This Portuguese Hidden Gem Is A Perfect Destination For Beach Lovers

Portugal has its fair share of fame and notoriety thanks to its centuries-long legacy of exploration that includes Ferdinand Magellan and Vasco de Gama. Today, Portugal is popular for its domestic offerings like wine, historic cities, the capital's iconic yellow trams and funiculars, miles of coastline, and its digital nomad visa program. However you decide to visit Portugal, be sure not to stick to just Lisbon or Porto and instead, add some hidden gems to your itinerary.

A simple day trip from Lisbon is the Tróia Peninsula, also known as the Peninsula de Tróia. For less than $10, public buses run from the Estação Oriente bus stop in Lisbon to the coastal city of Setúbal. From this city's marina, ferries go between Setúbal and Peninsula de Tróia multiple times per day. The peninsula has a golf course, hiking trails, windsurfing, and the unique combination of white sand beaches and pine tree forests. Should you choose to stay for longer than just one day, Tróia has luxurious lodging options as well.

Peninsula de Tróia has long beaches perfect for water activities

Upon arriving at the Peninsula de Tróia via ferry, you will quickly see the picturesque beaches on both sides of the marina. On the west side is Praia Tróia Mar, which goes on for miles with calm waters perfect for swimming. These calm waters make Peninsula de Tróia popular among windsurfers, regardless of expertise. While on the sandy shores or in the water, try to spot dolphins in the distance.

Further south on the peninsula's west side is a less-crowded section of Praia Tróia Mar called Praia da Costa da Galé, but another significant draw for this area of the peninsula is Tróia Golf. While offering a full 18-hole game, Tróia Golf also has a restaurant and bar, a panoramic balcony, a driving range, and putting greens. The facility is considered among the best in Europe, frequently appearing on lists such as Golf World's Top 100 Golf Courses in Continental Europe (it ranked #8 in 2019).

See Roman ruins just minutes from the beach

While the beaches on Peninsula de Tróia's east side are not so great for swimming, given that it is close to the Sado Estuary, the Caldeira de Tróia inlet on the east side is a haven for birds like flamingos, spoonbills, and gulls with pine trees near the water. Find your way to the inlet with the Caldera Lagoon and Pinewood Trail, which follows the Tróia-Comporta municipal road and bicycle path.  On the other side of the estuary are the Ruínas Romanas de Troia, also called the Cetobriga Roman Ruins. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was once the biggest fish salting center in the Roman Empire. The site is open for visitors from April through September.

Among the many places to stay on the peninsula is the Editory By The Sea. This hotel's multiple room options include sea views and kitchenettes. Further southeast on the peninsula is the Pestana Tróia Eco-Resort. Aside from its indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, and saunas, this resort aims to incorporate the surrounding nature into guests' experiences with wooden walkways and native plants in its gardens.