From Porto Covo to Carvalhal

The wild coast

The wild coast

Great, isn't it?

Wonderful, isn’t it?

For a beach lover like me, the Alentejo coastline is something truly special, but for a mariner, it’s a nightmare.  Sweeping curves of sand are protected by jagged outcrops.  The wind and waves are in constant competition.  Safe harbours are rare.  My base at Vila Nova de Milfontes was calm and serene, but I couldn’t wait to get out exploring that ‘wild coast’.

Peach Tree Island (Ilha do Pessegueiro) has an alluring sound to it, don’t you think?  My ‘Rough Guide’ spoke of a short cliff top walk, starting from Porto Covo.  Clutching map, and with bags swiftly stowed at our nicely central hotel, it seemed logical to follow the coast directly north out of town. The road soon came to a stop at a cliff top restaurant, and I looked down into a tiny cove.  Alas, a sign said Porto Covo 16.5km, pointing off along the cliffs.  Inadvertently I had found Portinho do Canal, a haven for local fishermen.

Out on the sea wall, the wind whistled fiercely.  Back to the car, and a return to Vila Nova de Milfontes to find the correct road north, in the direction of Sines.  Porto Covo wasn’t quite what I had expected.  A single road, lined with shops and restaurants, which your eye soon skirted past to dwell on the sea, glimmering in the distance.  After the peacefulness of Portinho do Canal, it seemed a busy spot. The small cove beach was lined with people, but my interest lay much further along the coast.

In the distance, Peach Tree Island

In the distance, Peach Tree Island

But first a descent

But first the descent

The house on the hill

The house on the hill

The road winds steeply down to the quayside, and a gravel track equally steeply up the other side.  With the tide out, crossing over to join the track is no problem, but I could envisage a paddle on the return journey.  In the event, the cliff top path to Peach Tree Island was not as tempting as I had imagined.  With what I had already seen, in Vila Nova de Milfontes, it was time to call it a day.

Looking back at the house on the hill

Looking back at the house on the hill

Another day, and this time those special beaches.  Heading south from Vila Nova de Milfontes it’s a bare 5km to Almograve, signed from the N393. The landscape becomes beautifully rural as you leave the main road, and then you’re at the coast.

We're at the beach!

This way to the beach!

It looks promising

It looks promising

And it is!

And it is!

Next stop was Odemira, a small riverside town that I featured in my walk this week.  And then it was back to the coast and a place you have already had a peep at in a previous post- Zambujeira do Mar, with it’s vast expanse of sand.

You may remember it

You may remember it

What can top that?  Well, maybe it was the day… maybe it was just time for a place to chill (there were a lot of steps at Zambujeira!)… but sometimes a place just imprints itself on your memory, and you have to stay a while.

Maybe it was the wickedly shaped rocks

Meet Praia do Carvalhal!

A beach bar and a caress of sand, with wickedly shaped rocks on either side.  Warning notices on the cliffs- beware rock falls and a fast racing tide.

This was a beach that I loved!

This was a beach that I loved!




I’m not a swimmer so I didn’t need to fear the signs.  I was more than happy just to pootle in the shallows and explore the beauty all around me. And then it was back down the coast to the gentler beauty of my Algarve.

Join me there for a walk on Monday, won’t you?  It’s every bit as lovely.



    1. Seems so long ago! Cool and damp here now, but I can still see Autumn colour if I look over my shoulder out of our front window. Thanks for hunting this one down, Meg. 🙂

    1. Hi Cindy 🙂 Sorry about that. I sometimes have the same problem. I ran out of photo memory and switched to Premium recently, so maybe that’s made a difference? I don’t know. You might need to follow again, but you shouldn’t have to. I appreciate you taking the trouble and I do envy you Yosemite.

  1. I just love the look of this area Jo! It has reminiscences of our adopted part of the world here in Perth and the south west coast except that here in Perth we don’t have the same cliffs (though you do further south). Nothing like a walk in the sunshine with the strong ocean winds coming in – we had a similar walk this morning by the sea and although it was already mid 20s with the strong sea breeze it made it seem far cooler. The Indian Ocean off the Western Australia coast has also been the demise of many ships in days gone by – it’s beautiful but treacherous too! Will now go and catch up on your Monday Walk for last week (has been a busy week here – on babysitting duties!) and am looking forward to this week’s one too. I’ll send you a link in due course for the Nymphenburg Park walk, which you’ve already seen, as it qualifies as a “walk” at a gentle ambling pace! Have a lovely weekend 🙂

      1. Hope the weather perks up Jo that never helps! Has been raining here too today but we needed it as it’s been unseasonally warm so it’s very good for the garden! Have edited my post and added the link to your Monday Walk but just include it when you can there’s no hurry! Have a week or so of overseas visitors so will pop in to the blog when I can! 🙂

      2. It can go in this week, hon. There are lots of links already but I don’t know if next week will be quieter. (I think that’s a good thing? When I have enough time, anyway 🙂 ) Have fun with your company and just stop by when you want. 🙂

      3. Thanks Jo 😃 Yes everyone is coming at once, first friends from the UK then my uncle from New Zealand – nice that they are coming all the way to Petth though! Have a lovely week and hope your knee recovers soon 😀 X

  2. Here you’re …. have been missing you, but I don’t blame you that you’re rather here than anywhere else. *smile – I’m amazed everything I see your image that your little camera do this fabulous job. It shows that it’s not the camera .. it’s all down to the hands and eyes behind it. You’re such a fantastic storyteller too ..
    I just have to get my sorry ass down there .. but it is like Faro could be in Antarctic for me. *smile Have to take a charter maybe. Have a lovely weekend now .. and my regards to you better half.

      1. My poor, friend … swollen knee .. I wouldn’t be happy neither, but it’s not winter yet … or ???!!! Here come a comfort hug.

      2. Bless you, darlin. Feeling more positive today (and less swollen 🙂 ). Got Rafa to watch this morning so it doesn’t matter if the sun doesn’t shine. 🙂 Have a good weekend, sweetheart! Returning hugs 🙂

      3. Okay, I’m glad that you have Rafa … is he winning anything those days??? Enjoy!!!! It’s a long time since I watched tennis …. in the old days .. with Björn I was glued to the TV. What a player, but he wouldn’t survive today’s way of playing. No sun here neither … ironing day ahead. Steamy hug.

  3. Amazing and absolutely gorgeous views Jo and you took the most perfect shots of this little paradise. Thanks for the lovely virtual tour. I would love that beach as well. 😀 ♥

      1. I am sure it is Jo. I would love Portugal as well. It’s just so beautiful there. 😀

        You’re very welcome darling and wishing you a great weekend as well. ♥

  4. I can see why you’d be totally made up with this place babe, its gorgeous, I didn’t want your post to end! Definitely lovely days to remember when you’re battling through the winter here. I’m confused with the island though, it looks too far from the shore to be able to walk out even in low tide? 🙂

    1. I was a little unsure too, Gilly. It would definitely be a ‘get your feet wet’ walk! There may be a causeway at low tide but it didn’t look probable to me and we weren’t going to hang around to find out. You know when you have something in mind and when you get there, it isn’t like that? Porto Covo was like that for me. It was the end of our first day up there and we didn’t feel the urge to linger. The second day though was sublime! 🙂 🙂

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