Once south of the industrial town of Sines – avoidable unless you are on the trail of Vasco da Gama, who was born here – you’ll encounter one of the least developed coasts in Portugal, a wild, scrubby expanse of low hills and wave-pounded cliffs. Low-key resorts cluster round the various cove beaches that you can find right along the coast, including pretty Porto Côvo. Further south, Vila Nova de Milfontes is the main – and by far the nicest – Alentejan resort, while Almograve and Zambujeira do Mar, further south still, are both small seaside villages with stupendous beaches, a short drive from the northern Algarve.

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