Visit Porto Covo Portugal: beautiful town (2020)

Two hours! If you live in Lisbon, you won’t need more than 120 minutes to get to Porto Covo!

In 1780 it was nothing more than a very small and welcoming coastal town with 4 (!) houses. Today, like Vila Nova de Milfontes, it is one of the most sought after villages by Portuguese holidaymakers.

PORTO COVO – PORTUGAL

Porto Covo became a parish only in 1984 and is included in the municipality of Sines. Besides being a fishing village, Porto Covo is also a tourist attraction, with its fine white sand beaches. Its waters are transparent and rich in tasty fish that delight visitors.

DO WANT TO FEEL THE SOUL OF PORTO COVO?

Start by listening to Rui Veloso’s song (which was and still is an important contribution to the promotion of the town). Then read a bit of the history of the village (topic at the end of this article). Walk through the small streets of the parish, drop your mobile phone and enter a café. Listen to the residents talking. Let time run out and talk a bit with the locals.

WHERE IS PORTO COVO?

If you depart from Lisbon, count on a trip of 173 kilometers and a duration of 1h47. If you go by car, between tolls and petrol you will spend between 20 and 28 euros.

HOW TO GET BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION?

If you decide to travel by bus, know that the ticket price (one-way) varies between 11 and 14 euros, the trip takes about 2h10 and there are usually 4 trips per day. RedeExpressos is the operator that makes this connection and the departure takes place in Sete Rios (centre of Lisbon).

If traveling by taxi is an option, then prepare between $110 and $140 (!) for a trip of approximately 2 hours. Let’s just say it’s not a cheap solution…

Visit Porto Covo Portugal – WHICH I CAN’T AFFORD TO MISS

PRAÇA CENTRAL (MAIN SQUARE)

Visit the central square to admire the typically Alentejo’s houses.

porto covo main square

Go down the main street (on foot). Along the way, pay attention to the residential and commercial houses along the street. The main street ends in a splendid view of the Atlantic Ocean from where you can also see the peach tree island (ilha do pessegueiro) on the left.

main street porto covo

GO FOR A WALK IN PORTO COVO

Start at the centre of the small village of Porto Covo. As you can see from the map below, it is a 24 minute walk. That’s enough time to get to know this small village.

ROUTE SUGESTION

1 – Start at Jardim do Largo do Marquês de Pombal 2-Siga to the beach of Porto Covo Bay 3- Go to Buizinhos beach 4- Go to the seagull beach (don’t miss the small beach) 5-Regresse to the starting point by a different street (Rua José Faial).

If you do the suggested walking route, you will pass by the places you just saw in photography (Central Square and Vasco da Gama street)!

THE BEACHES OF PORTO COVO

There are many beaches in the vicinity of Porto Covo. Let’s list the beaches we think you can’t miss.

PRAIA GRANDE

In the village of Porto Covo you can find Praia Grande (much sought after by tourists). Near the north exit of the village, near the playground/garden. The access to the sand is good, the sand is big and the beach is sheltered by the cliff. It is a blue flag beach and very sought after by surf lovers.

praia grande porto covo

PRAIA DA SAMOUQUEIRA

Samoqueira beach is 9 minutes (by car) from Porto Covo. Before going down to the beach, take a few minutes to enjoy (from the top of the cliff) the sea that bathes this beach. A sea in shades of greenish blue, adorned by rocky structures delimiting a natural pool. Were it not for the temperature of the water… and I would say I was in a tropical destination!

praia da samouqueira porto covo

Not if it wasn’t for the temperature of the water… and I’d say it was in the Maldives!

PRAIA DO SERRO DA ÁGUIA

To get there, follow the M1109 link between Porto Covo and Sines. Park your car when you see the sign for Praia do Serro da Águia. A shell-shaped beach protected from the wind.

If you like taking pictures, you’ll love this beach!

