Jo’s Monday walk : Vila Nova de Milfontes

Looking down from the castelo at Vila Nova de Milfontes

Looking down from the castelo of Vila Nova de Milfontes

I don’t know what it is about castles and beaches but they seem to me a very pleasing combination.  And the one above, in the Alentejo, isn’t the only one I found.  But we have to start somewhere so today I thought I’d take you over the Algarve border, and on up the western coastline of Portugal.  I have been to this area before but never so far as Vila Nova de Milfontes.

Situated at the mouth of the River Mira, the presence of the castle tells you that it was not always so peaceful here. Forte de São Clemente still has a drawbridge.  Dating back to 1485, the town had a key defensive role to play, and the wide estuary provided a safe harbour.  Today it’s not pirates we have to fear so much as tourists.  The town is part of the Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina national park, which stretches all the way down the coast and into the Algarve.  As such it enjoys a good measure of protection, and development is largely low rise.

Not for nothing is this known as the windy coast, and in my short visit it was highly apparent that this could be a cool spot. (the wind sometimes whistled in the corners of my hotel)  But I also experienced some lovely sunshine, so let’s take a wander through the town.

We'll start here in the shade of the castle

We’ll start here in the shade of the castle

There’s a tiny square,  Praça da Barbacã, very atmospheric at night, which looks down on the ferry point.  A rather strange sculpture has pride of place.  It pays tribute to the role played locally in aviation between Portugal and Macau in the Far East.

This is the nicest part of town, as you wander gently uphill through a mix of older houses and new.  There’s a small, simple church and a few gift shops.  What appears to be a tiny cafe turns out to be a 3 storey Tardis, serving food to half the town, myself included!  I meander along, past ochre and immaculate blue and white, letting my eye drift, as it does.

But wait!  There are surprises in store.

I thought that there must be some kind of scarecrow festival going on, but this was the only evidence I found.  Just one ‘spooky’ street, with an interesting shop or two for delving.

Or a seahorse with attitude?

Maybe a seahorse with attitude?

This looks like a good place to stay

And on the street corner, a good-looking place to stay

Pausing, I look down to the right and catch a glimpse of water.  Like a magnet, I’m drawn.

Looking back you can see the road bridge spanning the River Mira which brings you into town, but ahead the estuary opens out. Locals race against the tide to winkle out errant shellfish. Beneath my feet, a shelf of lavishly coloured rock.

Gazing out to sea

Gazing out to sea

And here's the ferry point. It's lunch hour!

And here’s the ferry point, at lunch hour

A group of backpackers sit in the shade.  I wonder where they’re off to next.  It feels like a transient place, and I know that there are beaches aplenty, just waiting.

Time to mount the steps back to the castelo

Time to mount the steps back to the castelo- not too arduous!

And this is your reward!

And here you have your reward!

I hope you enjoyed our morning amble.  That fresh sea air always does me a power of good.  The resort has probably stayed so peaceful because it’s quite a distance from the nearest airport, Lisbon, and you would probably need to drive there.

Time to share some walks.  Got the kettle on?

walking logo

Some of these folks have had a long wait to be included this week, so apologies if you’ve already been there.  Please do visit them if you haven’t.  If you’d like to join in, details can be found on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo.  You’ll be very welcome.


Let’s start the ball rolling with Bratislava.  Wouldn’t I love to accompany Debbie there?  This is SO pretty!

No Feeling Blue Here

Blue skies in the Shetlands for Anabel.  Lucky, or what?

Jarlshof to Sumburgh Head

Car boot sale anyone?  Actually Violet’s calling it a Farmer’s Market :

To market, to market

Random but very enjoyable rambles with Jackie and Frida Kahlo :

Monday’s Walk

Fairmont Banff Springs!  Sadly this luxury is not for me, but just look at Amy’s photos!

Monday Walk : Castle in the Wilderness (2)

Drake pays a wonderful tribute to ‘strong women’ :

The shades of Joan of Arc

And, in my absence, he took a little walk with the Beatles!

Nowhere walk

While Jaspa takes us strolling ‘down South America way’ :

The Streets of Santiago, Chile

Jill takes us for a fun wander (and I think there’s street art too)

Auckland City on a good day

What do Errol Flynn and Hobart have in common?  Find out with Ruth!

A walk around Battery Point

Fascination and excitement from the Southern hemisphere!  You’ll find it with Laia :

Rotorua: Maori culture and geothermal activity

And please welcome another ‘fit person’ to my walks.  You may have difficulty keeping up!

Memories of Ireland: Mount Brandon

Jude has excelled herself in my absence, with 3 new walks!  The most recent one unfortunately ended with a limp.

Garden Portrait : RHS Wisley part 1

Garden Portrait : RHS Wisley part 2

A painful memory or two here from Jude- suffering for her art!

Garden Portrait : Painshill Park

Unfortunately I won’t be walk leading next Monday as I’ll still be recovering from a Polish wedding.  I’m only gone a few days and hope to be back on track after that.  Seriously!  Meantime you might like to keep an eye on those lovely lasses at Monday Escapes.  Take care, and enjoy your walking!




