Before we left California for our Portugal sojourn, my dear and well-traveled friend Paul told me to check out Comporta, a small fishing town he had wanted to visit. Madonna, Christian Louboutin, and Phillipe Starck all have low-key hideaways here so I knew it had to be someplace special.
Anyway, Jax and I finally made the trip up this past weekend. We road-tripped with our good friends Chris, Angie, and Edouard up the beautiful Alentejo coast so that I could finally see firsthand what the fuss was all about.
On our way up there, we saw so many cork trees! Half the world’s cork production is sourced in Portugal, and many of the trees grow in this area. Cork is especially important in the high-end wine world where bigger, fuller wines (e.g., reds) benefit from a little oxygen that the cork naturally allows the wine to intake while it’s in the bottle. Jax loved checking out the trees and holding the cork, knowing it is one of Portugal’s biggest and most important exports.
Anyway, as soon as we were near the area, it instantly reminded me of the Hamptons and took me back to my days living in Manhattan when I did a summer share in the Springs near East Hampton with some dear friends and L’Oreal colleagues. Little did I know that Fodor’s published this article 3 months ago: This Cool European Beach Town is the Hamptons of Portugal. Ahhh… so many similarities!
But true to that article, Comporta is really an “under the radar gem.” Due to strict zoning laws protecting the area’s dunes and nature reserves (i.e., we saw many huge nesting storks), Comporta is absolutely void of any big hotel complexes and the residence compounds are truly hidden away. The vibe is relaxed, peaceful, naturally wild, and really untouched and authentic.
For shoppers, the actual Comporta village is not like your typical commercialized Algarve strip. Angie and I commented that the Algarve really should have something like this – really really cute stores with beautiful, curated, unique goods. Discerning buyers will actually find something they want! It also helps that the whitewashed storefronts with terra cotta-roofs add to the downplayed luxury, again very similar to the Hamptons.
Needless to say, my friend Paul was right about Comporta. I loved it and can’t wait to go back and visit again.