I just spend the past two days walking 55 kilometers in Portugal’s Alentejo region, which is a very underrated part of Portugal, but one of the nicest regions of the country.
“You can’t walk all the way to Grandola”, says the guy who sells me the ferry ticket in Setubal. I’m very used to this reaction, whenever I tell someone that I am talking a walk that is longer than a couple of kilometers. I have decided to walk from the portuguese town Setubal to Grandola, which is a 55 kilometer walk away. I’m taking two days for the walk, so it’s not really that hard, but for people who live their life inside a house and inside a car, this is a crazy thing to do.
Walking down the Troia Peninsula.
I take the ferry from Setubal, to the peninsula called Troia, which is really just a long sand bar that separates the Atlantic ocean, from a big fresh water lagoon, created by the river that has it’s mouth by the big industrial town Setubal. It’s really a pretty area though and part of it is a protected nature reserve, where you have some very rare river dolphins.
There is very little traffic on the road, as I am walking there during mid week. At weekends it’s a different story as many of the inhabitants from Lisbon and Setubal drive down the coast to stay at one of the many beaches you have along the Atlantic ocean. But it’s tuesday and I mostly have the road to myself and I love walking down an empty highway.
Storks and wine in Comporta.
As I get down to the south of the Troia peninsula, I start seeing rice fields along the road. Many people are not aware that Portugal has quite a large production of rice. It’s not only in Asia that rice grows these days. There is also a rice museum in Comporta, but it is closed as I get there, so instead I head over to the neighbor, which is a winery and I end up buying one of their bottles, after having a look around their estate. Alentejo wine is really good, but often thought to be bad, as the region had some chaos after the carnation revolution in 1974, resulting in a very uneven wine production, but these days Alentejo is producing some of the best wine in the world. Comporta is really a pretty little town, with stork nests on many of the house roofs. I stay overnight a few kilometers south of Comporta in a lovely little guest house run by a cheerful old lady, where I pay 20€ for a basic, but nice room.