Vila Nova de Milfontes– 20km south of Porto Côvo – is the main and most attractive resort on the Alentejo coast. Although it gets very busy in high season, it is the Portuguese families who predominate, injecting good humour and a relaxed atmosphere. The attractive whitewashed streets of the old town huddle around a striking, ivy-wreathed sixteenth-century castle facing the estuary of the Rio Mira. Built in 1599 to guard the town against North African pirates, the small castle was a hotel for many years, but is now closed to the public.
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The town’s long, sandy river beach lies just a few minutes’ walk to the west. Swimmers need to be aware of the strong river currents – the town beach has roped-off swimming areas that you should heed – and even more so at the beaches either side of town, where the breakers can be fierce. Swim close to the locals who know the waters well, and you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Even though the town beach is spacious, it gets busy in high season, when you might want to take the ferry from the jetty at the foot of the castle across the estuary to Furnas, a long, sandy beach also accessible off the main coast road.
Vila Nova de Milfontes Castle © Armando Frazao / Shutterstock
Things to do in Vila Nova de Milfontes
During the summer when temperatures are around 35 degrees, it can be tempting to just lay out on the beach. If, however, you are brave and wish to get a little adventurous there are the Rota Vicentina hiking trails. We recommend the Fisherman's trail that ends up at Malhao beach, passing the charming Milfontes harbour along the way. Cycling is ideal here, with quiet and relatively flat roads leading to beaches and coves. Kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and boat trips are also an option.
Featured Image, Vila Nova de Milfontes © Inacio Pires / Shutterstock