Vila Nova De Milfontes – Authentic Portuguese Fishing Village for the Whole Family

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Vila Nova de Milfontes Travel Guide and Best 5 Things to Do

Located in the western Alentejo region of Portugal, Vila Nova de Milfontes is a small seaside town known for its stunning Natural beaches, nightlife and rich history. I happily discovered this area because it’s also the second day stop of the Fisherman’s Trail, a scenic 4-day hike along the wild Portuguese coastline. It’s definitely the most lively fishing village (maybe I’d call it a town) along the trail.

Highlights:

  • Street Art in Abandoned Mansion
  • Tuna Tree
  • Epic Beaches, both wild and calm
  • Gossipy Castles and Drama

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker searching for a winter thru-hike or simply looking for natural beaches with stunning day walks, surfing or just a place to party in summer – Vila Nova de Milfontes and the Fisherman’s Trail have something to offer every traveler.

Overview Vila Nova de Milfontes Travel Guide

vila nova de milfontes portugal

When to visit:  Mid-September to Mid-June
Must do Multi-day Hike: Fisherman’s Trail
Where to stay: Favorite: Casa de Eira (Mid-Range), Selina Milfontes (budget), Quinta Pedagogica (Farm Stay), Duna Penthouse (Luxury)

Only have one day from Lisbon?  Private full day van tour of Alentejo Coast

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Where to Stay in Vila Nova De Milfontes

There are many accommodation options in Vila Nova de Milfontes, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels. Some of the best places to stay in Vila Nova de Milfontes are:

👎🏻 Click here to check price ⭐️ Why Stay Here?
Casa de Eira So quiet, comfortable and the absolute best breakfast in Alentejo
Selina MilfontesBudget friendly and super close to beach
Quinta PedagogicaConnect with farm animals on your stay!
Duna PenthouseLuxury Stay with spa and wellness center

Vila Nova de Milfontes Map

Vila Nova de Milfontes Portugal : Epic and Authentic Fishing Village

How to Get to Vila Nova de Milfontes from Lisbon

Vila Nova de Milfontes is just a two and a half hour drive from Lisbon, making it the perfect day trip destination. You can also take a bus from Lisbon to Vila Nova de Milfontes, with several daily connections available. Alternatively, if you want to explore the surrounding area and enjoy the scenic drive, you can rent a car.

  • Take a flight to Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado Airport (LIS)
  • From Lisbon airport, make your way to Lisboa Sete Rios station using the subway, taxi or uber
  • Take the “Rede-expressos” bus from Sete Rios station to Vila Nova de Milfontes (20 euros) or private car
  • Book your bus tickets ahead of time online at Rede-expressos website
  • If you prefer to travel by train, you can take a train from Lisbon to Funcheira and then take a bus to Vila Nova de Milfontes.

Note: Bus schedules may change with the seasons, so plan ahead and allow at least 2 hours of commute time from the airport to the bus station to avoid missing the bus. If you’re flying into Lisbon on the same day you plan to leave for Porto Covo, consider arriving in the morning to allow enough time to reach the town before the late afternoon bus.

Detailed Vila Nova de Milfontes Hotel Guide

My Favorite:

vila nova de milfontes portugal
so peaceful

Casa de Eira is hands down the most friendly and pleasant hotel experience I’ve had in years due it’s elegant and delicious breakfast service, quiet rooms and incredible service by Rudolf.

He taught me so much about the history of the entire region and the fishermen’s trail.

I felt like the service was at the level of a 5 star city hotel, but in a tiny seaside village for 55 euros a night. I cannot recommend a stay here enough.

vila nova de milfontes portugal

Budget:

Selina Milfontes: If you’re after a more budget-friendly option, check out Selina Milfontes, a lovely guest house with private bathrooms and located only 400 meters from the beach. 

Farm Stay:

Quinta Pedagogica – Located in Vicentine Natural Park between Vila Nova de Milfontes (8km) and the town of São Luis, Quinta da Samoqueirinha is an educational farm and offers an apartment and various rooms with access to an outdoor swimming pool, surrounded by a diversified landscape. Guests staying at the apartment are welcome to prepare their own meals using the fully equipped kitchen provided.

The property features an educational farm where guests will have the chance to visit and feed the animals. Horse riding is also available at the property, upon an extra charge. The Samoqueirinha offers the unique opportunity to explore the Vicentina Route and the stunning beaches along the coast.

Luxury Stay:

Villa Dunes Penthouse with Rooftop Pool – Seafront at 500 meters from the beach and offering a rooftop pool, indoor pool and outdoor poo with a full spa and wellness center. Get pampered.

PDF Download of the best accommodations on the entire Fisherman’s Trail.

