BAY BLOG index...
"São Martinho do Porto was the most sought after region for holiday homes in May and June", 2022
Verbatim from the Alcobaça Camara website
According to a study by the real estate company Imovirtual published today, São Martinho do Porto was the region with the most exponential growth (+183%) in demand for holiday homes in May and June of this year, compared to the same period in 2021.
Silver Coast Tours (Happy customer)
Delighted with this! Thank you Pam and John...
"My wife and I plan to move to Portugal; thus we have done our fair share of research and arranged a scouting trip to explore the various parts of the country. A hugely significant start on our journey was to find a warm friendly online community of expats willing and able to answer any and all inquiries. Furthermore, to top it all off, the host of this community gladly agreed to meet up with us to give us a personalized guided tour of his home town and other villages nearby!
Folks, I present to you Carl Munson, maitre d’ of the Expats Portugal website and host of the Good Morning Portugal daily YouTube live show. Carl and his family are delightfully proud of their adopted home town of Sao Martinho do Porto (SMDP) which is just one small part of a lovely region known as Portugal’s Silver Coast.
We met up with Carl at the Cafe Palmeira right on the beach in SMDP and after we all had coffee; off we went on what proved to be a memorable day. We began with a thorough exploration of Sao Martinho by taking several winding narrow side streets only a local would know to see hang gliding cliffs, residential areas, stunning vistas, and to visit Kate, a neighbor lady with a lovely garden and a sick dog.
We next took a brief look at Salir do Porto, a small residential community just on the other side of the perfectly scalloped bay. Next on our “Tour de Carl” was the nearby larger town of Caldas de Rainha, beautiful gardens, shopping centres, country villas were abundant. We also visited Foz do Arelho and Nadadouro on a wonderful large inlet and gorgeous beaches that stretched off for what seemed like miles.
Last on our travels was a visit to the superbly historic town of Obidos with its medieval castle and cobblestone streets and shops within the castle walls. My love for history was thrilled with the knowledge of walking around a place that can claim a pedigree that starts with Celtic settlements, Phoenician trade centres, Roman civitas, subsequent Visigoth settlements, then the Moorish period, and finally leading to the Kings of Portugal.
Wow! Thank you Carl so much for a truly memorable couple of days and the warm friendship you showed to me and Pam. I will forever remember capping off our time together with Meia de Leite and meat pies for lunch and later a delicious dinner with your lovely family.
Fellow travelers; if you too are considering Portugal as your new home, I strongly recommend that you link up with the Expats Portugal YouTube community and get in touch with Carl to make personal connections and take advantage of the very many resources available."
Pam and John Heimbach on tour in Portugal, June 2022
Let me entertain YOU! (Live from SMdP Market)
Unexpected performer in the beach area (-:
Thanks to Bill E for spotting this in town today.
"Apparently she is a famous 'comedy accordionist' and they are expecting a big crowd," says Bill.
"Rosa was born in 1971 in Montijo, Portugal and grew up in the parish of Santo Isidro de Pegões. Her family moved to Montijo when she was 10; it was also at this time when she started playing the accordion. She gave her first concerts at 17, as an accordionist. In 2007, producer Páquito Rebelo invited her to record an album. It was at that time that the singer adopted the stage name "Rosinha". - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosinha
Great birthday lunch, just out of town - just Típico !
It was so nice to be able to walk to my birthday lunch venue yesterday (before walking into town in the afternoon for a swim in the sea) and enjoy a superb and leisurely feast of meat, chips, beans, rice and salad - as well as my second beer, after a year off the stuff!
Great to return for a second time after our first visit as detailed below. - same great and friendly service, tasty and traditional Portuguese fare, and Estrella as their 'imperial standard.
Whilst town is starting to hum and many establishments have switched into full on tourist mode, Típico is calm and charming. They could perhaps do with a little more patronage, so do please go and try it out. Or just pop into the associated café next door for a coffee and pastry.
We have therefore adopted this place as our 'local' and treasure it's oasis like peacefulness as central Sao Martino will no doubt continue to heat up - in every sense - a frenetic summer season.
Maybe see you in there?
Will SMdP's NEW 5-Star camping experience open on time?
