One of the pleasures of slow travel is stumbling upon small gems – unique, local enclaves like Vila Nova de Misfontes, located on the coast of Portugal, midway between Lisboa and the Algarves. The town caters to Portuguese and European tourists in the summer and transforms to a relaxed, sleepy pace from October to May, which suits me perfectly.
A small mercado with stalls of fresh seafood and local produce, along with a super market, several pasterlias, and coffee houses supply all my needs, including the light, low alcohol content, and inexpensive vino verde, which I have developed a fondness for. Vino verde is specialty of Portugal, best served chilled, like Prosecco, and a nice bottle is purchased for a mere 3.25E.
A lending library is set up in the decommissioned telephone booth. Leave a book-take a book.
A natural inlet from the Atlantic Ocean, provides safe harbor for small boats in the rio Mira. Sandy beaches expand at low tide, lining each side of the rio and coastline with swim areas, tide pools, surf, caves, rock, sand, and beach art, surrounded by rugged, monolithic cliffs.
A small ferry, captained by Maria and her dog, shuttle lazy beach combers and trekkers hiking the Rota Vicentina, across the rio.
The Rota Vincentina, a 120k coastal trail, provides exquisite hiking both north and south of town. Stunning vistas, unique coastal vegetation, hidden coves, local fishing ports, rugged cliffs, pounding surf, and desolate stretches of soft, fine sand beaches bombard the senses and offer space for invigorating hiking, naked frolicking, sun bathing, time for solitude and reflection, and leaving footprints in virgin sand.
Upon renting a comfortable patio apartment for a week I searched about and found a cozy attic apartment in a family villa in the old town with a captivating view of the bay and ocean for a second week.
Ahhhhh….the life of slow, unplanned travel.