PRAIA DOS BUIZINHOS

At the end of the main street of Porto Covo we reach the viewpoint that gives access to this small beach. Its name is due to the many shells that you will find there (very used by local craftsmen).

praia dos buizinhos

PRAIA DOS AIVADOS

The beach of the Aivados is wild and little known. It has a very extensive and deep sand during low tide (at high tide it can become narrow). The access is made by a dirt road and ends in a car park also wild. Be careful with the place you leave your car, you risk getting stuck in the sand. The access is not indicated for people with reduced mobility.

praia aivados porto covo

PRAIA PEQUENA

Small sand on a cliff (center of the village). From the cliff you can admire a magnificent sunset.

praia pequena (small beach) porto covo

PRAIA DE VALE FIGUEIROS

If you like to have space and some privacy while you’re at the beach, then you’ll like this one! If you are staying in Porto Covo, to get here you have to follow the coast towards Sines.

Vale Figueiros beach has a huge expanse of sand. From here we can see in the distance the islet Salta manitos and also the Pedra da Casca. The stream of Oliveirinha meets the sea at this point of the Atlantic. If you prefer the sea with few rock formations, then it is at this point of the beach that you should dive.

praia vale figueiros porto covo

PRAIA DO BANHO

It’s one of the most beautiful beaches in the area. It is not watched and we often see pets accompanying their owners. The waters are clean, clear and cold. At low tide, small natural pools appear which are very appreciated by children.

praia banho porto covo

PRAIA NATURISTA DO SALTO

Do you like to do naturism? If the answer is yes, you have to know that this beach is quite close to the village of Porto Covo. Here you can find what is considered one of the best beaches in the country for that purpose. Calm, quiet and safe. Perfect for those who like to practice naturism in an appropriate place and following the law (we should not forget that this practice is legal in Portugal).

Beside you will find other conventional sands in case you prefer a beach with the use of swimwear. The sand is small but very beautiful and quiet. Also because it is a nudist beach you will almost always find few people. The sea is usually calm, the water crystal clear and at one end of the beach you will find a small cave and some rocks that make the beach very beautiful.

praia naturista do salto

Salto beach is between Cerro da Águia beach and Cerca Nova beach.

PRAIA DA CERCA NOVA

A beautiful beach that results from a harmonious combination of reasonably sized sand, rocks and the blue of the ocean. It has plenty of parking space. Still, in August it’s hard to find a spot.

praia cerca nova porto covo

PRAIA DO ESPINGARDEIRO

It is is embraced by rocks and cliffs. Access to the beach (it can be complicated if you take children or people with reduced mobility) is not easy but the effort is very rewarding. The waters are clear, crystal clear and cold. At high tide the sand becomes quite small. The beach is very quiet.

praia do espingardeiro porto

PRAIA DE MORGAVEL

It has extensive sand and is perfect for children to play. There are usually few people. It has lots of parking spaces and the access is good. The waters are crystal clear, usually calm and… cold, quite cold.

morgavel beach porto covo

Near the beach we find two restaurants and the campsite “Campingir”.

PRAIA DO MALHÃO

It’s the beach of fashion! If you like places with many people, many surfers and posh people, then you will like this place. The access is difficult and the suspensions of your car will complain a little. The beach is long and beautiful. The parking lot is no longer wild and the access to the beach is now made by wooden walkways.

malhão beach porto covo

PRAIA DO SISSAL

Sissal beach is near the beach of the peach tree island. To get to the beach you have to walk for 5 minutes in the wild. If you take children the path can be challenging. The view to the peach tree island is magnificent! The sea is usually calm and cold. Sometimes the swell can be a bit stronger.

sissal beach porto covo

In winter, seagulls are the owners of Sissal beach and can be aggressive in defending their territory.

PORTO COVO BAY

Gravel beach. Not advised to bathers. The fishing port works there.

PRAIA DA ILHA DO PESSEGUEIRO

An extensive and less frequented beach (in summer) than most other beaches in the area. The view to the “PESSEGUEIRO” island is a pleasant complement to a beach afternoon.

praia da ilha do pessegueiro porto covo

During the summer, the beach offers various nautical activities such as canoeing, windsurfing and diving.

ILHA DO PESSEGUEIRO (PESSEGUEIRO ISLAND)

The island of Pessegueiro is only 10 minutes away (by car) from the village of Porto Covo. In summer, it is possible to visit the island on fishing boats or by tour! If you want to go on foot it is also possible as the map below shows.

Historians believe that it was the Carthaginian navigators who first occupied this site (200 BC). But it was during the Spanish occupation (Philippine dynasty) that the expansion of that piece of land began. This project was aimed at defending the coast against the corsairs (the corsairs were mandated and authorized by a government and had the mission to loot ships from other nations). The island had a mat of rocks and stones that made the connection to the beach.

