Tranquillity & luxurious
Welcome to Comporta, the hidden gem of Europe that effortlessly combines laid-back luxury with natural beauty. Nestled along Portugal’s stunning Alentejo coast, this charming coastal town has garnered a reputation as the “Secret Hamptons of Europe.” From pristine beaches to delectable cuisine, Comporta offers a perfect escape for those seeking a blend of relaxation and sophistication, it has a rugged, natural, laid-back luxe vibe.
Over the course of our time there, we did a Safari tour, visited the beaches, jumped the waves, sunbathed, watched a family of bottlenose dolphins swim by, sipped sundowner cocktails, shopped in the gourmet food stores, visited the Uber-chic designer artisan market, strolled through rice fields, went horse riding, cooked, ate, drank and relaxed. I highly recommend hiring a car, in fact I would say it is essential.
In terms of accommodation, there is a host of options. Some stunning hotels are focused on natural wellness and luxury. There are also some amazing Air BnBs like we stayed in and some small guest houses along the way. Accommodation options include;
- Sublime Comporta: Indulge in luxury at Sublime Comporta, a stunning boutique hotel surrounded by pine trees and rice fields. Offering elegant suites, a spa, and a beautiful pool, this tranquil haven provides an oasis of relaxation.
- Casas Na Areia: Immerse yourself in the unique charm of Casas Na Areia, where minimalist architecture meets rustic comfort. These transformed traditional fishermen’s huts offer a magical stay amidst the sand dunes, creating an extraordinary fusion of nature and design.
- Quinta da Comporta: Experience the rustic chic ambience of Quinta da Comporta, a charming hotel blending traditional Portuguese style with contemporary touches. With beautiful gardens and a cosy atmosphere, it’s the perfect retreat for an unforgettable stay.
- Sun-Kissed Beaches: Start your Comporta journey with a visit to the area’s mesmerising beaches. Praia da Comporta and Praia do Carvalhal are renowned for their soft sands and crystal-clear waters. Melides is gorgeous, too, as well as Prego. Spend your days sunbathing ( you can hire sun loungers on the beach, and they are really well served with lifeguards) , take a surf lesson, jump the waves, sip a cocktail and relax with a great book or podcast.
- Explore the Rice Fields: Embark on a unique adventure by exploring the iconic rice fields that surround Comporta. I have only ever seen rice fields like this before in Ubud in Bali so this was such a treat here. You can take a guided tour of the rice fields to learn about the traditional rice cultivation techniques or visit the Museu de Arroz.
- Be sure to visit the Carrasqueira, on the Sado Estuary. This palafitte port, unique in Europe, lies a small fishing village, Carrasqueira, on the left bank of the River Sado. It is such a genuine little area among much luxe. It is a rickety and creative old-world solution to the problem of accessing boats at low tide – a jetty on stilts.
- Horse-riding on the Beach at sunset. This is just magical. Cavalos na Areia are the best in the business in this area, I literally wouldn’t bother with anyone else. offers horse riding lessons for children and other brand-new riders and some seriously beguiling guided rides for those who are already comfortable in the saddle. Instructor José Ribeira is skilled and patient, full of stories and friendly as can be.
- Dolphin-Watching Excursions: You can book a dolphin-watching boat tour. We had contemplated booking, and after speaking with our host, he reiterated that there were no guarantees, so we said we would delay it for a day or two. The next day we headed to the beach and as we set ourselves up for some sunbathing and treasure hunting (shell collecting), low and behold, a group of 5 bottlenose dolphins swam by on their way back to Troia. It was immense, so exciting. Otherwise, experienced tour operators provide informative and eco-friendly excursions, giving you a chance to observe these magnificent creatures up close.
- Casa da Cultura is a stunning artisanal, luxe marketplace with everything you could possibly need to fit right in, in Comporta. The exterior is a white-washed building with local blue trim, and big barn doors are located on Rua do Secador and is open Tuesday to Sunday. It has stemmed from a local project that houses 12 pop-up exhibitors. I could have spent a small fortune here, I found the most stunning hand-crafted wicker basket bags, stunning handmade gold leather shoes and a cream wool blend fedora that I would still be wearing when I am 90. This was a super little surprise in Comporta.
- Badoca Safari Park: It was super quiet when we were there but lovely. We did a big Jeep safari trip with lots of other day trippers. The tour is entirely in Portuguese with zero English included. I am totally fine with that, to be honest, and we were so busy looking at the animals we didn’t mind, really. In the afternoon, we did a really fun water raft ride on repeat, and we all loved it. Badoca Park is about 45 minutes away from Comporata. There are fabulous VIP tours which are really good value at just €89. Head off in a private jeep with some staff members and get up close and personal with the giraffes for about an hour and a half. Magical for those animal-loving little ones. Combine it with an evening beach trip to Melides, and you have the perfect day.
- Alcàcer do Sal is in the Alentejo region sitting on the Sado estuary. It is about a 30-minute drive from our coastal Comporta and well worth a visit as it is one of the oldest port cities in Portugal, spanning almost 3000 years. It is one of the sleepiest little towns I have been to in years. There is very little here, to be honest, but it is lovely to see. We crossed the river, pottered the town, had a picnic and did the climb up to the castle. It is old, you know, you get that sense of a very real small Portuguese town and I liked that. It was authentic.
- Yoga and Wellness is abundant in the area and very in keeping with the slow living, relaxed vibes of the area. There are a couple of options. Treat yourself to a stunning massage or facial treatment at Sublime or Quinta da Comporta. They are spendy but the environs and the 5-star feels are worth it for a treat. For something a little more low key the yoga sessions at Yoga Shala amidst the pine trees is just lovely. A simple wooden structure that oozes serenity and calm, and at only €15 a session, it is a steal.
