Comporta, Portugal

Secluded golden beaches; scenic surf-spots and dolphins frolicking in diamond-clear waters: Comporta’s coastal charms are usually reserved for hard-to-reach islands, or possibly your dreams. However, this little-known fishing village and its surrounding beaches are actually in southern Portugal, a short drive from Lisbon. An antidote to the crowds of the Algarve, Comporta remains largely undiscovered by tourists. At Praia da Comporta, hip seaside clubs reminiscent of Ibiza play chilled-out tunes and serve iced blueberry caipiroskas; catamarans glide out to sea, and resident pods of bottlenose dolphins play in the waves. At night, coolly modern restaurants and independent bars come alive with locals and those in-the-know. Before sitting down to just-caught seafood and salt-cod fritters, explore the tiny shops on Rua Dom Afonso Henriques and Rua do Secador, where embroidered kaftans, silken cushions and other suitcase-bound souvenirs await.

When to go

July and August are typically sweltering; sun-worshippers should book for September, when the sea is mild and the sun isn’t too hot.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    The closest airport is Lisbon, which is just over an hour’s drive from Comporta. Most airlines operate regular flights to Lisbon, including British Airways and EasyJet.
  • Boats

    Atlantic Ferries run frequent ferry and catamaran services between Setúbal and the Tróia peninsula (www.atlanticferries.pt).
  • Trains

    It’s possible to get to Comporta by rail, but not easy: get the train from Lisbon to Setúbal, from which it’s a short ferry or catamaran ride to the Tróia peninsula. Then, you’ll need to get a taxi to Comporta itself.
  • Automobiles

    As Comporta is fairly isolated, you’ll be thankful for a set of wheels. Hire a car from one of the booths at Lisbon airport, then follow the A12 and A2 to Comporta.