Vila Nova De Milfontes is a charming Portuguese town located in the heart of the Alentejo region coastline. Situated in the municipality of Odemira (Alentejo), at the mouth of the river Mira, in the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park. Vila Nova de Milfontes is a fishing village with a strong connection to the sea which gives it an unparalleled natural beauty.
Located 2h25min from Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, and only 1h22min from Comporta.
Its vast and beautiful deserted beaches, crystal clear waters and golden dunes are the highlight of the region. In contrast to the beautiful coastal panorama, the interior landscape is markedly recognized by the typical Alentejo plains of cork oaks, among other species commonly observed in this region of the country.
The town of Vila Nova de Milfontes is delightfully Portuguese, filled with cobbled streets, whitewashed houses and scenic views across the Mira River.
Vila Nova De Milfontes is a bustling summer town, and despite its remote location, it has an extensive selection of restaurants, a buzzing nightlife and wide array of hotels. The summertime atmosphere has a distinctly Portuguese vibe, which means it is social and welcoming, suitable for all ages, couples and including families.
The weather in Vila Nova De Milfontes
The Alentejo coastline has hot summers and winters are mild with little precipitation but can also be unpredictable. The vicinity of the ocean and sea breezes moderates the summertime temperature, but the intense sun will make it feel incredibly hot. During the mid season, don’t forget to always pack a jacket, as it cools down at night. The best period seems to be the spring or Indian summer to come to Vila Nova De Milfontes.
Little bit of history
Despite being just a fishing town, Vila Nova de Milfontes its a town full of history increasingly visited by tourists.
The construction of São Clemente Fort, also known as Milfontes Castle, was built with the intention of protecting the small fishing village. Because of its proximity to the coast and the ocean it suffered from many pirate attacks during the 16th and 18th centuries.
This town is linked to the great feat of Portuguese aviation. Because it was from this place that the first air crossing between Portugal and Macao took place, made by Brito Paes and Sarmento Beires. It was on April 7, 1924 that the pilots left Campo dos Coitos, near Milfontes, heading east. In honor of the airmen and their historical achievement, it was erected in Barbaca Square, next to the fort, a monument that recalls the heroic journey.
Forte de São Clemente (Castelo de Vila Nova De Milfontes)
It was built in the late 16th century and from its rocky pedestal you can see almost everything in the city. It served as a defense structure for Vila Nova de Milfontes, especially for maritime commerce, and as a lookout point for the entire bar. In 1939 the fort was restructured and its original layout was altered. S. Clemente Fort belongs to private individuals today.
Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Graça
Dating from the early 20th century. XVI, belonged to the Order of Santiago da Espada whose cross is engraved on the main door.
The early church could possibly date from the late 19th century. XV, the time that goes back to the holy water sink that still remains inside. The object of much destruction and reconstruction over time, both because it was shaken by the earthquakes that occurred in the country in 1531, and later because it was destroyed by Moorish pirates, has been altered over the centuries. The bell tower dates from the end of the century XIX. At the moment the church retains little of its initial design being to emphasize the facade and the arch of the High Altar little hit by the modernization of the last intervention that suffered in 1959.
Ermida de São Bartolomeu
Old hermitage of popular mannerist construction that is currently integrated in the perimeter of the village, dates back to the mid-century. XVI. It is built on an old military building.
Vila Nova de Milfontes has had a New Church since August 26, 2000. Inaugurated in the Jubilee Year of Christ’s birth. The inner stained glass represents precisely the birth of Jesus Christ. On the front page stands out the Jubilee Year logo with the Latin inscription “Jubilaeum A.D. 2000”.
The Church was dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima because in the Diocese of Beja, where you are located. of Milfontes, there was no Parish Church dedicated to it.
What to visit in Vila Nova De Milfontes?
Porto de Pesca do Portinho do Canal
Apart from the old fort, built in 1602, one of the highlights of Vila Nova De Milfontes is undoubtedly its fishing harbor, “The Little Port of the Canal”. On arrival, before heading down to the harbor, you can enjoy the viewpoint by the parking lot and enjoy a wide view of the sea, an opportunity full of color and light. You can also opt for the indescribable sunset hours.
Despite its peculiar aspect, Porto das Barcas is still the largest fishing port in the municipality of Odemira and plays an important role in boosting the local economy.
Cais de Vila Nova De Milfontes
The strong point of the new Vila Nova De Milfontes pier is its location. Looking to the left, our eyes catch a glimpse of the blue River Mira, with the Bridge highlighted on the horizon. To the right, our gaze can follow the course of the Mira and enter the sea.
