A wallflower is someone with an introverted personality type, who will attend parties and social gatherings, but will usually distance themselves from the crowd and actively avoid being in the limelight.
If I could call a place after a personality, a Wallflower would be this place I´m about to tell you about. Portugals south-western coastline is full of stories, sacred and well kept. They know what they store, but don`t show off about it. Keeping it real. Honest, beautiful and bold. This is where you will meet with the wild.
Fly to Lisbon or Faro, and drive either south or north from there. You will need a car. The winding roads will take you through beautiful nature, fantastic house-design, bold beaches (oh so bold!) and instantly draw you into the feel of a pure lifestyle.
It`s pure in means of what you both see and taste. Fish, rise, vegetables and fish. Did I mention fish? Always fresh, and made simple but so tasty. Carvalhal (the area) is for the ones seeking the real deal, call it solemnity and the place for retreat and silence, but it also includes and invites you to new friendships and fun. There are surfers and style hand-in-hand.
The small centrum of Comporta has a super selection of boutiques and restaurants, you cannot miss this place, it`s got such beautiful sceneries. You`ll find art-galleries and homemade goods, as well as fashion. I recommend going here before sunset, why? mosquitoes.
Simplicity with an eclectic touch. Design meets nature. You`ll find many 50´s minimalism and functionality-style houses here. The clean cuts meets the warmth of the antique furniture. A cool mix, eclectic but balanced out with simplicity and raw surfaces. Letting elements shine. There is a strong presence of honor and preservation. There is an honor to the past, it`s origin and style. Preserving as it was, through new materials or simply old objects. For lovers of antiques, the areas will not be a disappointment. Second hand street markets are everywhere, and often just off the roads. Get off the lazy line that takes you faster to your points, do the small windy roads, they got so much to tell.
Hit the beaches as often as you can, the beach-bars serve you everything from simple to cuisine. The water is colder due to it`s atlantic origin, but hey, a cooling dive is just refreshing, right? Be aware though, the waves might be rough to handle, but there are beaches more suitable for small children.
Did I mention that you`ll find one of the 8 best beach restaurants in the world here? Look for SAL on Pego Beach, so laid back and cool. You wanna experience Ilha do Arroz on Comporta Beach, here you`ll find fashion and style notched up a bit, but it`s beautiful. Be aware of traffic around this area, it`s much popular and lot`s of visitors to the beach in the weekends. If you`re spending the evening in Comporta, book a table in advance at the Restaurante Museu Do Arroz. It`s very nice, a bit more pricy, but it`s got both such a cool vibe and amazing food. Taste the white wine Sangria, so delicious. Right outside the entrance you will hit one of the Carvalhal most pictorial sceneries of the small wooden huts and old piers. When sunset hit`s, it is breathtaking!
I fell in love with the beaches in Sismarias, and especially Melides beach. Melides was my base. The beach has several restaurants to choose from, and a super-nice beach bar with simple servings, but good. If you`re up for a cheap and tasteful dinner, just a 3 minute drive from Melides beach, you will pass a quiet restaurant on your left called Restaurante O Artesão. It´s very simple, but the food is not. This restaurant might have served me one of the greatest fish meals I´ve ever tasted.
Ready for an architectural highlight? Go to the city of Grândola and search for Aires Mateus` work, the monolithic meeting center in Grândola. It`s a beauty worth the visit in the heat. Angular and cubic, form meets function, and the details are magnificent It speaks for itself.
Carvalhal stores many unique and vibrant hotels, amongst them is Uva do Monte - Blueberry Farm, a hidden rustic beauty. The perfect get away hotel for you searching beach and sun, nestled in the most peaceful country-side surroundings. This one is more private and very slow living.
Fun fact: If you don`t already know this, camping in the free is prohibited in Carvalhal, go for the camp-grounds.
Ecological living is a part of the style here, you`ll find several amazing houses and hotels approaching this lifestyle. I visit and leave Carvalhal with great respect. There is a very present feel for nature and design, humble, genuine and thorough.