With a shell shaped bay, São Martinho do Porto is the most known beach of Alcobaça.
It is absolutely safe, what makes it a children's paradise. Opposite to it's neighbor and "rival" Nazaré, which in summer is invaded by thousands of popular people, São Martinho do Porto attracts some rather aristocratic dwellers, but in summer, like most of the other beaches around, it's always time of crowds and animation.
In the beginning of last century, this beach was an exclusive destination for the rich families in the centre of Portugal.
Several mansions were built by the sea, but the mass tourism started to replace them by bigger block to popular purses.
Not much remains from those old days, but the few images still add some beauty to the beach front line.
Common but special
The wild side
Facho, a mountain by the mouth of the bay, provides spectacular views over the whole site.
One thing makes us sorry:
Houses climbing the hill, and spreading wherever it becomes possible.
Landscape deserves a better protection, and, I remember, about 60 years ago a big part of the mount collapsed in the sea.
We use to say that our west coast "is the place where the winter comes to pass the summer".
It's unfair, but the weather has its tricks and the water is generally cold.
That's why I strongly appreciate our west beaches in winter - wide areas of free sand, lots of sunny days, and the water... still cold, of course, but who cares?
Salir do Porto
Salir do Porto is a small village in the southern tip of S. Martinho do Porto's bay.
The bay is a contiguous beach with population at each end and a wild area between them.
That's what allow Salir to have a different ambiance, with the dunes working as an extra attraction to the kids. But commerce and nightlife are at the other side of the bay.
Some problems with pollution in the local river seem to have already been solved.
River and Dunes
Though S Martinho is a very calm beach, ideal for kids, Salir is even quieter, with the river ending in the bay with a wider and shallow mouth.
The river is treated, and pollution, an old risk, is gone.
At its side, the dunes, when the sun gets weaker, become a Luna park.
Last week I heard some people saying that the sea took too much sand away this winter. I need to go there and verify.
As a beach, Salir shares with S. Martinho the calm and shallow waters of the common bay.
If S. Martinho has the advantage of a better habitacional support and commerce, Salir has the extra attraction of the high dunes, where, no matter at what time of the day, there will always be several children rolling and laughing.
Unless... My pictures evidence the advantage of "out of season" visits.