Farol de Vila Nova de Milfontes
This is one of the most emblematic places of Vila Nova de Milfontes. At the end of Avenida Marginal is the lighthouse (actually a lighthouse) of Milfontes. From this place you can enjoy a panoramic view, which covers Foz do Mira, Furnas beach, the imposing Atlantic and of course, Vila Nova de Milfontes. Walking from the village to the lighthouse of Vila Nova de Milfontes is a tradition that has long been rooted among the local population and is certainly a small walk worth taking. Starting the tour in the historical center of the town you can know much of its historical and landscape heritage: the Church of Nossa Senhora da Graça, the Barbacã and Fort of St. Clement and finally Avenida Marginal, which offers fantastic glimpses of Foz do Mira .
The fairs and markets of Vila Nova De Milfontes
Vila Nova De Milfontes, full of history and simplicity, has some fairs and markets available throughout the year. If you have this small fishing village for your holiday itinerary, then you can count on an annual fair on August 8th at the Brunheiras Market Hall. You can also visit the small markets that are part of the history and culture of this space:
– Market – 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month, Brunheiras Market Enclosure;
– Garden Fair – Every Sunday in the morning at Benfica Square;
– Antiques & Crafts Fair – Every Saturday Morning, Square adjacent to Vila Nova de Milfontes Market.
The beaches of Vila Nova De Milfontes
The beaches of Vila Nova De Milfontes with the characteristics of the beaches of Costa Vicentina, with fine white sand, some more rocky and with a sea in front of you that will delight you. These beaches, which attract more and more tourists to the area, have a lot to offer you, from bathing to more private areas as well as a good surfing environment. Vila Nova De Milfontes is also a good vacation destination for surf lovers. Having some characteristics identical to the beaches of Sines, allows lovers of this sport to enjoy some good waves.
Praia dos Aivados
It is in Ribeira da Azenha and is not one of the most visited beaches, but in August there is a higher demand. But the fact that it has no arrow indicating the way makes it not as affluent as neighboring Malhão, to the south, and Grande de Porto Covo, to the north. This is a very popular beach for surfers due to its maritime characteristics.
Praia do Malhão
This beach had a very restricted access in 2015 due to the works but the following year (2016) was already fully operational with a new car park. These works brought a new parking lot as well as different strategic points with the functionality of viewpoints under the beach. It is a beach with a wide sandy beach, allowing you to have a pleasant space for yourself and your family and make the most of it.
Praias Vizinhas das Furnas
Do you like secret beaches? So venture out and discover the secret beaches you find in this area. Holiday makers in Vila Nova de Milfontes are accustomed to seeing a set of wild and empty beaches that appear next to Furnas Beach, on the other side of the river. What many do not know is that there is a path for racers – or rather for those who have a car that is not in danger of getting stuck. You will find a host of several wild beaches, with a giant sandy beach at low tide, perfect for a great stroll.
HOW TO GET THERE: It’s not easy. After passing the bridge over the Mira River, turn left when you come to a sign indicating a ban on dune traffic. When you come to a fork, go left. Carry on to the new fork and choose the right path. Walk until the road turns into a dune. Go towards the sea and face a beautiful beach, another to the south, yet another to the south and one more. Carefully go down the second, which has connection to the rest. The good news is over: at low tide there is access to Furnas Beach.
Praia da Franquia
The Praia da Franquia is the primary beach of Vila Nova de Milfontes and extends along the Mira River estuary, from the lifeboat station to the lighthouse headland. Franquia is sheltered from the powerful Atlantic waves and the strong coastal winds, and is ideal for spending a relaxing day on the beach, and also for families with small children.
Praia do Farol
Praia do Farol extends around the lighthouse headland and is locacted at the mouth of the Mira River Estuary. This beach is very similar to the Praia da Franquia, being calm and sheltered from the strong winds and waves. At low tide, a rock outcrop is exposed and is teeming with small tidal sea life.
As the beach is close to the estuary mouth, there are strong tidal currents, but it is family friendly beach, which is supervised during the summer.
Praia de Almograve (8km from Vila Nova De Milfontes)
The Praia de Almograve is considered as one of the finest beaches of Portugal. The golden sands of the beach are dissected by rifts of black basalt rocks, onto which massive Atlantic waves surge. Almograve represents natures raw beauty at its greatest, and if you are able to, you must visit.
