Santiago do Cacem

Some of Europe's finest and least crowded beaches are on the rugged stretch of Portugal's west coast that extends from the southern extreme of the Alentejo at Odeceixe north to where Sines rests on the tip of the Tróia Peninsula. Some beaches—such as Praia do Carvalhal and Praia Grande at Almograve—don't have any facilities and are uncrowded even in July and August. But that's slowly changing, as hikers discover the area as part of the Rota Vicentina trail. The beaches at Vila Nova de Milfontes and at Porto Covo have restaurants and the usual beach facilities. Exercise great care when swimming: the surf is often high, and strong undertows and riptides are common.

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