From scenic beaches to stunning architecture, discover why this coastal town in Portugal is the perfect destination for a relaxing getaway.
Nestled just an hour away from the bustling city of Lisbon lies a hidden gem, a picturesque coastal town like no other—Azenhas do Mar.
With only 800 residents, this charming town is perched atop a cliff overlooking the shimmering sea. The white houses, with their Greek-inspired architecture and breathtaking views, make this place a must-visit for all those seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
On a warm day with calm seas, the temptation to dip in the natural pool carved into the rock at the base of the cliff might be too hard to resist.
It’s a sight that will leave you in awe.
The history of Azenhas do Mar is somewhat shrouded in mystery, but it is believed to be linked to the water mills called “azenhas” that once stood here and gave the town its name. It’s speculated that these water mills date back to the Arab occupation period.
Agriculture, milling, fishing, and shellfish gathering were the main sources of livelihood for the residents, but the town only became a seaside resort in the 1930s with the inauguration of the Sintra tramway.
A Heads Up for Foodies: Besides admiring the scenery and history of this paradise, visitors can also savor the regional delicacies at the famous restaurant, Nortada, next to the ocean pool. This restaurant is a foodie’s delight with several seating options, including an open-air one with a view of the sea.
As you explore the village, you’ll be amazed by the local architectural style known as “soft Portuguese,” which is evident in the buildings that line the streets.
If you’re looking for a place to unwind and recharge your batteries, Azenhas do Mar is the perfect spot. From relaxing on the beach to taking in the silence, the town has a calming energy that will leave you feeling refreshed.
For those who want to experience the place to the fullest, several houses in the village are also available for seasonal rentals. We highly recommend the Azenhas do Mar Valley House which features cozy rooms, free breakfast and views of the sunset over the ocean!
Even though it’s a hidden gem in Portugal, the beauty of Azenhas do Mar has not gone unnoticed. The town has inspired many, including Nobel Prize-winning writer José Saramago. Despite being a popular destination for the Portuguese, Azenhas do Mar remains relatively unknown to foreigners, making it the perfect getaway for those seeking to escape the crowds.
Added Bonus: A visit to Azenhas do Mar can easily be combined with a trip to the nearby historic center of Sintra, which is just a 15-20 minute bus ride away (while there, don’t miss out on visiting Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point in continental Europe).
So, whether you’re a traveler, an aspiring writer, or just need a break, Azenhas do Mar is a place that captivates and inspires you with its natural beauty, rich history, and serene atmosphere.
So pack your bags and get ready for an adventure like no other!
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