That trip to Portugal was full of ohh and ah and the last days on the western coast were the true apogee. We did not expect that, our initial plan was to drive back to Lisbon directly from Odeceixe (the Algarve’s border) and visit the famous Sintra but I really wanted to check on our French guidebook’s off-the-beaten path places in Alentejo region.
Almost all the beaches between Odeceixe and Sines are worth seeing. Huge waves, jagged cliffs and wild landscape impressed me so much. I think that the vicinity of Carvalhal, Zambujeira do Mar, Cavaleiro and Vila Nova de Milfontes shall not be omitted, our stay in Vila Nova and Praia do Malhao left their mark on me and they are today my best Portuguese memories.
I loved Vila Nova, its charming old centre, the river dividing it and the powerful sound of the ocean which you could hear even on the other side of the town. I also enjoyed our first camping experience at Milfontes Campsite situated in the middle of pine trees, with wonderful sunrises.
We slept in a tiny teepee, under several layers of blankets, such a wild idea for the middle of November but a lot of fun guaranteed.
La cerise sur la gâteau was Porto das Barcas, one of the best restaurants in the region, supposed to be closed at that time of the year. I am so happy we gave it a try and drove 6km to the north of Vila Nova to check it anyway, it was open, another coup de coeur.There is a reason why Alentejo is considered the best place to try fine Portuguese cuisine. I love these restaurants where the cook displays all the beautiful, fresh fish on the counter and you choose the one he’ll prepare for you. Then you pick the best regional wine and wait in the beautiful setting. On top of the world, at the end of the day, in the middle of nowhere.
On the next day, we woke up very early and headed towards Praia do Malhao. Climbing on its impressive cliffs, watching the flock of birds standing still in front of the ocean, on the never-ending sandy beach was enough to realize we were in the most beautiful place of Portugal. My only regret is that we did not have time to stay longer.
We hit the road again, stopped at Setubal, Sesimbra and came back to Lisbon in the afternoon. It was too late to visit Sintra but it did not bother us much, we were happy to have a last stroll and dinner in the capital. It was not easy to leave the country of orange trees, colorful azulejos, fried sardines, delicious porto, fine beaches and stunning sunsets. Let’s come back and discover more of Portugal in Spring.
Arriving in Vila Nova de Milfontes
Dinner at Porto das Barcas. We shared this fish which name I do not remember, it came with salad and lots of vegs. Then, I tried Sericaia, a typical Alentejo dessert with a plum and cinnamon. Sebastien had a chocolate mousse of a lifetime, the secret ingredient was coarse salt. It was all so delicious.
Our teepee at Camping Milfontes
Praia do Malhao