The campsite at the top of my street - Colina do Sol - is due to re-open this Summer, next month in fact. I walk my dogs close the the perimeter where, over the last few months cabins have been popping up like glamping-flavoured mushrooms.
I'm told this is the luxury end of camping in the town (the budget-end, municipally-run Baia Azul is located on the seafront) and was recently acquired by French campsite operators Yelloh.
With a 20-minute walk to town and a delightful view (depending on your cabin) over Gralha beach and an immense water slide, Colina has much to commend it.
However, I can't help wondering if this refurb will hit its redevelopment deadline. The cabins are clearly in need of some finishing, the slide, though impressive is not quite there and will need some serious snagging, and many new staff will need to be trained.
I will keep my fingers crossed of course as I suspect this will be a wonderful post-pandemic shot in the arm (pardon the pun) for SMdP. And what's more I'm hoping for a day pass possibility for locals because that pool, slide and no doubt its clubhouse could be the stuff of great Sao Martinho Summer memories.
To book your stay and find out more click here
Elevated culinary haven should you need to retreat from the beach 'bonkersness'!
TEN days of PARTYING have begun!
Festa de Santa Antonio in São Martinho do Porto has officially begun. Strictly speaking just the nine days, I'm sure I heard some pre-partying on Thursday (-:
We were there having a nosey yesterday on Portugal Day and taking a look at the stalls selling every conceivable thing to eat, drink or wear including new underwear. Is there something we don't know yet about how Portuguese people have fun?
The stage is set and impressive. So many people are in town and ready. There is something to suit every taste and budget. I'm just wondering how everyone will keep it up for so long!
LIVE from Sao Martinho!
The Good Morning Portugal! Show became the Good Afternoon Portugal! Show for nearly an hour this afternoon LIVE from the world-famous deck of Cafe Palmeira.
Our new solar-powered, off-grid, broadcast kit performed well, which bodes well for future cafe-based livestreams and perhaps some coverage of the upcoming festa (see poster).
With grateful thanks to Top Producer T-Duck for all his help and assistance with this (-:
The Height of Bar Culture in SMdP: 'Azimute'
One of our favourite São Martinho do Porto restaurants for good food, service and child-friendliness is Portobello, where we hoped to head yesterday after a spot of (unsuccessful) crab fishing. However, we forgot they tend to fill up early and we missed our moment. Booking is clearly advisable, especially at weekends.
Our loss however, quickly turned to a big win as we toddled further along the quay (cais) to discover newly re-opened Azimute, which looks like part of the town's sailing club. This cool, but not intimidating hostelry has a beautiful bay view to savour, as you sample their simple and delicious menu.
A lovely surprise for our weary post-fishing party, spirits were lifted by the idea of refreshing drinks (both in terms of selection AND taste) and a snacky, 'finger food' menu, well suited to some grown-up boozing for which the venue is attired and stocked.
This is a great venue for a pick-me-up after a day on the beach as well as a full-on night out with a great selection of alcoholic drinks, that wonderful view, and DJs to come in time - to suit a licence that can run till 4am!
Tacos, nachos and burgers were real crowd-pleasers with some decent ingredients and thoughtful twists on the plate. Pricing, service and ambience were excellent, and the kids have a new favourite place (-:
Do drop in and meet owner Davide, a great chap with stacks of big-city experience, which he has brought with thoughtfulness and style to the Silver Coast.
Follow on Instagram www.instagram.com/azimutesmp/
Casa Grande - extended family accommodation (20+)
SMdP is a lovely place to visit and if you want to come with a larger family or friendship group, here's the perfect venue.
I was lucky enough to see Casa Grande when we returned to the town in late 2021, and were invited to join a gathering there.
"This amazing and spacious house was specifically modernised in 2014 to accommodate up to 20 people in comfort," say the owners.
"Originally built in a traditional Portuguese style, it is constructed over three levels and has been totally adapted with great care to offer comfort and zones for entertainment and relaxation.
Rest assured there’s nothing quite like it in the area to beat its space, thoughtful layout and level of equipment no matter what you are looking for."
I agree and would like to celebrate a significant birthday there some day with its close proximity to town, yet with a great deal of seclusion and sense of comfortable luxury.
