Local’s Guide To Comporta: Portugal’s Coolest Beach Town

Just over an hour’s scenic drive south of Lisbon is a small, understated coastal village so discreet you might just miss it. To most this is a good thing because Comporta is one of Portugal’s most inconspicuous gems, where the A-listers and the elite go to be unseen and bask in the lazy, unhurried lifestyle underneath the southern sun.

Comporta is sometimes referred to as ‘The Hamptons of Lisbon’ not for its looks, more for the ambiance, and the fact it attracts some celebrated Portuguese and international faces. That being said, no such entitlement exists here, every welcome is warm and compassionate, entirely expected of the Portuguese who are kind and peaceful people by nature. But modestly hidden behind its protected dunes and amongst the sand-covered pine forests, Comporta houses many iconic architectural gems along the 13-mile coastal radius. Thanks to strict zoning laws Comporta continues to stay just as it should – verdant, undisturbed and pristine.

The best beaches in Comporta

Comporta days are all about slowing down, enjoying simple pleasures, and reconnecting with nature. One of the main drawcards to this coastal village is the beach: a 12km (7.5 mile) stretch of soft golden sand that cascades into the vibrant blue waters, which are somehow more azure here than elsewhere.

Punch the names Praia da Comporta, Praia da Torre, Praia do Carvalhal or Praia do Pego in your GPS to find four key access points to the open sands. Along the unspoiled coastline, over-the-top beach clubs are replaced with a small selection of cozy beach bars from Sal to Comporta Café offering simple yet refined fresh seafood delights. Everyone is welcomed warmly and treated indifferently here, and their sea-inspired cocktails never fail to quench the thirst on a sizzling summer’s day.

Comporta is a destination where wildlife is in abundance, its diverse terrain makes it a great spot for those with a love of nature and outdoor activities from sailing, surfing, and birdwatching. One of the most unique ways to experience Comporta’s beach is by horseback. Cavalos na Areia lead horseback rides across rice fields, through pine forest and over sand dunes. Finally you’ll reach the long paradisiacal stretch of the Atlantic coast, and together with your horse you’ll feel the cool ocean breeze and splash of incoming waves as you canter along the shore.

Read next… The Epic Hot List: The Must-Do Experiences in Portugal in 2024 

Where to shop in Comporta

Comporta often refers to this small coastal region and collection of villages, but it’s also the name of the main whitewashed, blue-trimmed village where local fishermen and celebrities alike will depart from their seaside retreats to stock up on ‘essential goods.’ Take the town’s local grocery store as an example. To the unassuming eye, Mercearia Gomes seems like any other small grocery store you might stumble across in a small Portuguese countryside town. However, this mini-Mercado (hailed the ‘Little Harrods’ of Portugal) sources some of the finest Portuguese, international and artisan ingredients alongside exceptional selections of wine. You won’t struggle to track down fresh sea scallops to pair with a bottle of vintage French champagne in this store.

Further down the street Lavanda Concept Shop is the best spot for picking up some breezy bohemian beachwear as well as understated home interiors that creatively incorporate local materials from the land whilst being decorated with the town’s famous seaside shade of blue. Feeling parched amongst all the browsing? Lavanda’s front-store bar Colmo open in the summer months offers a selection of pick-me-ups including a refreshing glass of rosé from Adega da Herdade da Comporta, possible to enjoy whilst looking out to the winery itself across the lush paddy-covered fields.

Lavanda is not the only homewares and interiors store, or chic boutique along the strip. Comporta village is home to a handful of upmarket shops that sell beautiful handicrafts and deluxe labels, such as Rice, Traces of Me, and Briffa.

Read next… A Journey to the Heartland of Portugal

Where to eat in Comporta

Comporta’s selection of fine restaurants isn’t just limited to its coastlines. Inside the village and akin to the Comporta way of doing things, the Cavalariça sign is so small to most that it would go unnoticed. Inside this refurbished stable Head Chef Bruno Caseiro has crafted an innovative avant-garde menu of exciting modern Portuguese dishes. Small plates, light and refreshing are reflective of the rice paddy and coastal landscape. You’d be crazy to skip dessert from Pastry Chef Filipa Gonçalves, a previous graphic designer. who never fails to execute on presentation and taste in all her dishes.

Nearby, Almo serves a seasonal, locally grown menu with natural Portuguese wines on its beautiful, open terrace, where you can relax relax morning or night. Or Gomes Casa de Vinhos & Petiscos serves local oysters, charcuterie, and cheese in a relaxed and more informal environment.

Read next… The 7 Best Beaches in the South of Morocco

Where to stay? Quinta da Comporta

The 42 hectares of land that Quinta da Comporta occupies is the perfect place to get lost in, where luxurious comfort and understated designs combine with wellness and sustainability. There’s the bio-organic garden, where fresh fruit produce is delivered to the room each morning and built-in to the restaurant offerings. And the hidden routes along the lush-paddy fields that take you all the way to secluded empty beaches along the coastline.

Underground tunnels allow staff to be discreet as they go about their work unseen. After all, like Comporta itself, the hotel intends to create a relaxed, isolated and unhurried environment where you feel a world apart from regular life.

The restaurant is one to marvel at inside and out, with views extending over the vivid green rice paddy-covered fields where the sun sets perfectly over the horizon in the evening. During colder nights, the interior houses two large fire pits, the perfect spot to sample Comporta-inspired cocktails and indulge with a local charcuterie board.   

Perhaps most inspiring is the staff’s continuous dedication towards the preservation of the natural land the hotel exists on, and ensuring its heritage does not go disregarded. From subtle changes such as French press coffee pots instead of pod machines to reduce waste, to discovering front-of-house staff’s personal ties to the building itself, which was a rice farm before its unique upgrade by architect Miguel Câncio Martins.

“My grandfather used to work on these lands as a rice farmer before it closed down, I believe that I’m carrying on his legacy and the history of this region, but in a different more purposeful sort of way,” a satff member told us.

Dedication to this legacy is evident in all elements of the hotel, from the name of its spa, Oryza (coming from a rice species Oryza sativa) to subtle design characteristics held onto from its former life, which are still evident in the spa, restaurant and hotels main living quarters.

Extraordinary in its intention to be understated, Comporta is a destination to get lost in, while enjoying the feeling of simple luxury. Where you can take time to appreciate the natural surroundings, and feeling of serenity.

For more information on how Epic can incorporate a stay in Comporta in your Portugal travel itinerary, drop us a line on info@epic.travel

Latest Blogs