Alcobaça, magnificently placed between the Candeeiros Mountains and the coastline, has nine awarded safe beaches - Água de Madeiros, Pedro do Ouro, Polvoeira, Paredes da Vitória, Vale Furado, Légua, Falca, Gralha and São Martinho do Porto - that strike their visitors with eye-catching natural beauty.
"There are some places where we never come back from, where we only can remain". These were the heart-felt words of Portuguese King D. Carlos on the dazzling beauty of São Martinho do Porto beach. According to King D. Carlos - the last King of Portugal, who ruled from 1863 to 1908 - this beach stood out as one of the most stunning places in the whole world.São Martinho do Porto was one of the sea ports of Alcobaça, donated by Portugal's 1st King D. Afonso Henriques to the Cistercian Order in 1153. Fishing, ship building and repair were at the core of the identity of this charming town that grew in turn of its inspiring bay.
However, it was not until the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century that São Martinho do Porto became the glamorous resort of Portuguese aristocrats. In fact, the manor houses of the noblemen were strategically placed in the main avenue of São Martinho do Porto, the seashell-shaped bay. This beach was funny described as "the bidet of the marquises". There are some appealing 19th and 20th century art nouveau buildings that stand out as the cosmopolitan flair, typical of a belle-époque beach resort.
From a distinguishing Summer resort São Martinho do Porto turned into one of the most welcoming beaches of Portugal. Its geographical configuration makes it absolutely perfect for families. The beach is actually a bay with peaceful not chilly waters, ideal for children to swim in safety. In fact, the bay defines the identity and the spirit of the place.
Nowadays, the beach of São Martinho do Porto is connected through wooden walkways to the beach of Salir do Porto, in the council of Caldas da Rainha.
Photo credits: Pedro Soares Mello