Comporta has become a favoured destination for celebrities seeking privacy and tranquillity. Here are a few spots where you might catch a glimpse of the rich and famous or even royality:
- Comporta Café: This beachfront café is known for its delicious seafood dishes and relaxed atmosphere. With its laid-back charm, it’s not uncommon to spot celebrities enjoying a meal or simply savouring a cocktail by the sea.
- Cavalos na Areia: Located within the Casas Na Areia resort, this equestrian centre attracts equestrian enthusiasts and celebrities alike. Keep an eye out for familiar faces as you enjoy horseback riding lessons or take a leisurely ride along the coastline.
- Herdade da Comporta: This sprawling estate boasts luxury villas and celebrity-owned properties. Explore the area surrounding the estate or dine at one of the exclusive restaurants nearby, where you may find yourself dining alongside famous names.
Food & Drink
In terms of food and eating, the choices are immense. Classy, elegant, understated, luxe, seasonal, gourmet and honestly stunning. The food offers nods to classic local dishes. Still, they are wrapped up in stunning settings, beautiful plating, discerning wine lists and polished staff who are expertly prepared for the well-heeled international crowds that arrive at Comporta each summer season. When they call this area the Hamptons of Europe, it really must ring through as we met SO many Americans on our visit here.
Some of my favourite places to EAT:
Cavalariça is the trendy restaurant in the village of Comporta. This former stable has been transformed into an elegant and beautifully decorated restaurant. The atmosphere is relaxed and warm, you can dine in a box or on one of the large central wooden tables. Chef Caseiro prepares tasty and inventive dishes to share with a Portuguese and Brazilian accent. The cocktails are sharp, original and very tasty, undeniably the best in Comporta. My top picks include;
- ALENTEJANO PORK SHOULDER CROQUETAS, CLAMS MAYONNAISE AND MUSTARD
- SMOKED CARROTS, ROASTED ALMOND CREAM, ORANGE
- ROASTED BEETROOT, ROCHA PEAR “KETCHUP”, CHEESE AND QUINOA
- VANILLA PARFAIT, BLACK SESAME SPONGE CAKE AND ITALIAN MERINGUE
On a trip back from the Cassaqueira, we hit the little village of Possanco and saw what felt like an oasis in the dessert. The most beautiful ice cream ( gelataria ) shop I had ever seen. The interior was something to be hailed a triumph; the presentation of the ice cream was second to none; a quick glance to the right and we could see the small but mighty production kitchen in full swing, and then the creme da la creme the flavour pairings were so innovative and trendy but true to expert flavour pairing knowledge I was already thrilled before Id mange to taste a bite.
I had to learn more; Gulato is the brainchild of Gonçalo Diniz and Pedro Machado, who traveled around Europe by motorcycle for 3 months until they finally landed in Bologna in Italy. They stayed for a month and learned everything they needed to know about artisanal ice cream making. From pistachio and sea salt, to Sicilian pistachio and lemon to date and nut butter to a classic chocolate and an intense strawberry every cone and scoop was a delight. This is a must-visit on your trip to Comporta.
Contemporary Portuguese food with a focus on seasonal ingredients sourced locally from independent growers small-scale farms, and producers. With a nod to sustainability and a curated natural and local wine list this is such an elegant all-day restaurant, one of those place where you go in for a late lunch and manage to wile away the day chatting and mingling.
Sublime Comporta Beach Club
This was number one on my destination wish list. The interiors are just everything. It is the quintessential “see-and-be-seen” lunch spot of Comporta, but it’s also gorgeous, and the food is delicious if a little overpriced. You are paying for the stunning setting and you know, sometimes I am ok with that too.
This was such a low-key pleasant surprise. There is an eco-chic vibe here with up cycled benches and tables, straw grass awnings and the perfect view spot for spotting the infamous storks in their rooftop chimney nests. Understated, chic, and so not trying too hard, this little wine bar attracted the laid-back, relaxed vibes that the wine and trendy seasonal cocktails emulated. By day it is the epitome of cool wellness with green juices and granola bowls to set you up, and by evening, expect nothing less than the coolest local hangout supplying regional wine and summer cocktails, passion fruit caipirinha and blueberry daiquiris were delish.
Be Comporta is a small and inviting budget-friendly stop-off for a fab brunch, juice, trendy smoothie bowl, and bagels and then in the evening, try some pizzas, artisan craft beer and very reasonable local wine.
Gomes is considered the Harrods Food Hall of Comporta. It is wall to-wall, floor to ceiling choc full of foodie delicacies.
Also – Restaurant Sal, O’Dinis and Bona Bia are on my return eating list already.
To discover more about Comporta and plan your trip, visit the following websites:
- Sublime Comporta
- Casas Na Areia
- Quinta da Comporta
- Comporta Café
- Cavalos na Areia
- Herdade da Comport
Comporta, the secret Hamptons of Europe, offers a perfect blend of laid-back luxury and natural beauty. From the sun-kissed beaches to the captivating rice fields and horseback riding adventures, this coastal town has something for every traveller. With exquisite accommodation options like Sublime Comporta, Casas Na Areia, and Quinta da Comporta, you can experience the ultimate relaxation in style. And who knows, you might just have a chance encounter with a celebrity at the Comporta Café, Cavalos na Areia, or the exclusive Herdade da Comporta.
Start planning your journey to this enchanting destination and create memories that will last a lifetime.