Party time in The Bay!
The 'Festas de Santa Antonio' returns to SMdP, starting Friday 10th June with acts booked EVERY NIGHT through the the climax on Sunday 19th.
Let's look for a moment at the saint behind this festival - Saint Anthony - who local legend and tourism office team member Gastao assures us, is Portuguese and NOT Italian!
Anthony of Padua, as he is known, or Anthony of Lisbon (António de Lisboa) as we prefer here, was born Fernando Martins de Bulhões, 15th August, 1195 and died in Italy, 13th June 1231. He was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order.
"Noted by his contemporaries for his powerful preaching, expert knowledge of scripture, and undying love and devotion to the poor and the sick, he was one of the most quickly canonized saints in church history," says Wikipedia.
He is the patron saint of, among many other things, Lisbon, lost items, lost people, lost souls, amputees, animals, oppressed people, Portugal, pregnant women, shipwrecks, runts of litters and counter-revolutionaries.
SMdP's secret picnic area
Best value (half)day out, ever! It's Sao Martinho do Porto's 'Parque de Merendas' with free-to-use BBQs, a children's playground and a breeze through the tress (-:
The Bay, The Directory. How can I help?
Here to help you in the São Martinho do Porto as an English-speaking resource, 'ambassador and concierge' - do let me know how I can help.
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
An Apple a Day? Easy here!
In SMdP, we are lucky to live close to Portugal's apple orchard epicentre - the hills and valleys of Alcobaca,
Great to see in the town's Intermarche then, the new apple basket, a nice way to market the region's rather marvellous, crisp and tasty fruit.
See also the supermarket's 'Porsi' own brand offering that contains both local apple and pear in a delicious 1.5L juice box.
UPDATE: Copa in Nazaré and Caldas!
After a lovely tip-off (and apple pie) from Obidos friends Maria and Phil about Caldas' Copa store, what a delight to discover the Copa store in Nazaré (-:
For local fresh fruit, honey, peanuts, dried fruit and nuts, wine and many more delights, see map.
More about the brand: https://www.copa.pt/pt/stores
São Martinho do Porto Facebook group
Our interactive community group for the The São Martinho do Porto Directory. Feel free to chat here about yourself and the town, ask questions and sell/swap stuff. Join here - https://www.facebook.com/groups/smdpcommunitygarden
Boa Sorte, Bon Chance! Bonam's - the new agent in town
What a delight to be invited to the opening of Bonham's yesterday, the new realtor/estate agent in São Martinho do Porto. Hosts Patrick, Eugenia, Enzo and Gastao offered a warm welcome to clients, friends and family at their beautiful new premises with a superb beachfront location.
My picture, an after-thought after some superb conversation and hospitality, does not do their wonderful décor and ambience justice. Go see for yourself some delightful properties in the most exquisite of surroundings if it's a home you are looking for in and around the bay.
More here: http://bonams.pt/
Av. Marginal, Edf. Baía, nº5, store D, 2460-096 São Martinho do Porto
10:00 am to 7:00 pm (Monday to Friday) and 9:00 am to 2:00 pm (Saturday)
Call (+351) 262 989 680
"With a standard of seriousness in the provision of real estate services, it seeks to do good business efficiently, thus providing tranquillity to its customers. Originally created to sell properties according to the needs of our customers, over the years it has expanded its operations throughout the country."
Our local cafe in SMdP - Padaria da Serra
... and the venue for son Digby's first cake tasting in his 'Great Portuguese Cake Adventure' - number one: the the Coconut Slice (Fatia de Coco)!
This is where we buy our local honey, and yesterday found a lovely cheese thanks to my boy's excellent nose for such things. This 'Aprecia' is somewhat like a medium-soft, more waxy, Boursin in taste - made with cow, sheep and goat milk, peppered with oregano and garlic.
This is a great place to pick up a locally baked 'pao da forma' too, the square bread that's used for toast or Torrada (or 'breakfast Jenga', see pic!).
More here: https://www.facebook.com/padariadaserrasmp/
The Bay by Gene
With grateful thanks to Gene Hellums for this beautiful panorama of São Martinho do Porto bay, from yesterday's meet -up.
