From Porto to Lisbon, the Portuguese coastline is dotted with oceanside resorts and Sao Martinho do Porto is amongst my favourites
When I saw Sao Martinho do Porto for the first time two years ago it did not impress me much. Well, I spent there less than an hour when coming from Porto on my way to Algarve. Definitely didn`t have enough time to even realize where I was. Now, after crossing Portugal I arrived at Sao Martinho exactly when the sun breaks through the clouds seconds before disappearing into Atlantic Ocean waters. That sunset was amazing. My entire stay there was marked by beautiful sunsets and I have seen the Portugues coastline the way I haven’t seen before.
What is Sao Martinho do Porto? On the Atlantic coast at 15 km south from Nazare and 100 km north of Lisbon can be found a former fisherman village placed on top of the cliffs. It is close to a bay with sandy beach formed by the sediments brought by the rivers flowing into the ocean. Actually, 500 years ago the cliffs of Sao Martinho do Porto and the entire coast till Nazare was an island. Nature was patient and little by little, reclaimed the land from the ocean and the island become part of the mainland.
The village developed from a quaint fisherman village in a seaside resort and already at the end of 19th century was known for being frequented by nobility and bourgeoise. The upper part is where the old village was formed and still keeps its lovely charm, the lower part, on the other hand, is much modern. The beach is sandy and it has the form a shell. It is connected to the ocean through an opening in the cliff’s wall of few meters and this keeps away the angry waves of the Atlantic Ocean. The beach is perfect for those who do not want to face the strong waves of the ocean.
Personally, I would say that the beauty of Sao Martinho do Porto can be seen by walking on the cliffs. Be careful though, do not get to close to the rim the soil is very unstable and prone to landslides. The cliffs are made of sandstone and it is amazing to think that these cliffs were once the bottom of the ocean and that the tectonics of the plates made them surface and rise from the ocean.
Walking along the cliffs it is impossible not to notice the dynamics. How the wind and the rain are softening the sandstone and how the waves of the ocean are bitting from the cliffs. The best place to wait for the sunset is on San Antonio Hill where to the lighthouse is. But I caught a beautiful sunset from La Gralcha beach also.
Laa Gralha beach is north of Sao Martinho do Porto and is well known mostly in paragliding community. If you are a fan, this place is absolutely amazing. The beach is sandy and quite wide and here you have to face the ocean`s feistiness. Definitely, you have to be a good swimmer or a passionate waves spotter. I know I am.
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Away from the vibrant Nazare, Sao Martinho do Porto is a refuge where you can find a place to be with yourself and admire the nature, in this case, the ocean. It is like a fortress sieged by the ocean and it is fascinating to see permanently the waves battering the coast. The scenic beauty of the coast gives more charm to Sao Martinho and this made me want to return. A sunset, a sunset! My kingdom for another sunset!
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