A Lazy Weekend in Comporta

Just over an hours 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 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.

Along the unspoiled coastline, over-the-top beach clubs are replaced with a small selection of cozy beach bars from Sals 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 the main hub of all the villages where locals 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- Mercearia Gomes which to the unassuming eye 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.

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 it would go unnoticed, yet inside this refurbished stable Chef Bruno Caseiro crafts innovative avant-garde Portuguese dishes. Small plates, light and refreshing 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.

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, horse-riding and birdwatching. Cavalos Na Areia offers perhaps one of the warmest experiences with owner Jose Ribeira who looks after over forty horses having moved to Comporta in 2011 to resume a life engaging with nature and love of horses. You can explore the sand-covered pine forests on horseback to canter along the coastal dunes, safe in the knowledge that each horse is well cared for. 

Where to stay? Quinta da Comporta

Boho chic Cabanas, combining luxurious comfort with understated designs where wellness and sustainability are at the heart of its offering. The 42 hectares of land that Quinta da Comporta occupies is the perfect place to get lost in. From the bio-organic garden where fresh fruit produce is delivered to the room each morning and built-in to the restaurant offerings, to the hidden routes along the lush-paddy fields that take you all the way to secluded empty beaches along the coastline.

Underground tunnels allow discreet staff attention where busy teams go about their work unseen, like Comporta itself the hotel’s intention is to create a relaxed, isolated and unhurried environment that they emulate perfectly.

The restaurant is one to marvel 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. For colder periods, the interior houses two large fire pits, the perfect spot to sample Comporta-inspired cocktails and indulge on local charcuterie.   

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 prior to 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.’

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 characteristics that existed in its design prior to restoration 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 travel itinerary, drop us a line on info@epic.travel.