    1. I can’t complain about people taking too many walks, Pauline! Can’t turn a good customer away. 🙂 It was wonderful! I’ve just switched on my laptop, wondering how to convey the joy.

      1. What a lovely thing to say, Pauline. I think the blog sees the best of me. I can be a proper grouch in ‘real life’. 🙂 (unless the sun’s shining! It’s been glorious today so I did some ‘Nordic’ at the beach and even sat in the garden to finish off a book)

  1. I missed my walks with Jo. The castle and steps with flowers along the edges was so sweet. I also thought the strange scarecrows and strange sculpture were intriguing, I felt it is like a teenager might adk, “What’s up with that?!” I spent only a half day in Portugal so this scenery meant a lot to me. The ocean and boats were special and the colored rocky ledge was really beautiful.

    1. Hi Jesh! Much staying power is required but there’s plenty to keep you interested (and way too much food 🙂 ) Impossible not to have a good time.
      Thank you! I’m barely just home this morning and will pop and visit soon.

  2. è bellissimo ritrovarti cara Jo! Indubbiamente mi sei molto macata! Oltre la bellezza delle immagini tu sai trasportarci nell’atmosfera del luogo, raccontarci con le immagini tutto quanto c’è da sapere, storia, folklore, ambiente! E non manca mai quel tocco di sana ironia che sempre ti contraddistingue! ho apprezzato gli spaventapasseri volanti e il muro con i cavallucci marini! Benritrovata, cara!

  3. What a delightful walk, Jo! The scarecrows on the clothesline are very bizarre indeed. Maybe a warning of some kind. 😯 Hope the wedding was fabulous. I’ve missed you whilst I was away. Getting back to normal now. 🙂 xx

    1. I missed you too Ad! I was on the point of seeking you out when I disappeared off to Poland. Post wedding today and I can report that it was fabulous. Will find you when I’m home again if not before. Hope you had a good time? X

  4. Welcome back albeit briefly Jo! Sounds like you’ve had a lovely time in Portugal. This little spot looks so lovely and unspoiltt. I always love the look of the blue and white architecture. We also are known as a very windy city here in Perth – must be to do with being on the far west of a continent. It drops the temperature in the afternoon in the summer months so we are grateful for it! Here is a link to my lighthouse stroll to include whenever you like! Also I finally got round to posting about the Alice in Wonderland prints from Portobello Road so I’ll send you the link for that too (though it’s not for Monday Walks of course just for interest!). Have a wonderful time at the Polish wedding! 🙂

  5. As you, I also think that castles and beaches are a beautiful combination. I love them both, and if they are at the same place, even better 🙂

    Beautiful place and wonderful photos!

    Happy to have you on #MondayEscapes

  6. Oh, I love castles above a beach, too. Maybe it’s a past-life thing (if there is such a thing)? Or…they now say we can have memories of our ancestors through our DNA!!! Really. I love the wall of rock fused together.

  7. What an amazing place, Jo! I’m sure that tree you like is a Norfolk Island Pine (I’m not sure how it got all the way to Portugal). These are great shots. One day I might get to live in a castle by the sea 😀

    1. They are quite common in Portugal, Dianne, and I love them (the trees 🙂 ) Thanks a lot! This castle is still intact which is more than can be said of most, and a drawbridge so I can keep out the riff raff! 🙂 🙂 (but not you)

    1. I thought I’d strayed onto a Western film set, Jo. Could almost hear that music going ‘Da-dan-da-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra, Dan-da-ra-raa’. It doesn’t translate too well in the spoken word 🙂 🙂

      1. Thursday for a Saturday wedding in a place called Chorzow so may not be an option, Andrew. It’s just a short visit and it looks like we may be taking the rain with us 😦

  8. I love the colour of the church and buildings – that white wash and blue reminds me more of Greece rather than Portugal. Thanks for taking me around Vila Nova de Milfontes I enjoyed it very much! Thanks for sharing on #MondayEscapes

  9. Apart your stunning photos , I think that Portugal and the Portuguese people , are keeping the innocence and the genuinity of the ancient southern European countries….
    The simplicity and the colours of the old houses are so sweet!

  10. It looks a gorgeous place to visit . . . . we want to explore more of Alentejo so adding this to the list and we get to go west too! Perfect. How long did it take from Tavira, and which way did you go?

    1. Not quite the way we intended, Becky, because we have rather an old map. Following it is always interesting 🙂 We went up the EO1 or IC1 depending on what your map says? (the road parallel to the toll road to Lisbon). It comes out on the N120 north of Odeceixe. 2-2 and a half hours-ish? I will be posting more when I get back from the wedding. 🙂

  11. Wonderful composition, especially of that first photo and the castelo steps. Then there’s the Greek island blue, and the white walls, and the boats. The scarecrows are macabre, some sort of horror story having happened or waiting to happen. Maybe Portugal goes on my list of monthly escapes from J and 8 months in Warsaw.

    1. I could be mean and say that when I first stepped out of the hotel door the wind was very, very fresh! But the lovely receptionist assured me that it wasn’t often like that, and I was only wearing a flimsy top 🙂 You’d love it!