My delightful dining and life companion - Mrs M
Ó da Casa. Ó da Casamento!
Another celebrated São Martinho do Porto hospitality 'institution' under recent, new management, Ó da Casa was the last-minute choice for our recent wedding anniversary dinner.
Our first choice, a little-known (to foreigners) and well-loved, seafood cellar turned out to be closed. So in celebratory mood and with YOLO vibes abounding, we walked back to the front and set foot in what must rank as among the best in town, newly-refurbed but mercifully quiet.
Local lad Antonio led the way after a formal Maître D-style welcome on the door. Service here is noticeably of a higher and attentive level than most restaurants in the bay, thereby ensuring a great sense of occasion on our special night.
Coincidentally, we were seated at Ó da Casa's best table in my view, offering a sweet view of the sea and a good distance from other diners. From here we witnessed a classic São Martinho sunset with our dessert of baked apple and Bailey's ice cream, with a couple of glasses of complimentary port.
Before that, we began proceedings with a pair of flutes filled with indigenous fizz, some classic Portuguese Bairrada espumante, whilst deciding what to order from an impressive and stimulating menu.
Here, fresh fish - as detailed by staff according to daily availability - is sold by weight, and after much deliberation we chose to share a hefty Sea Bass, cooked Meunière-style - an engaging and mouth-watering change from our usual choice of grilling, as is the norm locally.
The fish was fresh, beautifully cooked and filleted for us at the table by friendly, yet suitably formal António - an excellent and helpful young man who we encouraged into conversation about local and national culture and history. We were equally impressed by the accompanying, deliciously-fresh and tasty vegetables, as was Mrs M by the house red.
This was an unusually quiet night according to another informative and friendly waiter Paulo, who we also engaged in educational conversation. Another Silver Coast local, it was inspiring and heart-warming to hear from him of Foz do Arelho's decadent clubbing past in the 90s, where apparently thousands of Portuguese revellers descended every weekend. We saw the legendary videos to prove it!
All in all a fabulous night out. Great service, superb yet unpretentious food and a beautiful memory to add to a rich and growing bank of lovely experiences, as we relax more deeply into the easy embrace of Portugal's Costa de Prata.
As far as cost goes, it's not often we go into three figures for the pair of us. But then again it's not often we go out without the kids. So let's call it value rather than cost, for a truly memorable night with my beautiful dinner and life companion. Truly wonderful. As was dining at Ó da Casa (-:
Love you Mrs M X
Bookings: email@example.com or call 00 351 262 989 473
Going up! São Martinho do Porto's 'Great Glass Elevator'
São Martinho do Porto's Hotel Atlântica & Carvalho Restaurant
10-05-22 - MAKE A BOOKING
Had an enquiry, from friends who are "big fans of small 2-star Portuguese hotels, often family run", about the Bay's Atlântica establishment. Apparently they have a 2-night B&B offer for about €100, and my pals want to know if the location is good for the pair of them to enjoy a short stay in the bay.
I too like this type of accommodation, so gladly gave them my assessment, if only from outside. Reception was unmanned and staff sounded busy elsewhere so left them to it. But family-run and intimate is definitely the vibe here. This, on my way to the hotel's integral restaurant - 'Restaurante Carvalho' - or Mr Skinny Legs' cafe as my kids call it (see pic).
As far as location goes, it's hard to be more centrally located than Hotel Atlântica, positioned in the heart of town, less than a minute from the beach, and across the street from SMdP's tourist information office.
Likely to be 'atmospheric', i.e. charmingly noisy at all hours at the height of the season, it is a great location. Here you'll feel the town's pulse and be well positioned for baia, bars and buzz.
Incidentally, I really enjoyed my lunch at their ground-floor eatery Carvalho. Me delighting in a well cooked Dourada (golden bream) with fresh veg and boiled potatoes, and the kids sharing a pizza, the remains of which went home 'para levar' (one of my favourite Portuguese phrases).
Chatting to the waiter, seems the hotel and restaurant are under recent, new management. This bodes well if they are eager to please and I'd say the "sea view room with balcony at €115 for 2 nights bed and breakfast" will make for a fun break, if not an entirely relaxing one.
