The town of Porto Covo, located on the Alentejo coast, attracts visitors with beautiful beaches with turquoise water hidden in picturesque coves. Paths leading along the cliffs are perfect for long walks. It’s peaceful and quiet here. Traditional whitewashed houses with blue borders catch the attention. The local gastronomy is mainly fish and pork, for which the Alentejo region is famous. The perfect place to relax. Who you like to visit Porto Covo? Or maybe someone already had the pleasure of seeing the town?
History of Porto Covo
The foundation of the village dates back to the eighteenth century. A village was born in the reign of King José I, after the earthquake of 1755. It is planned in space, with a simple grid of streets. The Largo Marquês de Pombal square in the center, inspired by the Pombaline model of downtown Lisbon. There were two forts in Porto Covo. One on the island of Ilha do Pessegueiro and the other on Praia do Pessegueiro. The second one was designed in 1601 by Alexandre Massai, an Italian engineer who, at the invitation of Philip I, fortified the most vulnerable ports on the Portuguese coast. For centuries, these two forts formed a defense system that provided peace of mind to fishermen and villagers. Only ruins remained after the fortifications.
Beaches of Porto Covo
The seaside town of Porto Covo attracts with beautiful beaches with turquoise water. Coves hidden among the cliffs provide protection from the wind and create a kind of natural pools – ideal for children. Unfortunately, the beaches are not accessible to people with disabilities because they can only be reached by wooden stairs. None of the beaches have toilets. Praia dos Buizinhos and Praia do Banho are the closest to the town. Praia Grande do Porto Covo is the largest and widest beach in the area, there is a restaurant next to it, however, it was closed in the 2023 season. Praia Naturista do Salto is a nudist beach. Praia da Samoqueira, 3 km from Porto Covo, is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal due to its interesting rock formations, coves that form at low tide and a tiny waterfall.
Ilha do Pessegueiro
The mysterious Ilha do Pessegueiro is a tiny island south of Porto Covo, once occupied by the Romans and Carthaginians, it became the scene of legends and pirate raids. The word Pessegueiro means “peach”, but you will not find a tree on the island. Among the ruins there are remains of tanks for salting fish, used by the Romans during the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, it is from them that the name of the island most likely comes from and from the Latin words related to fishing: “piscatorius”, “piscarium”. Today, Ilha do Pessegueiro is a recognizable part of the landscape Southwest Alentejo National Park and Costa Vicentina.
An interesting fact: the famous Portuguese artist Rui Veloso sings about the town and the island in his ballad:
Havia um pessegueiro na ilha / There was a peach tree on the island
Plantado por um Vizir de Odemira / Planted by the Vizier of Odemira
Que dizem que por amor se matou novo / They say he killed himself young, for love
Aqui, no lugar de Porto Côvo / Here in the place of Porto Covo
Where to eat in Porto Covo
The local gastronomy is mainly fish and pork, for which the Alentejo region is famous. The Doce Mar restaurant on the main pedestrian street is a great choice for lovers of Portuguese cuisine. You can try meat and seafood here, we really liked the steaks, especially the one in pepper sauce. In the Zé Inácio restaurant praised by everyone, unfortunately, we got a very dry grilled octopus, the steak was also so-so. Lamelas is a gastronomic gem run by chef Ana Moura, Portuguese flavors with a modern twist. Lisbon prices. For breakfast, I recommend Café Creme in the main square.
Where to stay in Porto Covo
Porto Covo is mainly private accommodation for holiday rentals. One of the places that caught my attention is Casa do Mar: a house on a cliff with an amazing view of the ocean. Ocean House Alentejo has modern rooms with private bathrooms, breakfast is served on the charming terrace. O Lugar offers modern and cozy rooms in the center. If you are looking for a hotel with a pool, be sure to check out the Porto Covo Praia Hotel & SPA. MUTE Hostel caters to the needs of travelers, the hostel has a swimming pool and the views of the ocean are fantastic. There are also two campsites in the town: Porto Covo Camping and Costa do Vizir.