A Bestie Road Trip Through Portugal’s West Coast
1st stop: MONSARAZ + SÃO LOURENCO BARROCAL
Accommodation: SÃO LOURENCO BARROCAL is a farmhouse chic destination that is perfect for unwinding. We were informed on our arrival that São Lourenco had been nominated for best architecture in *all* of Europe. Activities include biking around the grounds, day tripping to the charming and medieval Monsaraz town, wine tasting (in house), laying by the pool, or reserving a session at the spa. You can reserve the hot tub at the spa on an hourly basis which is a fun idea that they offer. Keni and I enjoyed chatting with the staff as everyone was super friendly and hospitable.
Don’t miss: The house rosé and veal at dinner and the breakfast buffet is heavenly! On the way out of town you will pass through a tiny town (blink and you’ll miss it) called Corval which has a handful of pottery shops. Depending on where you are headed next there are also pottery shops in a small town called Rio Sado.
2nd stop: QUINTA DO QUETZAL
This is a modern winery owned by art collectors and probably the nicest winery in Portugal. We didn’t realize how necessary reservations were. So make sure to call before if you want to sit on the terrace for lunch with a vineyard view!
3rd stop: LAGOS
Lagos has my dream kind of beaches. I love that you can adventure around them whether that’s a coastal hike or walking along the water through the cave-like openings from one beach to the next. All the while, you can pause to lounge and bask in the sunshine whenever you want.
My favorite beaches of Lagos were Praia do Camillo, Praia de Dona Ana, and Praia da Marinha. Café do Mar is incredible and located at the top of Praia do Pinhão and Praia dos Estudiantes (I can suggest the tuna tartar and squid ink prawn pasta). Keep in mind this area is known for vinho verde “green wine” which is a super refreshing wine and the perfect pairing for all the seafood. I loved it. I also suggest the coastal walk called SEVEN HANGING VALLEYS HIKING TRAIL starting from Praia da Marinha. You don’t have to complete the entire hike (would take around 4 hours) which is what is so nice about it. You can make the journey what you want. It’s not too shabby descending to the beach and ocean immediately once you finish. A great breakfast spot was recommended to us from a local called ROCKEFELLAS (located in Lagos city center) for eggs benedict. Not just any local actually, he’s the owner of the best tourism company in Lagos! Check out VOLTA DO MAR for a bike tour or customize whatever adventure you would like with them!
4th stop: SAGRES
Sagres is said to host the most beautiful sunset in Portugal. We left Lagos around 6pm and got there by 7pm for apéro at RAPOSO followed by watching the sunset from the cliffs.
5th stop: COMPORTA
Don’t miss: ZAMBUJEIRA DO MAR on your way and GRÂNDOLA-CARVALHAL beach once you arrive.
Accommodation: SUBLIME COMPORTA is every bit of the word “sublime”. This place is honeymoon-style-dreamy. From the breakfast assortment, to the outside pool, to the indoor heated pool, to all the tiny details assorted through out your stay. Since I work in customer service, I’m always very aware of top notch customer service. In a nutshell: this is the most rejuvenating place I have ever stayed.
With that said, the food is quite pricey here so we left the resort for both lunch and dinner in hopes of a bigger bank for our buck on food (but stay put for breakfast!). PEGO, CARVALHAL, and COMPORTA are three beach towns back to back to each other. You can get to any in about 15 – 20 minutes via car from Sublime Comporta. For lunch, O DINIS is an unassuming gem owned by a fisherman and located in Carvalhal! Don’t leave without ordering the seafood rice. Also, MUSEU DO ARROZ COMPORTA was a unique experience that I would definitely dine at again. It was previously a rice factory and is well-known for that reason. Things on the menu worth trying are the rice balls, croquette, padron peppers and we still talk about the red wine we got. The bottle label read Herdade da Comporta 2015. 5 SENTIDOS was another delicious dinner spot in Carvalhal. I recommend the spicy prawn curry rice.
6th stop: LISBON
Don’t miss: A CIVECHERIA for the seafood tartars (**best meal of the trip**)
Activities in Lisbon: Shop for tiles, enjoy gelato (everywhere), stop for ginginha in a chocolate cup because #wheninlisbon, check out the oldest bookshop in the world called LIVRARIA BERTRAND (located in the Chiado neighborhood), get late night drinks with a rooftop gorgeous view from TOPO BAR, shop at EMBAIXADA where Portugese designs are displayed in a former palácio, and get a drink and sit on the lawn at PHARMACIA.
Activities outside of Lisbon: Drive to CASTLE OF THE MOORS or “CASTELO DOS MOUROS” located in SINTRA which is a super charming town. From our experience, we think the best way is to drive to the top of the hill and park your car in the first available car lot. Then you can hike the rest of the way up to the Castle of Moors following the great wall. The hike requires an €8 entrance fee. The good news is that you can see PENA PALACE from your hike therefore knocking out two birds with one stone (if you’re okay with not going inside). We had a pit stop at CABO DA ROCA for yet another epic coastal view as it’s the westernmost point in Europe. That’s what is so heavenly about the Portugal coast, I couldn’t believe just how many coastal views were available by car. Too many to count!
Our favorite beach was called PRAIA DO GUINCHO a.k.a. The Charm of the Atlantic. We purchased two chairs and an umbrella and camped out here until our heart’s delight. It was the picture perfect last day as it’s a white sand beach coupled with rocks to climb and watch the waves crash in. Very special and absolutely breathtaking. Sigh, Take me back.
Last stop: CASCAIS
Don’t miss: The winding cute streets (covered in blooms while we there), the quaint shops, and SANTANI for gelato.
So, we did one night at São Lourenco Barrocal, two nights in Lagos, two nights in Comporta and two nights in Lisbon. May was the perfect month to travel as we got 100% sunshine, flowers and very few people on the beaches and roads. Often times we had the roads and white sand beaches to ourselves! It was a trip of a life time with one of my very best friends and I hope this guide brings you one step closer to the Portugal trip of *your* dreams.
Here’s a Google map to assist you as well with a lot of our pins: https://goo.gl/maps/DQTwSVx9pRM2
- 24 HOURS IN LISBON
- A LITTLE GUIDE TO LISBON
- TRAVEL GUIDE: ALGARVE, PORTUGAL
- THE ALGARVE TRAVEL GUIDE
- COMPORTA: PORTUGAL’S BEST SECRET BEACH
- SINTRA PORTUGAL: THE PERFECT DAY TRIP FROM LISBON
- SINTRA, PORTUGAL: A CULTURAL CITY GUIDE