Is Sao Martinho do Porto, Portugal the perfect family holiday ?
What makes Sao Martinho do Porto, Portugal perfect for families?
Sao Martinho do Porto is a small town on the Silver Coast of Portugal, in the Central Region and is reminiscent of those family holidays you had as a child before mass tourism and theme parks took over, imagine having a space where your children can play on a safe sandy beach with a calm clear ocean to paddle in, well imagine no more, this is the perfect description of Sao Martinho do Porto.
Set in a small horse shoe bay, which ensures the water is calm. The bay is connected to the Atlantic by a small passage between the hills. The bay in Sao Martinho do Porto can be divided in to 3 different parts.
The main front of Sao Martinho do Porto bay has a selection of shops, cafes and restaurants selling a great selection of food. From the ice cream parlours where you can order every type of ice cream imaginable or crepes or waffles, through to the cafes selling family friendly foods that will appeal to all ages and tastes or the delicious fresh seafood restaurants serving a gastronomical feast.
This part of the bay is where you can really enjoy those family holidays. On the beach is a fenced play area containing swings, climbing frames and slides and a golden sandy beach stretching to the clear, calm crystal water. Just picture yourself sat sunbathing or reading your magazine knowing the children are playing safely.
During the main summer season there are blue and white huts along this part of the beach which you can hire for your belongings or to take a rest in the shade, no more lugging all your beach bags around with you and the perfect spot to to enjoy that picnic lunch with the family.
Are there activities for older children and adults?
If you are looking for more activities on the water there is sailing, windsurfing and Kayaking, the safety of the bay makes these activities ideal for older children.
You can even surf and sandboard on the sand dunes.
Once you have finished on the beach you can sit with a meal or a drink and watch the sunset over the bay. Just picture yourself with that cold glass of sangria enjoying one of the most picturesque scenes imaginable.
To the north is the port where you can watch the boats load their catches or stroll to the rocky hills at the end of the bay. Here you will find a tunnel going through the rocks to the Atlantic. The view from here is magnificent, the Atlantic crashes against the rocks and if you are brave enough you can join the locals and explore these rocks to find the best spot for fishing, or like me just enjoy listening to the majestic Atlantic crashing and watching the swell of the waves. It is hard to believe you are in the same place you have just been paddling in.
Where can you eat in Sao Martinho do Porto, Portugal?
There is a great selection of seafood restaurants along the north section and some beautiful properties. There is also a green area where you can sit in the shade with a picnic and watch the world go by.
In addition to the great selection of cafes and restaurants along the main sea front be sure to walk along the roads behind as here you will find even more cafes and restaurants, the view may not be as good, but the food that is served will not disappoint.
Is there anything else in Sao Martinho do Porto, Portugal?
At the other end of the bay you will find Salir do Porto with its famous sand dune which is almost 49 metres high. You can watch (or join in) with those that surf and sandboard on this massive dune. However, the walk to this point is an experience in itself. There are boardwalks going through the sand dunes where you can see a variety of local wildlife and birds. The boardwalk crosses the river to Praia de Salir and if you want a change of scenery stroll back along the waters edge of the bay, the sea lapping at your ankles warm from the sun.
Although this is a holiday destination, it is still relatively unknown which makes it perfect for family holidays, the town is still a traditional Portuguese coastal town and as such caters to the people living there with schools, daily markets and a good selection of shops.
There is a small train station located in the centre of the town, beware when you are crossing the road as the track also crosses the road, there is a loud bell that lets you know and an automatic barrier in place. Our grandchildren loved watching the train pass by and were amazed to see it go across the road.
Sao Martinho do Porto is located less from 100 km (62 miles) from Lisbon airport, so this makes it an easy location to get to if you fly into Lisbon airport, which is an international airport with some very good deals on flights.
There is free parking along the main road by the beach in Sao Martinho do Porto, but these spaces can be taken early during the summer, you may have to drive further along to find somewhere to park your car or use the roads further back in the town, the walk is easy to make as there are footpaths along the roads.
On the 4th Sunday of each month there is an antiques fair that stretches along the sea front and other events and festivals are held regularly in Sao Martinho do Porto, there is a festival or event planned for most months.
Where should I visit close to Sao Martinho do Porto, Portugal
If you like to explore during your holiday, Sao Martinho do Porto makes the perfect holiday base as you are locally situated to visit some of the local attractions such as:
Nazaré - approx. 13 kilometres - a larger coastal resort that is home to some of the best surfing in the world, the largest wave ever surfed was in Nazaré. Click here if you would like to read more about Nazaré
Alcobaça – approx. 24 kilometres away – A beautiful city with one of the most amazing Monasteries in Portugal, add to this some fantastic architecture and a variety of cafes, shops and restaurants. It is perfect for an afternoon. Click here if you would like to read more about Alcobaca
Fátima – approx. 75 kilometres away - Fátima is a town in central Portugal that is a famous catholic pilgrimage site, and home to the Sanctuary of Fatima. However, you do not need to be religious to enjoy the town. The architecture and the town itself are amazing. Click here if you would like to read more about Fatima
Tomar - approx. 90 kilometres away – If you travel to Fatima a little further in the same direction is Tomar. Famous as for the Order of the Knights Templar. The Convent of Christ is a must see or take a tuc tuc to marvel at the aqueduct, or just enjoy the river or town square. Click here if you would like to read more about Tomar
Peniche and Baleal – approx. 50 kilometres away – Is a fantastic coastal resort where you can surf or just spend time on the beach, there are boat trips available from here. Click here if you would like to read more about Peniche and Baleal
Óbidos – approx. 20 kilometres away – Óbidos is a must visit for anybody in the area. The mediaeval walled cityis well preserved and in our opinion easily one of the prettiest walled cities in Portugal, and if that is not enough to tempt you, they even have a chocolate festival there! Click here if you would like to read more about Obidos
Places to stay near Sao Martinho do Porto, Portugal
If you feel tempted to visit Sao Martinho do Porto, we would happily recommend the following properties that are close by:
CORTÉM WINERY GUEST HOUSE - Just east of Caldas das Rainha, this villa offers self catering family accommodation with 2 bedrooms, swimming pool and is located on its own vineyard, so wine tasting is a must! (approx 23 kms away)
TIPPING POINT NORTH BEACH NAZARÉ - Situated in Nazaré, this family friendly B&B offers great accommodation and breakfast walking distance to north beach (approx 14 kms away)
CASA BRISA DA LAGOA. FOZ DO ARELHO - Located in the next bay along the coast, this villa offers self catering family accommodation with 3 bedrooms and walking distance to a beach and amenities (approx 13 kms away)