Vila Nova de Milfontes

This small resort town is at the broad mouth of the Rio Mira, which is lined on both sides by sandy beaches. Overlooking the sea is an ivy-covered, late-16th-century fortress that protected Milfontes from the Algerian pirates who regularly terrorized the Portuguese coast. It was built on ancient Moorish foundations, because it was believed that the spirits there would ward off the pirates. Now the fortress is up for sale, as a result of Portugal's economic crisis. But Vila Nova de Milfontes is surviving in part with help from a new tourist draw, the Rota Vicentina hiking coast trail, which passes through here.

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