The best independent guide to Vila Nova de Milfontes
The best independent guide to Vila Nova de Milfontes
The Vila Nova de Milfontes coastline contains some of Portugal’s finest beaches. The coastal landscape is dominated by the Atlantic Ocean, which has carved out dramatic scenery, with rugged cliffs and wide expanses of golden sands.
The beaches of the region are varied, ranging from wild, exposed beaches, ideal for surfing, through to calm and family friendly beaches. If your perfect holiday involves spending time at a beach, then you will truly adore Vila Nova de Milfontes. This guide will detail the beaches of Vila Nova de Milfontes and identify the best beaches of the region.
Finest beach of the region – Praia de Almograve and Praia do Malhão
Best beach close to Vila Nova - Praia das Furnas and Praia da Franquia
Best beach for children - Praia da Franquia and Praia do Farol
Best beach for surfing - Praia dos Aivados and Praia do Malhão
Most scenic beach - Praia de Almograve and Praia do Malhão
Where to escape the summer crowds - Praia dos Aivados and Praia da Ilha do Pessegueiro
Worthy of the trip - Praia da Samoqueira Porto Covo
The Praia da Franquia The Praia da Franquia is the primary beach of Vila Nova de Milfontes and extends along the Mira River estuary, from the lifeboat station to the lighthouse headland. Franquia is sheltered from the powerful Atlantic waves and the strong coastal winds, and is ideal for spending a relaxing day on the beach, and also for families with small children.
On the beach kayaks and stand up paddleboards can be hired for trips along the river (please see things to do article for more information). As this beach is the closest to the town expect it to be very busy during the summer.
The Praia do FarolThe Praia do Farol extends around the lighthouse headland and is locacted at the mouth of the Mira River Estuary. This beach is very similar to the Praia da Franquia, being calm and sheltered from the strong winds and waves. At low tide, a rock outcrop is exposed and is teeming with small tidal sea life.
As the beach is close to the estuary mouth, there are strong tidal currents, but it is family friendly beach, which is supervised during the summer. To the south of the lighthouse, headland is the “A Choupana” restaurant (a wonderful setting for a romantic meal) and a small beach filled with hundreds of stacked stones.
The Praia do Carreiro das Fazendas
The Praia do Carreiro das Fazendas is the closest beach to Vila Nova de Milfontes, which represents the typical Alentejo coastline. It is pristine but wild; surrounded by sand dunes of wind blasted beach scrub, while onto the golden sands fierce Atlantic waves break.
It is possible to surf (or bodyboard) at the Praia do Carreiro das Fazendas, but care should be taken as there are many hidden rocks. The beach is exposed to the strong northern breeze, and the sea is much too powerful for children to swim. Praia do Carreiro is very scenic but not great for a day’s sunbathing or relaxing.
The Praia das Furnas
The Praia das Furnas is on the opposite side of the Mira River and is Vila Nova de Milfontes best beach. Furnas has two distinct sections; the first section overlooks the estuary and is similar to the Praia da Franquia, while the second part faces the Atlantic Ocean and is a much larger expanse of sand. If the conditions are good, Furnas beach can be an excellent surfing beach.
Furnas beach is reached via a ferry that departs from the mooring below the castle. A return ticket costs €5 and, during the summer season, there are numerous hourly departures. In the low season, the number of ferry departures decrease and completely stops in the winter. The beach can be walked to by crossing the N393 bridge and then following the gravel track along the estuary.
The Praia do Patacho (ship wreck beach)
The Praia do Patacho is not suitable for a day on the beach, but is locally famed due to the rusting shipwreck grounded on the rocks. Each winter the wreck is savaged by the winter storms, and soon it will be little more than a pile of rusting metal……
The ship on the Praia do Patacho is an ancient rusting wreck...
All of the previous beaches were within walking distance of Vila Nova de Milfontes, these beaches are slightly further out, but can be reached by cycling, hiking or driving.
