Alcácer and Sines Tour

A journey by car exploring the coastline between Alcacer do Sal and Sines, including Comporta and Carvalhal, returning to the starting point via Santiago de Cacém and Grândola.

Start this tour at the exit of Alcácer do Sal, after the old bridge next to the restaurant Porto Santana. At the first crossing turn to Comporta and follow a road that through ups and downs goes through oaks and sandy hilltops. Near Comporta, turn right to Carrasqueira. It is a Sado fishermen village, alike so many others, but for the curious wooden pier that branches off by the river channels, so as to enable the access to vessels in any tidal conditions. At the intersection of Comporta proceed towards Tróia to visit the beach. Return to this point and head south, deviating to the right again to see a more cosmopolitan and crowded beach, the Carvalheiro one. Back on the road, pay attention and turn right onto Sines and Pinheiro da Cruz. In passing through this prison, please know that crafts and wine produced here can justify a stop. Henceforth, there are many options to turn right, which allow the access to beautiful beaches, not much crowded. Praia da Raposa, south of Pinheiro da Cruz, is one example among many. If you are not in a hurry, there are many paths to explore, mostly accessible to conventional vehicles.

 

Where it is absolutely imperative to turn onto the right is in Melides to visit the beach and the homonymous lake. The pond is not very large and extends towards the sea with a number of rice fields and wetlands that you start seeing from the road. The landscape is beautiful with the lake extending to the north to an area of high dunes topped by vegetation. Here you have two options: either to follow a dirt road, in a better or worse condition, to the nearby pond of Santo André or to return to Melides and take the road to Sines. In any case, the visit to Santo André pond is fully justified. It is a vast and tranquil reflecting pool, surrounded by dunes, pine trees and some houses. Om the sea side there are many inviting beaches. The highway that passes in Vila Nova de Santo André leads directly to Sines. Halfway to the right, lies the trail that leads to Sancha pond, which has different features. It is much smaller, surrounded by greenery and is a closed shelter to numerous species of birds. Since this is a protected area, access is only possible on foot (about 15 minutes). Sines is always worth visiting, if only to see the view from the top of the hill where stands the castle where it is said to have been born Vasco da Gama. Downwards, in the harbor, a mix of multicolored fishing boats and pleasure craft.

 

Then, towards south, in São Torpes, is the entrance to the Natural Park of Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina. Now, starting the return trip to Alcácer, take the direction of Santiago do Cacém. It's worth seeing or reviewing the medieval castle, conquered by the Order of Santiago, where you can see the whole coast from its walls. A roar of engines will inform you on the approach of the long trains departing from Sines daily, loaded with coal, going to Pego thermo-electric power station, in the outskirts of Abrantes. But do not leave here without visiting one of the most curious and significant evidence of Roman presence in the South: the archaeological Miróbriga. its recent interpretation center enables visitors a fascinating journey to the times when the Roman legions controlled the Iberian Peninsula. To return to Alcacer do Sal, choose the small, winding road that will traverse the Grandola mountain, instead of the busy IC33. This is a quite route, via Santa Margarida da Serra, surrounded by green fields, almost to the gates of Grândola. Arrived here, there is little alternative but to enter the IC2 towards Lisbon. This is a section that may have some traffic jams but only for a few kilometers, since Alcácer is already very near. Willing, complete your tour with a climb to the castle walls to watch the Sado valley.

 

 

 

Access: By A2 or IC2 until Alcácer do Sal.

 

To have into account: You may find some traffic in your return, especially between Grândola and Alcácer do Sal on weekends and in Summer. Length Some 170 km.

 

Meals: Porto Santana (T. 265622517), Hortelã da Ribeira (T. 265 612 235) and O Brazão (T. 265 622 576), in Alcácer; A Escola (T. 265612816), on the road Alcácer-Comporta, EN253.

 

Other spots to visit: Badoca Park (Santiago do Cacém) and Lousal Old Mines (Ermidas do Sado).

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