ROAD TRIP TO THE MOST WONDERFUL BEACHES IN GRÂNDOLA, ALENTEJO
A Road trip to the beaches in Alentejo is one of my recommendations if you seek a truly Portuguese beach travel experience in a less crowded and safe environment.
The region of Alentejo is one of the most iconic and favourite destinations in Portugal for a road trip, since it encompasses a wide variety of landscapes: from pristine beaches to Unesco heritage sites and megalithic monuments. Even though motorway access is widely accessible, reaching the most wanted destination will require a certain distance by national roads. For that reason, when planning a roadtrip you need to consider travel time, as well as your interests and the type of holiday you wish.
Hence, since Alentejo breathes a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere, you should not go in a rush trying to visit everything in one week. Instead, I recommend dividing your road trip into 2: to the seaside and to the more cultural historic sites of Alentejo.
Alentejo hosts some of the most wonderful beaches in Portugal and Europe, you could easily take a lifetime discovering them all if you include the more unknown and less accessible ones.
I will focus on the most beautiful ones for a 4-day road trip to the beaches of Grândola.
Did you know Grândola is the largest district of beaches per square kilometer in Portugal and the third-largest in the world? Furthermore, the majority of its beaches have a blue flag and were even awarded several prizes for their beauty and surrounding landscape. For the more explorer travellers, you do also have unknown beach treasures, only accessible either on foot or after riding on a dirt road.
Did you also know Christian Louboutin owns several properties here? Next year his boutique hotel should be opened in Melides, a small location in Grândola. Given his attachment to his properties and this wonderful area, he has even named Melides one of his many great shoe collection.
ROAD TRIP GUIDE TO THE MOST WONDERFUL BEACHES IN GRÂNDOLA, ALENTEJO
Travel time: 4 days
Total distance: 181,60 km
Area covered: Beaches of Grândola
Accommodation: 4* Herdade da Barrosinha, Alcácer do Sal
I always stayed in Álcacer do Sal.
I recommend staying at Alcácer do Sal, since the accommodation offer is one of the best in the area.
Accesses to motorways and other beaches are easy (plan about 1h route on average). Moreover, its castle is also worth a visit.
Other areas which also have a good accommodation offer are Melides or Grândola with a wide variety of options from the lap of luxury to the fancy more reasonably priced.
Experience at Herdade da Barrosinha
It is a 4* Clean and Safe label hotel, co-financed by EU funds.
Located 5 km away from the main center of Alcácer of Sal, if you want to benefit from a pure relaxed, and peaceful atmosphere for your holidays, this is the place to stay.
It was a former agricultural property and wine is still produced at their cellars. They have a store, where you can buy them if you like it, as well as other local products.
It features a good restaurant indicated at Boa Cama Boa Mesa, where breakfast is served daily (nowadays under Covid-19 you need to book the breakfast time at the check-in). At dinner time, à la carte options are available, from seafood rice to grilled fish, filet mignon, or Iberico pork. Do not miss their wines, so that you know which ones to take at home!
There is an outdoor swimming pool overlooking the landscape, as well as a pool bar with good light options.
Rooms are incredibly spacious, very nicely-decorated in nude tones, with king-size beds, a disinfection kit, air conditioning, a mini-bar, private bathroom and a balcony. In my case the balcony had direct access to the outdoor swimming pool.
Beyond double rooms, they do also have apartments for larger families or stays.
I was happy with their Covid-19 protocol and can recommend it as a safe stay for any traveller.
Day one – Praia da Aberta Nova, Grândola
Distance: 44,6 km
Praia da Aberta Nova, also known as the Golden Beach, is a blue flag beach and has even received a gold award for its beauty.
It is a surveilled beach with a very nice beach bar.
When travelling in the direction Melides, you will see the signs for this beach. Follow them and after 3 km, you will have to drive on a dirt road (around 5 km), which will be worth it. Park your car in the parking area and enjoy this immense sandy beach.
It was my favourite, because it is a very extensive sandy beach with wild and sometimes dangerous waves. However, it just looks beautiful looking at the wave trajectory.
A very popular outdoor activity in this area is beach horseriding, whose phone number you can see at the entrance or the beach bar. Prices will range from €50 to €90 per hour.