Praia do Malhão (6km from Milfontes)
The Praia do Malhão is a beautiful beach, and is a vast expanse of golden sands, completely untouched by tourism. Malhão beach lies within the Sudoeste Alentejano Nature Park and a visit to this wonderful beach is highly recommended. Apart from a stunning natural setting, Malhão is a great destination for surfing, and is where most of the surf schools or competent surfers head to.
If you’re planning a day trip here bring some supplies as there are no cafes or beach bars close by, and the nearest shop is in the campsite, 0.5km from the beach. At Malhao there is a large and free car park but it will be busy in the summer. Out of the summer season it is a popular location as a campervan stop but there are no facilities here.
It is a pleasant cycle from Vila Nova de Milfontes to Malhao beach. The route follows gravel paths, beginning at the Camping Milfontes campsite (GPS 37.73237, -8.78325) and is suitable for all (no hills and just 200m of major road).
The Rota Vicentina hiking trail connects Milfontes to Malhao beach and the hike of 7km takes around 90minutes. This is a very scenic route as it follows the coastline along sandy paths (unfortunately these paths are not suitable for cycling). For a guide to Malhao beach please click here.
Praia de Almograve (8km from Milfontes)
The Praia de Almograve is considered as one of the finest beaches of Portugal. The golden sands of the beach are dissected by rifts of black basalt rocks, onto which massive Atlantic waves surge. Almograve represents natures raw beauty at its greatest, and if you are able to, you must visit.
The Praia de Almograve is absolutly stunning
Almograve beach is only 8km from Milfontes but the indirect roads extends the journey to 15km. Being less accessible from Milfontes means that the vast Praia de Almograve will be significantly quieter than all of the previous beaches and is a good destination to escape the summertime crowds.
There is a very scenic cliff walk from Praia de Almograve to the little fishing harbour of Porto das Lapas das Pombas, where the boats are launched between the jagged cliffs. Behind the beach is the quiet village of Almograve, which has been completely undiscovered by tourism, but still contains many good restaurants. For a giude to Almograve beach please click here
Praia dos Aivados (9.5km from Milfontes, 13km by road)
The Praia dos Aivados is the best surfing beach of the Vila Nova de Milfontes coastline; anyone who says different is deterred by the isolated location and the sand/dirt roads to get here. The surf is fantastic and there are no hidden rocks but expect strong currents and no lifeguard supervision. This location is only for confident surfers and never surf alone…..
As this is an isolated beach, there are absolutely no facilities, with just a single café in the village of Ribeira da Azenha 2km inland from the beach. A car is the only real way to get here, it is possible to cycle (I fell off my bike due to the sandy road) and is another great location to pull up a campervan for the night, to escape everything.
Just look at the amazing surfing waves, the Praia dos Aivados is the best surfing beach
The Praia da Ilha do Pessegueiro
This beach is a long way from Vila Nova de Milfontes but is an interesting detour if you have a car. At the southern end of the beach is the Forte do Pessegueiro and the beach (which is very similar Malhão) overlooks the Ilha do Pessegueiro island. The Ilha do Pessegueiro is completely inaccessible to tourists, but there is a 15th-century fort, Roman ruins and no sign of the peach tree (Ilha do Pessegueiro translated means island of the single peach tree)
The Ilha do Pessegueiro, unfortunatly with Sines power station in the background
Porto Covo is the next major town to the north of Vila Nova Milfontes, and its beaches are of a completely different style. The beaches of Milfontes and the central Sudoeste Alentejano tend to be wide, open and surrounded by endless sand dunes. Porto Covo’s beaches are smaller, nestled between the collapsed cliffs and little coves of the jagged coastline.
The Praia Grande de Porto Covo
The Praia Grande de Porto Covo is the largest beach Porto Covo and is within walking distance of the town centre.
The largest sandy beach close of Porto Covo
The Praia da Samoqueira Porto Covo
Praia da Samoqueira is one of the most beautiful beaches of Porto Covo and has a natural low tide pool.
There is a large sandy section to the beach to the northern end
The beach of Zambujeira do Mar is incredibly scenic, with the traditional village perched at the top of a giant cliff, that falls away to a wide sandy bay. Zambujeira do Mar makes for an enjoyable day trip from Milfontes, but the 30km distance means it can only be visited by car.
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