The growing popularity of Comporta is spreading to the other towns and villages around the Herdade da Comporta. This is the case with Melides, a charming haven located a little further south, 20 minutes’ drive away.
Here you will find a pretty whitewashed town, blue-painted houses, a covered market in the heart of the centre and, to the west, a beautiful lagoon and the same long, unspoiled beaches as in Comporta.
Melides belongs to the municipality of Grândola. It is located on the Alentejo coast 130 km south of Lisbon. Melides has become increasingly well known in recent years thanks to tourism development in the region, and to its many assets: tranquillity, unspoiled nature, village charm, and its many activities.
In recent years several villas and architect-designed houses have appeared along its lagoon, but Melides remains a place frequented mainly by locals.
Melides in Portugal: an authentic village of the Alentejo
The village of Melides is not very big, but it is particularly charming. The atmosphere is quiet, friendly and very pleasant. A traditional whitewashed church and a covered market enliven local life. Farmers and fishermen sell fresh fish and fruit and vegetables from their farms.
Strolling through the alleys of the village’s ancient centre, you can see 18th- and 19th-century properties with woodwork and wrought-iron balconies of the period. The ruins of the old church of “Santa Marinha” (late 15th century) are also worth a detour. Its impressive columns, walls and buttresses are still clearly visible.
The Melides lagoon in Portugal
The unique feature of Melides is the large lagoon that cuts across the land and flows down to the beach. This body of water flows through the pine forest, rice paddies and meadows of Melides. It thus creates a rich natural area for the flora and fauna it shelters. Since 2010, it has been classified as a “protected area of national interest”.
A bird observatory has been installed in the heart of the lagoon. Ducks, birds of prey or waders that feed here can be watched in peace. Information is also available on the species that can be found in the lagoon, such as the sandpiper, the hoopoe or the common stonechat.
The lagoon is accessible from both banks. The south shore is served by a paved road, and the north shore by a track.
Another original way to discover the lagoon is to take a ride on a stand-up paddleboard. Ana and Daniel, of Surf in Comporta, offer unforgettable SUP rides in the Melides lagoon at sunset. An opportunity to practise the sport in a unique and unspoiled environment.
The wild beaches of Melides in Portugal
Melides Beach is a long arm of sand that separates the sea from Melides Lagoon. Between these two bodies of water, Praia de Melides offers a splendid wild setting that one never tires of contemplating. The sunset here is magnificent. An ideal moment for photography enthusiasts, when the last rays of the sun are reflected in the lagoon.
On the beach that stretches along the ocean, the family restaurant, Lagoa ó Mar, offers snacks and more elaborate dishes in a relaxed atmosphere, with your toes in the sand! Sun loungers and parasols are available to rent throughout the summer.
Ten minutes from the centre of Melides heading south, access by road is easy. This beach also has a large car park.
Opposite Praia de Melides, on the other side of the lagoon, is one of the last totally untouched beaches of the Alentejo: Praia da Vigia. Here you will find clear water and fine white sand as far as the eye can see. It is particularly appreciated by paragliders for its escarpment of more than five metres. An ideal place to launch into flight and admire the unusual landscapes.
On the EN261, heading south, take the road signposted for the cemetery and continue until the dunes appear in front. Cross them and enjoy your discovery.
Throughout the year “Passeios a Cavalo” in Melides offers unique horseback rides that will help you discover the wild landscapes of the Alentejo.
You can choose walks on the beach or in the hills of the Serra de Grândola which are suitable for beginners as well as experienced riders. This is an excellent way to enjoy panoramic views of the countryside and the breathtaking coastline.
Luís Lamas : +351 917 474 865 / email@example.com
Dreamsea Surf Camp is located in the pine and cork trees forest next to the beautiful Galé beach and the ocean. They offer surf programmes suitable for all levels of ability and degrees of fitness. The goal is to learn to improve your skills and, more importantly, to acquire the necessary knowledge to continue your training and progress on your own.
Dreamsea Surf Camp : +34 662580012 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Melides fair (feira)
The Melides fair takes place every year on the third weekend of November. Visitors come here in large numbers. Here you will find various handicrafts from the Alentejo and the Algarve, such as wicker baskets, wooden chairs or clay sculptures. You can also enjoy local specialities, such as dried fruits, Alentejo bread, “Alcomonias” and “Pinhão Candy” (two typical cakes), and regional wine. Performances and folk dances enliven this event throughout the weekend.
Restaurants and food experiences
Flor de Sal
Located near Melides beach, this restaurant is perfect for a sunset dinner. Here you can enjoy chef Sandra Rito’s small plates and tapas. The cuisine is contemporary Portuguese – this is the “chic” restaurant of Melides. Particular attention has been paid to the wine list.
Twopack kitchen – country picnic
The very kind Marta and Antonio will take you for a gourmet barbecue in the middle of nature. They’ll share their delicious cuisine inspired by their travels around the world. An original experience, not to be missed!
Marta: +351 915 433 788 / email@example.com
Tia Rosa grill
Tia Rosa is a duck “churrasqueira”. The atmosphere is casual, the kitchen is family-run and portions are generous. You can order a duck or half duck roasted with orange, accompanied by beer or wine. The desserts are home-made.
For those who don’t like duck, other dishes are available such as eel stew, Alentejo bread soup, fried fish or roasted cod. All these dishes are typical of the Alentejo coast.
Tia Rosa : Fontainhas do Mar Melides, Melides / +351 269 907 144
Tia Jesuína bakery
In Vale Figueira, you will find Tia Jesuína’s bakery which offers the authentic Alentejo bread. This bread is increasingly difficult to find in the area, so don’t hesitate to take the opportunity to try it.
Quinta do Lourenço
This is a restaurant which is always busy, located on the EN261. Enjoy the house speciality of meat mixed with clams and shrimp. The “migas” with meat are delicious, as are the “cataplanas” of fish and seafood. On weekends, snails are featured!
Plan your trip – tourist Information
The Melides Tourist Office is located in the old mill in the centre of the village. It helps you in your research on tourism, hotels, activities… It also offers exhibitions and sales of handicrafts.
Tourist Office: Largo 25 de Abril, Melides / +351 269 979 066 / firstname.lastname@example.org