In front of Pessegueiro Island, you will find a magnificent beach that offers conditions for windsurfing, boat trips and sport fishing. Next to the beach you can see a 17th century fortress, partly destroyed by the 1775 earthquake.

ILHA DO PESSEGUEIRO PORTO COVO

Later, in 1590, the construction of the Island fort (Santo Alberto fort) began, which was never finished. The objective was to cross fires with the other fortress that is near the beach (fort of our lady of the burning).

SANTO ALBERTO FORT PORTO COVO

SE NÃO TIVER TEMPO PARA VER TUDO, NÃO DEIXE DE VER…

PRAÇA CENTRAL DE PORTO COVO

PRAIA DA ILHA DO PESSEGUEIRO

PRAIA DO MALHÃO

PRAIA DA SAMOUQUEIRA

PRAIA DOS AIVADOS

WHAT TO VISIT NEAR PORT COVO?

VILA NOVA DE MILFONTES. A small village about 10 minutes (by car) from Porto Covo. Did you know that the name of the village is due to an attack of pirates and corsairs who decimated the place in the 18th century? There is much to discover in Milfontes and you can do it with us. Click on the image to know everything!

ZAMBUJEIRA DO MAR. A beautiful little village with only 929 inhabitants. Every year it gets excited to host one of the country’s great summer festivals (MEO Sudoeste). But the attractions of Zambujeira are not exhausted in the festival. Among many others we highlight: the beaches, the restaurants, the quietness and tranquility of the village.

ODEMIRA. It is the most extensive municipality in Portugal. Sierras, plains, beaches, here everyone finds their space and their comfort zone. Among the many attractions of the county stand out: Santa Clara reservoir, Cabo Sardão and the natural pools of Almograve.

SINES. It is an Alentejo city that still belongs to the district of Setúbal. It has about 15000 inhabitants. The city was and still is deeply connected to the sea and its port. The historical centre of Sines is very interesting and there are many beaches in the municipality that you can visit. The gastronomy is also one of its attractions.

CONCISE HISTORY OF PORTO COVO

Porto Covo caught the attention of a great capitalist in the last quarter of 1700, Jacinto Fernandes Bandeira. Jacinto obtained the right to use the denomination of Lord of Porto Covo, which was given to him on 13 June 1796. He endeavoured to increase the population (unlike his successors). He died on 30th May 1806, single and left his enormous fortune to his nephews. A century later (in 1900), Porto Covo had about 20 (!) houses.

In the 18th century, Porto Covo’s main interest was the use of the small local bay and the anchorage of Pessegueiro as fishing and trading ports. Its use was limited by weather conditions, because when the sea was rough it was impossible to enter the bar.

Porto Covo has always played a secondary role as a commercial port. Fishing was the most important activity of its population and was characterized by archaism (visible in the use of pole rafts which has remained almost to the present day). The development of the village only accelerated a few years ago, with the creation of the industrial complex of Sines.

COMPLEXO SINES PORTO COVO

One of the known cases of Pombaline urbanism’s repercussion outside Lisbon is that of the village of Porto Covo. Its urbanization plan, inspired by that of downtown Lisbon, had, however, limited implementation. Even so, we can recognize a certain rectilinearity in the layout of the streets and, especially, its nice square.

If you like the Alentejo and have a particular interest in the Alentejo Singing, then be sure to read our article: CANTE ALENTEJANO: A COLOSSAL FORCE THAT FILLS OUR SOUL!

WHERE CAN I GET THE BEST VIEWS FROM?

Every time I go to Porto Covo, I stop on this narrow old road: the descent to the “PESSEGUEIRO” tree island never tires me!

ilha pessegueiro view porto covo

Visit Porto Covo Portugal – Virtual Tour

DO YOU WANT TO STAY IN A FANTASTIC PLACE?

MATINHA HOTEL ESTATE, 4 STAR HOTEL

(4.5 out of 5 – 365 evaluations). It has an outdoor pool.

matinha hotel porto covo

MONTE DA ROSA APARTMENTS

Very good quality self-sufficient accommodation. It is 1 km from the mouth of the river Mira and less than 2 km from the furnas.

