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 tiny and cozy coastal village with 4 (!) houses. Today it is, like Vila Nova de Milfontes, one of the most sought after villages by Portuguese vacationers.
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 pole of tourist interest, with its beaches of fine white sand. Its waters are transparent and rich in tasty fish that delight visitors.
WOULD YOU LIKE 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 village). Then read a bit about the history of the village (topic at the end of this article). Walk through the small streets of the parish, put down your cell phone and go into a café. Listen to the residents talk. Let the time go by and talk a little with the locals.
WHERE IS PORTO COVO?
If you leave from Lisbon, count on a journey of 173 kilometers and a duration of 1h47. If you drive, between tolls and petrol you will spend between €20 and €28.
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…
WHAT TO VISIT IN PORTO COVO?
Visit the central square to admire its typical Alentejo houses.
Walk down Vasco da Gama street. On this route pay attention to the residential and commercial houses that flank the street.
The main street ends in a splendid view over the Atlantic Ocean from where you can also see the Peach Island (Ilha do Pessegueiro) on the left.
A very large and very pleasant wooden walkway has recently been built at this location.
GO FOR A WALK IN PORTO COVO
Start in the center of the small village of Porto Covo. As you can see from the map below, it’s a 24-minute walk. It’s enough time to get to know this small village.
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 take the suggested walking route, you will pass by the places you just saw in the picture (Praça Central and rua Vasco da Gama)!
THE BEACHES (PRAIAS) OF PORTO COVO
There are many beaches around Porto Covo. We will list the beaches that we believe you cannot miss.
PRAIA (BEACH) 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.
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.
SERRO DA ÁGUIA BEACH
To get there, take the M1109 that connects Porto Covo to Sines. Park your car when you see the sign for Praia do Serro da Águia. A beach in the shape of a shell and protected from windstorms. If you like taking pictures, you will love this beach!
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).
Aivados beach is wild and little known. It has a very long and deep sand during low tide (at high tide it can become narrow). Access is via a dirt road and ends in a parking lot that is also wild. Be careful where you leave your car, you run the risk of getting stuck in the sand. Access is not suitable for people with reduced mobility.
Small sand on a cliff (center of the village). From the cliff you can admire a magnificent sunset.
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.
The sand is vast during low tide, but scarce during high tide (there is only a narrow tongue of sand left). The Figueiros valley beach has two access points: from the north and from the central area.
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.
SALTO NATURISM BEACH in PORTO COVO
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.
Salto beach is between Cerro da Águia beach and Cerca Nova beach.
CERCA NOVA BEACH
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.
Espingardeiro beach is embraced by rocks and cliffs. Access to the sand (can be tricky if you bring children or people with reduced mobility) is not easy but the effort is very rewarding. The waters are clear, crystalline and cold. At high tide the beach is quite small. The beach is very quiet.
It has a long sandy beach and is perfect for children to play on. It usually has few people. There are plenty of parking spaces and the access is good. The waters are crystal clear, usually calm and… cold, very cold. Close to the beach we find two restaurants and the campsite “Campingir”.
If you like places with lots of people, lots of surfers and lots of posh people, then you will like this place. The access is difficult and your car’s suspensions will complain a bit. The beach is long and beautiful. The parking lot is no longer wild and access to the beach is now by wooden walkways.
Sissal beach is close to the peach island beach (Ilha do Pessegueiro). To get to the beach you have to walk 5 minutes on a wild path. If you are taking children the path can be challenging. The view to the peach tree island is magnificent! The sea is generally calm and cold. Sometimes the swell can be a little stronger. In winter, the seagulls own Sissal beach and can be aggressive in defending their territory.
PORTO COVO BAY
Gravel beach. Not advised to bathers. The fishing port works there.
ILHA DO PESSEGUEIRO BEACH
A long sandy beach that is less crowded (in the summer) than most other beaches in the area. The view to the peach tree island is a pleasant complement to an afternoon on the beach. During the summer, the beach offers several 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 the summer, it is possible to visit the island by fishing boat or by foot! If you want to go on foot it is also possible as the following map proves.
Historians believe that Carthaginian navigators were the first to occupy this place (200 BC). But it was during the Spanish occupation (Philippine dynasty), that the enlargement of that piece of land began. The purpose of this project was to defend the coast against corsairs (corsairs were mandated and authorized by a government and their mission was to plunder the ships of other nations). The island had a mat of stones and rocks that connected to the beach. In front of Pessegueiro Island you will find a magnificent beach that offers conditions for windsurfing, boating, and sport fishing. Next to the beach you can see a 17th century fortress, partly destroyed by the 1775 earthquake.
In 1590, the construction of the island fort (Fort of Santo Alberto) began and was never finished. The objective was to cross fires with the other fortress next to the beach (forte de nossa senhora da queimada).
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.
PORTO COVO HISTORY
Porto Covo came to the attention of a great capitalist in the last quarter of 1700, Jacinto Fernandes Bandeira. Jacinto obtained the right to use the name of Lord of Porto Covo, which was given to him on June 13, 1796. He was committed to increasing the settlement (unlike his successors). He died on May 30, 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 Pessegueiro anchorage as fishing and trading ports. Their use was limited by the weather conditions, because when the sea was rough it was impossible to enter the bar. Porto Covo has always had 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 cane rafts that has remained almost until today). The development of the town only accelerated a few years ago, with the creation of the Sines industrial complex.
One of the best known cases of the repercussion of Pombaline urbanism outside Lisbon is the town of Porto Covo. Its urbanization plan, inspired by that of downtown Lisbon, had, however, a limited implementation. Still, we can recognize a certain rectilinearity in the layout of the streets and, especially its nice square.
BEST VIEW OF PORTO COVO
Every time I go to Porto Covo, I stop on this narrow old road: the descent to the “PESSEGUEIRO” island never tires me!
PORTO COVO PORTUGAL VIRTUAL TOUR
PORTO COVO HOTELS
MATINHA HOTEL ESTATE, 4 STAR HOTEL
(4.5 out of 5 – 365 evaluations). It has an outdoor pool.
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)
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.
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.
FOOD IN PORTO COVO PORTUGAL
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.
RESTAURANTS IN PORTO COVO
It’s very easy to eat well in Portugal. But eating WELL and CHEAP is not that easy. Check these 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. COST: 12 to 15 euros per person (starters, dish, wine and dessert).
TASCA DO CELSO (THE CELSO TAVERN)
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 PORTO COVO?
The answer depends on the purpose of who visits Porto Covo. If your goal is to rest from the hustle and bustle of the city, enjoy the cuisine and relax, I’d say you should visit between October and June. During this period the number of tourists is fairly small. If you want to take advantage of the beaches and warm weather, then the right time is between the months of July and September. In this case you can expect a high number of national and foreign tourists (and the inconveniences related to this high number of people).
PORTO COVO POPULATION
EVENTS IN PORTO COVO
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.