PRAIA DA CARRACA – ALENTEJO, PORTUGAL
BEST FOR… Coast hiking, seafood, waves WHY GO? Leave the Algarve to the mob – head west instead, where the Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina Nature Reserve shields a shore rich in wildflowers, birdlife (including leggy cliff-nesting storks) and hidden coves. Accessed by creaky wooden steps, Praia da Carraga is one such golden haven, but there are plenty more.
WHAT TO DO: The Rota Vicentina long-distance trail, opened in 2012, follows the Alentejo coast, giving access to countless secret beaches.
WHILE YOU’RE THERE: Eat fresh fish at nearby Entrada da Barca. Surfers will find many good spots.
GET THERE: The Costa Vicentina is between Lisbon and Faro; trains run from both to Funcheira (inland). Buses reach coastal villages such as Porto Covo and Odeceixe.