For tranquility and solitude, check out a B&B between SMdP and Nazare, just off the Atlantic ridge road perhaps. But for all the fun of a buzzing beach break, this looks like a great deal and choice once the car is parked up and the flip-flops are on.
Daughter with Mr Skinny Legs!
Atlântica Hotel above, Restaurante Carvalho below
Beach at the end of the street!
Does SMdP have a garden centre? If not, Alfeizerão does!
Until today, I've been driving to Caldas da Rainha for compost ('dirt' to you US friends!). What a relief then to find a new and very friendly garden centre in neighbouring Alfeizerão.
Looks like early days, but they have - pardon the pun - hit the ground running with a colourful and attractive range of plants, containers and aforementioned growing medium, along with a very thoughtful kids' play area to keep your gnomes busy while you browse, dream and shop.
Something here for ornamental and produce growers alike, Vale D'Elfos is just about the last plot on the right side of the road, as you leave town, heading for the Tornada road/A8.
Watch out for the steep entranceway the likes of which never seem to bother Portuguese drivers. For me, the smell of newly-bought foliage and bagged compost was momentarily blended with hot clutch fumes. So be careful just how much you're tempted to load into your vehicle!
Find them on Facebook
PS Correct me if I'm wrong ... SMdP doesn't have a garden centre, does it?
The Bay, Sao Martinho do Porto
'Sao Martinho do Porto Syndrome'
We moved to Portugal in 2017, first to Tomar, and then - fearing death by fire - on to Sao Martinho do Porto on the Silver Coast.
"Wow!" we thought, as we arrived in town. "We could live here!"
And so began a phenomenon repeated each time we arrived in a new Portuguese town: 'Sao Martinho do Porto' syndrome - a very frequent, and possibly fickle, infatuation with every charming new village, town or city that we encountered.
When looking for somewhere to live over here, spoilt for choice you will likely be. And in the scheme of worldly challenges and first world problems, it's a good one to have. That said, still a possible source of anxiety and frustration when you are keen to put down roots.
Sun, or at least fabulous, cheery blue skies, are ubiquitous here. But the many manifestations of Portuguese soul and sensibility will probably catch your eye and heart as you scout and scour the country on the search for your dream home and location.
It's a subject we are tackling on this week's Premium Plus course/plan, and a discussion I look forward to having with those who are accelerating their plans to come to Portugal, on this week's group call.
Another sound option is to consider a good enough 'base camp', from which to explore and savour at your leisure, once here and experiencing this lovely land through your senses. This is not a huge country by say American standards, so picking a place that is central, well-connected and ticks enough boxes, is a sensible solution to the syndrome described here.
Power of Community
See also the Expats Portugal forum. Here you'll find seasoned expats and happy homemakers, as well as others still searching, who will no doubt either sing the praises of their favoured location(s) or steer you away from places that have not worked out in their own experience.
Here's an example when Jane asked about Braga.
Helpers & Sherpas
Consider also the real estate agents/buyer's agents we work with for local insight, but again be prepared for having your head turned, even towards places you've not included in your first draft of places to be. This is certainly happening in the North as soon as anyone sits down for a Cafe e Nata with Vitor Costa
We are pleased to have recently added Ana Caramujo of Savvy Cat this list too.
So is that any clearer? Probably not! That's Sao Martinho do Porto syndrome for you. But you do know where we are if you need help.
With 10,000+ community members, 10,000+ subscribers on YouTube, and 800+ podcasts covering most of life and living in Portugal, we are a great place to start that search for the place of your dreams and your future life in Portugal!
Start here: www.expatsportugal.com
"One of the best decisions I ever made upon relocating to Lisboa, Portugal was to become a member of Expats Portugal hosted by Carl Munson. It has proven to be an invaluable resource on many levels.
First you have so many experts in their fields as part of the Expat Community not only from Portugal but other locations. The knowledge and guidance with instructions on various topics is outstanding on a consistent basis. We have just fun, lots of laughter with sharing stories, photos, wine, gardening, health, and legal information pertaining of Visa relocation, etc.
Expats Portugal is your neighbor next door welcoming you to the community. I highly recommend joining Expats Portugal anywhere in the world." - Katherine