Rating: 4.5/5 (9 ratings)

monte da rosa apartments porto covo

Visit Porto Covo Portugal – WOULD YOU LIKE TO STAY FOR A GOOD PRICE?

AHOY PORTO COVO HOSTEL

It has wireless internet, 24 hour reception, bicycle rental and solarium. It is a non-smoking place, with terrace and library. There are 6 rooms with essential and comfortable equipment. The guest rating is 9 out of 10.

ahoy porto covo hostel

PESSEGUEIRO ISLAND CAMPSITE

On the way to the beach on the island of Pessegueiro, the campsite provides wireless internet in the common areas. A great solution for those who want to be in contact with nature and spend little money. The beach is about 800 meters away.

PESSEGUEIRO ISLAND CAMPSITE

WHAT TO EAT

Porto Covo’s restaurants offer fish and seafood dishes. Feijoada de búzio, seafood rice and monkfish, fish pasta, pork with clams. Razor clams, seafood, octopus, squid kebabs, among others… Seafood (barnacles, naval, edible crabs; conch salads, eggs and octopus) cannot be left to taste.

WHERE TO EAT WELL AND… CHEAP

I usually say it’s very easy to eat well in Portugal. But eating WELL and BARATO is not that easy. Here are some suggestions in Porto Covo (within a 15-minute drive from Porto Covo).

RESTAURANT “O PASSARINHO” (at Cercal – 12/15 minutes from Porto Covo)

Typical Alentejo restaurant, quite small and welcoming. I suggest entrecosto and pork to the alentejana with Migas. I’ve been a regular customer for many years. The fantastic quality-price relationship has never failed.

Probable price: 12 to 15 euros per person (starters, dish, wine and dessert).

WHERE TO EAT WELL BUT… NOT TOO CHEAP

TASCA DO CELSO (THE CELSO TAVERN)

Maybe it’s the most famous restaurant in the area. It’s located in Vila Nova de Milfontes about 12 or 15 minutes from Porto Covo. I visited once. I liked it but I didn’t think it was great. However, the reviews are many and very good. It is a good option to eat seafood, fish or meat (a good steak from Alcatra for example). Price range: 15-25 euros per person.

WHEN TO VISIT

The answer depends on the purpose of who visits Porto Covo. If the objective is to rest from the city agitation, enjoy the gastronomy and relax, I would say you should visit between October and June. In this period the number of tourists is reasonably small.

If you want to take advantage of the beaches and the warm weather, then the right time is between the months of July and September. In this case, count on a high number of national and foreign tourists (and the inconveniences related to this high influx of people: delays in cafes/restaurants, beaches with great affluence and higher prices).

DEMOGRAPHIC DEVELOPMENT IN PORTO COVO

DEMOGRAPHIC DEVELOPMENT IN PORTO COVO

VISIT PORTO COVO PORTUGAL – EVENTS

February: Carnival of the little ones – Support of the municipality to the Kindergarten and Basic School of Porto Covo, for participation in the Carnival of the little ones in Sines and parade through the streets of the village.
March: International Women’s Day – Commemoration that reminds the fight of women for their rights and equality.
April: Ouriçada – Traditional Porto Covense Festival, which revolves around the baked sea urchin in a traditional way and offered for tasting by the participants.
May: Labour Day – Picnic in the Public Garden to celebrate this day
June: Mast of St. John – Traditional Commemoration of the Holy Protector, who recovers the tradition of the masts of promise
July: Festival Musicas do Mundo (in Porto Covo)
August: Traditional Festivities in Honour of Our Lady of Soledade – It should be noted that these festivals include great concerts with renowned Portuguese musicians, Luau Party, Duck catch, bath 29 and fireworks show.
December: Christmas Lunch of the Elderly of the Parish – Meeting of seniors around a traditional lunch, accompanied by musical animation, which allows the dancing, conviviality and fraternization between the elderly of the rural area and the urban center.

I LIKE TO ENJOY THE EVENING AND GO OUT FOR A DRINK. WHERE MUST I GO?

The parish of Porto Covo is not exactly the perfect place for those who like to go out at night and go to discos. The place is very calm and quiet. It has only a few cafes and ice cream shops open at night.

IF YOU LIKE THIS ARTICLE, THEN DON’T MISS IT…

ALCÁCER DO SAL
VILA NOVA DE MILFONTES
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