Portugal is having a moment, with travellers loving laid-back Lisbon and gourmet Porto.
As the capital continues to attract an international crowd, its coasts are also enjoying a revival – so much so, that the stretch of coastline below Lisbon called The Herdade da Comporta, is dubbed, “Europe’s Hamptons”.
As proof of its fashionable status, Princess Eugenie and husband Jack Brooksbank have made Comporta their home, as he helps build the upmarket CostaTerra Golf and Ocean Club. It follows the recent launch of Christian Louboutin’s long-awaited foray into accommodation, Vermelho Hotel, in neighbouring Melides.
Here’s what you need to know about the region.
It’s easy to get to
The Comporta coast is in the Alcácer district at the bottom of a peninsula. It is around an hour south of Lisbon, on the Atlantic Coast. Comporta is a small village, but also the name of the wider region.
The coast is pristine
Much of the region is a nature reserve, so it is untouched. The 15 km-wide Lagoas de Santo André e da Sancha Nature Reserve is full of wildlife and birdlife, as well as having beautiful beaches and large rice paddies.
Who goes there?
It is all about barefoot luxury here. It attracts a fashionable and now, royal, crowd of Portuguese and Europeans looking for a chic summer getaway. Just like the Hamptons, it comes alive with well-dressed holidaymakers every summer. As well as Eugenie and Jack, it’s a favourite destination of Nicolas Sarkozy, Carla Bruni and Madonna.
It has architectural villas
Forget your basic beach shack, the wooden huts are works of art in this region. Architect-designed villas are dotted all along the coast, such as Silent Living’s beautiful collection of thatched homes with sand floors, Casas Na Areia, which can be found at silentliving.pt. And the minimalistic, cubic Villa Caetana, could be straight out of Bryon Bay. Villa Caetana can be found at lecollectionist.com.
It also has upmarket hotels
There are several high-end hotels in the region. One of the originals, is Sublime Comporta, a beautiful glass and wood modernist hotel set in a 17-hectare estate, with rooms, suites and sleek villas, with private pools. A spa and chic restaurant make this hotel a favourite. Visit sublimecomporta.pt for more details. Spatia Comporta is also all about understated luxury and is a modernist hotel comprised of rooms, villas and cabanas. Go to spatiacomporta.com for more.
Joining them is AlmaLusa Comporta, which opened last year in the middle of the village of Comporta. With 53 rooms and suites, this beautiful boutique hotel has a pool and rooftop bar (visit almalusahotels.com). Then there’s Quinta da Comporta, a high-end wellness resort and spa (visit quintadacomporta.com). Soon, they will be joined by the high-profile CostaTerra Golf and Ocean Club, which is under construction. Visit costaterraclub.com.
But by far the most-anticipated hotel has to be Vermelho Hotel Melides – the first from Christian Louboutin. The luxury shoe designer owned property in Comporta and fell in love with the region. He has now put his stamp on a 13-room palatial hotel in neighbouring Melides.
It combines traditional design with exquisite touches such as magical window carvings, an altar-like bar and Louboutin-red embroidered slippers in the rooms. Newly opened, it dubs itself “a place like no other, for people like no other,” and has a spa, smart restaurant and a million Instagrammable design details. Visit “Vermelho Hotel ” to learn more.
Comporta Beach makes the top-50 of the World’s Best Beaches list, because it’s a magnificent coastline of fine yellow sand, stretching for 12km. It’s a haven for surfers, windsurfers, kitesurfers and horse-riders and all along the coastline are beachside restaurants, where you can feast on freshly-caught fish and seafood. For more, check out visitportugal.com.