Almograve beach is only 8km from Vila Nova De Milfontes but the indirect roads extends the journey to 15km. Being less accessible from Vila Nova De Milfontes means that the vast Praia de Almograve will be significantly quieter than all of the previous beaches and is a good destination to escape the summertime crowds.
There is a very scenic cliff walk from Praia de Almograve to the little fishing harbour of Porto das Lapas das Pombas, where the boats are launched between the jagged cliffs.
What to do in Vila Nova De Milfontes: sports activities…
The region is filled with quiet roads and decent gravel paths, which are great for cycling. Three suggested routes are:
– Vila Nova De Milfontes to Malhao beach – Short route of around 16km (round trip) along gravel trails to the north of Vila Nova De Milfontes and is suitable for all abilities. The cycle ends at the beautiful Malhao beach, so bring your towel.
– Vila Nova De Milfontes to Almograve beach – A medium route of 26km (round trip), which heads south following the main road of Vila Nova De Milfontes (which is still quiet). Almograve is regarded as the finest beach of the region, and the cycle can be extended by following the cliff path to the pretty fishing port of Porto das Lapas das Pombas further down the coastline.
– Vila Nova De Milfontes to Porto Covo – A Longer route of around 40km (round trip), heading north and following the main road. Porto Covo is a scenic village with many cafes and restaurants and a glorious coastline. To extend this cycle include the beaches of Praia dos Aivados or Praia da Ilha do Pessegueiro beaches, which are passed on the way.
Trails Of Rota Vicentina
The Rota Vicentina is an on-going initiative to boost walking tourism within the western Alentejo, by created excellent hiking trails that cross the beautiful scenery of the region. Vila Nova de Milfontes is connected to the Fisherman’s Trail, and this means that there are two well designed and clearly signed routes north and south from the town.
A really enjoyable hike follows the Rota Vicentina Fisherman’s Trail north to Malhao beach (14km round trip) and passes Vila Nova De Milfontes fishing harbour. An alternative suggestion is to catch bus or taxi to Porto Covo and hike back to Vila Nova De Milfontes (about a 20km hike). Spring and autumn are the best season for hiking and there will be many other walkers along the routes.
Portugal has more famous locations for surfing, but the waves, beaches and facilities of Vila Nova De Milfontes are as equally good as any of these established surfing towns. The Praia das Furnas and Praia de Malhao are decent surfing beaches close to Vila Nova de Milfontes, but for a truly special surfing location head to the remote and isolated Praia dos Aivados, 8km north of the Vila Nova De Milfontes. The currents and tides of the Alentejo coastline can be unpredictable and very strong, always follow local advice and be wary of hidden rocks.
Here you will also find some surf schools where you can take surf lessons as well as rent material for the activity.
Kayak or Stand up paddle
The waters of the Mira river are widely touted as some of the cleanest in Europe, and the calm waters are ideal for Kayaking or Stand Up Paddleboard along. These can be hired independently or the river can be explored as part of an organised tours. Be warned the river waters are calm but there is a very strong tidal flow and you don’t want to be sucked out to the sea!
SUP boards can be hired for half day (€30) or for lessons please see SUPAlentejo. Half day SUP tours, which cover around 15km and cost around €50, can be booked from SW SUP.
They depart at Cais da Fateixa and take the crew to Odemira, where they stay three and a half hours before their return. Join them two hours on the way out and two on the way back and have a good day. For the days and times of the tours, see the website of Odemira City Council (www.cm-odemira.pt).
Vila Nova De Milfontes Festivities
During the summer season Vila Nova De Milfontes comes alive at night, and parties through till the early hours. There is a real buzz about the town with different ages and nationalities socialising in the late opening cafes and bars. As these bars close for the evening there is a choice of four nightclubs, each with their own different style and vibe. In the summer Vila Nova De Milfontes is lively and knows how to party!
Where to eat?
This small village has to offer you a wide range of Alentejo meals and snacks that will delight you. Here are some ideas you can visit:
– Tasca do Celso;
– Páteo Alentejano;
– o Amândio;
– Porto das Barcas;
How to get to Vila Nova De Milfontes?
You can choose to go to this small village by bus from Lisbon. But the best option is to rent a car, it will make it easier for you to get around if you want to know the surroundings of Vila Nova De Milfontes, like Porto Covo, Zambujeira do Mar and Sines.
Where to stay?
Alma da Comporta
Thanks to the proximity of Vila Nova De Milfontes with Comporta, you can spend one day in this charming city by staying in a beautiful bohemian style house with Alma da Comporta.