go to Praia da Questa or Praia de Tróia-Galé, which are so much better.
You have two options to get across to the other side of the estuary and into Setúbal: if you’re on foot, there’s a ferry directly from the Tróia marina. If you’re driving, like I was, you have to drive out near the Roman ruins and take a car ferry. It’s easy, fast and really enjoyable being on the water, especially as you see Setúbal approaching. When in Setúbal, be sure to grab some chocos fritos (fried cuttlefish) – a local delicacy. I’ll be sure to write about the best places to eat chocos fritos once I’ve done more extensive research on the matter.
Dolphin watching and other boat tours: