This very special Portuguese holiday destination offers authenticity, relaxation, sporting activities, a fascinating history, and wonderful local food and wine. Here, our founder Susie Marquis offers exceptional recommendations from her recent visit.
I’ve just returned from staying in one of our luxury villas to rent in Comporta, Portugal and can confirm that all the positive feedback about this eco-chic destination, just over one hour south of Lisbon, is spot on. It’s the perfect destination for a relaxing holiday, as the entire area has cleverly retained a very natural atmosphere, offering a slower and more simple way of life. Add to this the fact that Comporta also offers miles of sensational white sandy beaches, great cuisine and local wine, and you have the recipe for an unforgettable escape.
Comporta is quite unique, in that it has managed to develop a reputation as a popular holiday destination without mass tourism and large-scale development. Unlike many summer holiday destinations, Comporta has managed to retain the authenticity of the region, without high-rise buildings, crowds of tourists or nightclubs. This protection from mass development, owes much to the fact that that most of the land here belonged to the Espirito Santo family, prominent Portuguese bankers, until the Banco Espirito Santo fell on hard times during the financial crisis, and went bankrupt in 2014. The new owners also pledged to maintain the ‘unique characteristics’ of the area and preserve its agricultural and forestry activities. Development and planning rules also remain very strict, allowing only bungalows and villas using natural materials, in keeping with the setting, and no major road building.
Interestingly, the full name of the region is Herdade da Comporta. Situated between the Sado estuary and the ocean, it covers 12,500 hectares and seven hamlets: Pego, Carvalhal, Brejos, Torre, Possanco, Carrasqueira and Comporta. Comporta village is just below the Sado estuary, with its natural reserve rich with wildlife, including aquatic birds. The region is visited by over 200 bird species from all over the world and during your stay you’re sure to see white storks, the emblem of Comporta, with many sitting high in nests on the top of telegraph poles!
Inevitably, Comporta is becoming ever more popular – particularly for those who love the natural environment and abundance of local activities on offer. The charming ‘rustic chic’ village of Comporta offers tempting small boutiques, restaurants, and supermarkets, and is close to local beaches and pine forests. Popular local activities include surfing, seaside horse riding, yoga, bird and dolphin watching, and golf. Golf clubs include Troia Golf Championship Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., as well as Comporta Dunes, Pinheirinho Golf and Comporta Links. For history lovers, visits to the Roman ruins and therice museum are a must.
Recommended Restaurants:Restaurant Sem PortaThe airy, well-lit dining room at this suave modern eatery was modelled on the old rice sorting facilities of the area, and the simple, understated décor is both sophisticated and relaxed – a perfect showcase for Tiago Santo’s contemporary seasonal and regional cuisine.
Restaurante SalWe visited this delightful eatery several times, as it’s located on the beautiful sandy beach at Praia do Pego. Just a short walk from the car park, the first building you will see is Restaurante Sal at the top of the dunes, overlooking the sand and the sea. It offers excellent fresh seafood, a great bar, and a casual chic atmosphere. The restaurant is also known for its amazing tapas.
Quinta da ComportaThe restaurant area of the Quinta da Comporta Hotel enjoys a splendid view of the rice paddies of Carvalhal. Chef Joao Sousa prepares Mediterranean and international cuisine, consisting of fresh, natural and regional produce.Cavalarica ComportaThis relatively new restaurant offers an amazing experience, situated in an old stable in the heart of Comporta village. The menu is wonderful and very imaginative, and we loved all the sharing plates we tried, as well as the great selection of wine.
Sublime Comporta Beach ClubThere’s both a restaurant and a beach bar here with a chic casual vibe, in addition to a beach area with sun loungers, shade and its own dedicated bar. Make a day of it and rent beach loungers and umbrellas on the long white-sand stretch of Praia do Carvalhal before heading to the beach club for lunch.Museu do ArrozA stunning and sophisticated restaurant for regional cuisine, whether in the eclectically-designed renovated rice warehouse, or out on the terrace overlooking the rice fields. At Museu do Arroz, you could just as easily run into Portuguese celebrities or Euro jetsetters in this exceptional dining spot.
Recommended Villas:Villa Coelheiros (5 bedrooms, 8-9 guests)Located in a peaceful location within 8.5 hectares of private grounds, surrounded with pine and cork oaks, yet within an easy drive from some excellent beaches and Comporta’s best restaurants, Villa Coelheiros is a contemporary paradise. The eco-friendly interiors are filled with light and well furnished, with rooms which open onto outdoor terraces. Guests will enjoy taking a dip in the outdoor swimming pool, and dining al fresco on the covered terrace.
Pego Paradise (5 bedrooms, 10-14 guests)This modern luxury villa to rent in Comporta is surrounded by a beautiful garden, planted with local flowers and olive trees, and offers plenty of terraces for relaxing outdoors, as well as a large swimming pool. The rooftop terrace is ideal for sunbathing during the day and enjoying drinks in the evening. Pego Paradise also has private access to the road leading to Pego Beach (12 minutes’ walk away), which boasts a surf school, as well as the famous Restaurante Sal (mentioned above).
Pego Beach(3 bedrooms, 6 guests)In a wonderful location just 5 minutes’ walk from the shore, Pego Beach offers a combination of simple architectural design and high-end luxury accommodation. The use of concrete, large glass windows and wooden decking blend perfectly, and there are breath-taking views from the house, its pool, terraces and garden. On top of the house, there’s also a furnished terrace with a stunning private pool. The front deck is perfect for watching the sunset and relaxing to the sounds of the ocean.
Casa dos Cedros(4 bedrooms, 8 guests)This brand-new luxury villa to rent in Comporta is located between Carvalhal village and Pego, and is within walking distance to the beaches of Praia do Carvalhal and Praia do Pego. The villa owner can also offer private access to Brejos beach, just a short distance away. The interiors epitomise Comporta style, with polished cement floors and large floor-to-ceiling glass windows which flood the villa with natural light. Outside, there is a swimming pool, and indoor/outdoor lounge and dining space.
Villa Muda (5-6 bedrooms, 10-12 people)This architect-designed villa has tasteful, spacious and light interiors, with large windows and glass doors allowing for plenty of sunlight. Set within private grounds, it’s just a 10-minute drive to the beaches at Carvalhal and Comporta, and the villages of Comporta and Carvahal are also within an easy drive, with their enticing local boutiques, food shops and restaurants. Within the large lawned garden is a fenced-in swimming pool and a Padel tennis court. There are both sunny and shaded outdoor seating areas, and a charcoal barbecue for al fresco dining. If you fancy exploring the local area, there are also bicycles at the property for guests to use.
Villa Pego 1 (5-6 bedrooms, 10-12 people)Offering the ideal combination of both a countryside and beach holiday, Villa Pego 1 overlooks quiet rural fields while being close to the beaches of Pego and Carvalhal. The accommodation is spread across several Comporta-style buildings, grouped around a central courtyard with several terraces, including one with a swimming pool and a poolside bar. There is also a large lawn area for children to play on, making this the ideal choice for a large family or multi-generational stay.
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