  12. How is it possible that I’ve never gone to Portugal? I should change that when I go back to Europe! Seems lovely! Yes, I agree that castles and beaches are a pleasant combination 🙂 And did I see a blue humming bird on a white wall? So cute!

  13. Meg will love the rocks 🙂
    Now don’t go making me fall for western Portugal before I’ve even been to the Algarve girl! Oh there is so much world to see, it looks gorgeous here, the last photo reminds me of a north Cornwall estuary but don’t ask me which one. x:-)x

    1. How can a place that has more coastline than ‘innards’ (I can’t think how to put it 😦 ) not be gorgeous? I didn’t want to overexcite you, Gilly. I can’t wait for your impressions and photos when you get back. 🙂

    1. Thanks, darlin’! It’s wonderful to have you here. You always up the tone, Elisa 🙂 You just caught me betwixt and between (mostly ironing and packing up the son for his return to work tomorrow 🙂 )

  14. Now this is my kind of walk, Jo: water, boats, drawbridges and castles! What could be better? Your pictures are very enticing indeed, so I’m in! I love those steps up to the castle and the beautiful church. The drawbridge and the views are equally fabulous. And you know I always love boats that look well-loved and weathered. 🙂

    1. Yes, you’d have enjoyed this place, Cathy 🙂 And you should see some of the beaches further down the coast! (well, you will eventually- you know what I’m like!) Trying to fit everything in between washing and ironing. At some point I’ll need to think about Poland! 🙂

  15. what a lovely walk, Jo! i love this peaceful town by the sea! i thought the blue and white church is charming and the beautiful Madonna is a treat! 🙂 your photos are beautiful. thanks for sharing as always! 🙂

  16. I so enjoyed the walk, Jo! Great photos of this beautiful town and the beach, love the last one 🙂 I will be back to your Monday Walk next week. 🙂

    1. Such a gentle place, Amy. I really enjoyed it and am glad you did too. 🙂 I won’t have a walk up next Monday, hon, because I’m not back from the wedding till late Tuesday. I haven’t got time to schedule one, and even if I did, when would I ever find time to comment?
      Life will be slower when I get back 🙂

  17. I just love the white and blue and the little bit of yellow Jo. It looks so clean and fresh. What a wonderful outing you had and those seahorses are adorable! I think I am going to climb into one of your beach photos and just enjoy the rest of the afternoon. 😆

    Thanks for a wonderful share with gorgeous photos! ♥

    1. The colours are lovely, aren’t they, Sonel? Such a peaceful part of the world, with a hint of quirkiness. Just the way I like it 🙂 Thanks a lot, darlin’. Do climb in! 🙂

      1. Absolutely and though your eyes, just more beautiful Jo. Yes, the quirkiness must be there. I love it.:D

        Thanks sweetness. Don’t mind if I do. 😆 I’ll go and look for the quiet spots. 😀

  18. My overall impression is of blue & white and a sense of peace. The Alentejo region looks very interesting and worth exploring. And that rock looks familiar. I did get a sense of Cornwall from your photos, in the sun! A long way from your abode though, did you stay overnight somewhere? And what are the roads like to drive on? I must confess that not having driven in Europe that is my biggest concern.

    1. This is actually the liveliest resort on the Alentejo coast, and we stayed there because at very short notice we thought it would be easy enough to find a place. We booked the night before and got the last room in our hotel, Eira da Pedra, which was very pleasant. Funny how these things work out- it had a lovely swimming pool and we envisaged a dip or poolside drinks after a longish drive. But there was quite a chill wind, especially compared to the Algarve, so we never had the pleasure. 🙂
      In September the roads are pretty quiet, Jude, but you can get stuck behind a tractor or whatever. We went the scenic route rather than motorway (and got lost, of course) and we ventured a little further up the coast to a small resort I wanted to see before dropping back down to ours. You’ll see a lot more of those beaches before I’m finished but it has some great cities inland too.

      1. I went and looked up the region as you piqued my interest. It looks as though it is popular with the Portuguese so quiet out of season. Lots of great beaches along the coast and interesting historic cities. I am quite used to travelling behind a tractor (or as I say ‘tructor’ which refers to farm trucks, lorries and tractors). I am tempted.

      2. I did think that when I typed the bit about tractors 🙂 If I had time I’d give you a sneak preview of my favourite beach but it’ll just have to keep. It’s called Carvalhal 🙂

    1. I’m puffing and panting trying to keep up with myself Anabel! I feel like there’s so much to do, but what doesn’t happen… well- I’ll be back late next Tuesday, ready to start again. 🙂 Many thanks for your patience and your company.

  19. I loved Vila Nova de Milfontes When I visited at Easter. There were quite a few Portuguese holidaymakers but no dangling scarecrows unfortunately. I suspect the people with rucksacks were walking the Rota Vicentina which starts just north of VNM and runs all the way down to Sagres.

    1. Hi, Julie, and welcome! 🙂 I wasn’t too sure what to expect, it being the busiest resort in the area, but I think we’d missed ‘busy’ season, such as it is in the Alentejo. I did fancy a ferry ride but the wind was a bit fresh that day and we had lots more to see.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s