An hour and a half south of the Portuguese capital Lisbon, a wild stretch of olive trees, storks’ nests and mesmerizing views of the Atlantic coast are only my starting point for discovering the Alentejo region. With its anonymous yet low-key bohemian lifestyle Comporta and the Alentejo coast attract an artistic, nature loving crowd. Though its proximity to Spain and North Africa, Comporta has its own unspoiled soul, carved by pine forests and windswept dunes, each one more enchanting than the other.
The scenic paradise in the protected Sado Estuary Nature Reserve is owned by the Espírito Santo family. These two factors have kept the area preserved, only holding space for high-quality, sustainable tourism. Hence why the locals until this day get to enjoy the company of white storks, the charming emblem of Comporta. With 1 meter in height and 2 meters in wingspan, the migratory birds are the largest wading birds in the world.
Discovering the Alentejo Coastline
Out and about in the wild
Using picturesque paths and created by the locals, the Alentejo will take you for a short stroll of multi-day hike along the 170 kilometers of fine sand coastline, astonishing cliffs and fishing spots. Prepare yourself to encounter wildlife like red foxes and dolphins along the way. I was fortunate enough to catch sight of large families of dolphins along the coastline. No excursion needed. The water temperature being 17° C (63° F) in June is too cold for my morning swim.
Choosing an Unique Accommodation
Starry nights in a Tipi
Honoring its secluded character, I stay in a location close to one of the many beaches in Alentejo. Good Muda accommodation struck my attention. The family-owned farm counts a few tipi’s, a yurt and private studios. From the decorated kitchen surrounded by orange, peach and avocado trees, there’s a view of solar powered, drip-irrigated garden veggie garden. Outside is a massive barbecue space with a swimming pool to leap into.
I decide to make myself comfortable in the tipi. Miguel, the owner, explains how we are used living in square houses. “We drive in boxes, work and live in boxed buildings”, he says. “It’s refreshing to experience the differ”. The guy has a point. The oldest forms of indigenous shelters were round and meant to evoke calmness, peacefulness, and relaxation. Inside the tent I gaze at the moon and the stars. I see where Miquel is coming from.
Miguel’s partner Chelsea preps and serves the breakfast. The fresh pressed orange juice, strawberries and avocado all come from her garden. She sweetly decorates the granola with edible flowers. A whiff of pine-trees surrounds the premises as I use the outdoor shower. I can get used to this barefoot lifestyle.