It was so incredible that during my holidays such a dreamy beach was almost empty during the afternoon!
Stay there until sunset time (in September 8 pm) to observe a magical sunset!
Day two- Praia da Vigia, Grândola
Distance: 44,6 km
Praia da Vigia is a well-preserved treasure. So, go there but tell no one.
It is still of the very few virgin beaches, at its most pure condition. No infrastructures are located on this beach, so make sure to take plenty of water and snacks.
The road is not easy, since it is completely dirt road (much more than the previous one), but I guarantee your mind will be blown away once you go there! A motivation card: On the way, you will pass through the entrance of one of Christian Louboutin‘s properties.
As opposed to Praia da Aberta Nova, Praia da Vigia is not identified on the road. It is however the immediate exit on your right, after the signals for Praia da Aberta Nova, the same as the cemetery indication. Keep following the dirt road until you see some cars parked. Park your car as well and you will be marvelled at the landscape.
It is also a very extensive sandy beach, allowing you to keep the necessary safety distance. During my stay, it was almost empty.
Day three – Praia de Melides, Grândola
Distance: 45,4 km
Praia de Melides is another blue flag beach in the district of Grândola. It is a surveilled beach with a wide range of services, from a very chilled and fresh beach bar to a restaurant. The beach bar right in front of the beach, a little pricey, is the perfect location for your açaí at sunset time.
The special feature of this beach is that it combines both the beach landscape, as well as the Melides lagoon.
Accesses are very easy and there is a large parking area for free.
It is also quite an extensive beach. Even though you will see more people at this beach, I still found it fine to keep social distances.
Day four – Praia de Tróia – Galé
Distance: 47 km
Praia de Tróia-Galé is a blue flag beach located at the natural reserve Península de Tróia which is one of Portugal‘s fanciest locations.
It is a non surveilled beach and no beach bar is available.
The beach is located at a private complex, composed mostly of exclusive villas. Access is done via private parking for free divided into villa owners and visitors. After passing through the security guard, turn left and you will see the signals for the beach.
It overlooks Serra da Arrábida and I found clear pristine sand with blue/green colour amazing. The sea is so calm that for a couple of seconds, you feel you are at Mediterranean waters.
Since it is the beach located the furthest away from the tourist complexes, it will be the less crowded one.
What is Península de Tróia?
It is a sandy sandbank more than 25 km long and 0.5 to 1.5 km wide, on the coast of Carvalhal, in the municipality of Grândola, between the Atlantic Ocean (to the west) and the estuary from the Sado River (to the east). The peninsula was formed in the last 5000 years from south to north, from Comporta to Tróia in front of the city of Setúbal.
In the northern part of the peninsula, you can visit the Roman ruins of Troia, a vast complex of fish salting, which remained active between the 1st and 6th centuries. In the last decades of the 20th century, several tourist developments were built in Troia, such as Soltroia and Troiaresort. Two river terminals provide the shortest connection to the city of Setúbal: Cais Sul (ferries) and Ponta do Adoxe (catamarans). Around €15 per way.
After going to the beach, you may walk at the marina promenade where you can have a fancy lunch (even though I do not particularly recommend, as prices are high and there is a very touristic atmosphere). At the marina, you can also rent a yacht or even do some dolphin/bird observation.
You may perhaps feel surprised I do not mention the well-known and fancy Comporta or Praia do Carvalhal.
By the time of my visit, there were some Covid-19 cases in Comporta, hence I tried to avoid the beach as much as I could. Furthermore, while driving to other locations I could see the parking lot was always full.
Praia do Carvalhal is a very exclusive beach, where the 5* Sublime Comporta Beach Club is located. You pay a €4 parking fee and €50 for a lounge chair. I found the beach too full and without social distance for those who do not rent a lounge chair. Hence, I did not feel safe and found my previously-mentioned beaches way more genuine and picturesque.
Best restaurants in Grândola:
- Restaurante da Barrosinha
- Dona Bia – For grilled fish and fish specialties
- Tia Rosa – For duck (star of the restaurant) and codfish
Exploring the beaches of Grândola is a great road trip you can do anytime, no matter which season with any kind of traveller. If you ever imagined an idyllic paradise scenery enjoying beach days without crowds, hit the road and rent your car right now here