Best 5 Things to Do

Top 5 Things to do in Vila Nova de Milfontes

Vila Nova de Milfontes is a small town in the Alentejo region of Portugal, famous for its stunning beaches, wild nature, and endless opportunities for adventure. Whether you are a beach lover or an adrenaline junkie, Vila Nova de Milfontes is the perfect destination for you.

The best thing to do? →  Marvel at Nature on the town’s stunning beaches and take a dip in the ocean.

1. Hiking & Surfing Along Natural Beaches

vila nova de milfontes beach

Vila Nova de Milfontes has some of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal. Praia do Malhão, Praia das Furnas, and Praia do Farol are just a few of the stunning beaches you can visit.

Benefit: Both Wild Atlantic Surfing Beaches & Calm Bay Waters for Kids

Hiking – The Rota Vicentina is a network of hiking trails that covers over 400 km of coastline in the Alentejo region. The trails offer stunning views of the rugged coastline, cliffs, and beaches. One of the most popular hikes is the Fishermen’s Trail, which starts in Porto Covo and makes it way through Vila Nova de Milfontes and takes you along the coast to the town of Odeceixe.

Don’t your kids love the grandma workout gear on beaches???

2. Visit the River Miro for Kayaking & Birdwatching

vila nova de milfontes portugal tuna tree
the Tuna Tree!

One of the most impressive aspects of Vila Nova de Milfontes is the River Mira. Locals proudly claim it as the least polluted river in Europe, and it’s easy to see why. The river is navigable to Odemira and was once crucial in the region’s development, connecting villages and shipping cereals and goods. Along the river, you’ll see old water mills that took advantage of the tides to mill grain. Although they’re no longer in use, some of the mill buildings can still be seen by the riverside.

The Miro riverbanks and bottom are rich, marshy, and muddy, providing a habitat for a diverse range of fauna, including oyster banks and big colonies of waders such as sanderlings, dunlins, and whimbrels. It’s also a favorite spot for grey herons and white storks. You won’t want to miss exploring this natural wonderland!

3. Visit the Forte de Sao Clemente

vila nova de milfontes portugal

Thanks to my history lesson from Rudolf at Casa de Eira, I learned that the town Fortress Forte de Sao Clemente in town is, in fact, a party boy’s private house. Lucky boy. It is located right in the middle of town overlooking the Miro River.

4. Go Foraging for Medronho Berries

vila nova de milfontes portugal

Look for the Medronho berries alongside the road out of town and near the Vila Nova Milfontes bridge, they make excellent schnapps from it. They are wild berries that look like wild strawberries growing from a scrubby Mediterranean bush.

Casa de Eira is hands down the most friendly and pleasant hotel experience I’ve had in years

In the summer, the town bustles with visitors who come to enjoy the delicious cuisine, based on fresh fish and seafood. Don’t miss out on trying the Caldeirada, a hearty fish stew, or the arroz de marisco, a kind of seafood risotto. And, of course, grilled fish is always a favorite! When in Vila Nova de Milfontes, be sure to try some of the local cuisine. Here’s my favorite recommendation:

  • Tasca do Celso: A privately owned restaurant that offers elevated Portugese cuisine. However, be sure to make a reservation ahead of time because it’s a very popular restarant.

5. Scout out Street Art

The abandoned mansion.

Just outside Vila Nova de Milfontes is a gem of street art and cool exploring. There’s an interesting history and efforts to preserve this architect’s abondoned house. For now it’s really fun and maybe a tiny….bit dangerous to explore the crumbling building.

vila nova de milfontes portugal

Weather in Vila Nova de Milfontes

Vila Nova de Milfontes is a popular travel destination in Portugal known for its beautiful beaches, stunning natural scenery, and outdoor activities. The weather in Vila Nova de Milfontes is mild and temperate, with comfortable temperatures throughout the year.

Based on historical averages, the summer months of June through September are the warmest and driest in Vila Nova de Milfontes, with average high temperatures ranging from 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F). The summer season is also the busiest time of year for tourism, as visitors flock to the beaches to enjoy the warm weather and clear skies.

vila nova de milfontes portugal
November on fisherman’s trail

In the spring months of March through May, temperatures in Vila Nova de Milfontes start to rise, with average high temperatures ranging from 17°C to 21°C (63°F to 70°F). Spring is a beautiful time to visit Vila Nova de Milfontes, as the surrounding countryside is in full bloom and the beaches are less crowded than during the summer months.

The fall months of October and November are slightly cooler and wetter, with average high temperatures ranging from 20°C to 23°C (68°F to 73°F). Despite the cooler temperatures, the autumn season is still a great time to visit Vila Nova de Milfontes, as the town is less crowded and the surrounding countryside is filled with colorful fall foliage.

Portugal canned fish is absolutly delicious. Americans be ready to change your mind about tuna and sardines in a can.

Finally, the winter months of December through February are the coolest and wettest in Vila Nova de Milfontes, with average high temperatures ranging from 14°C to 17°C (57°F to 63°F).

While the weather may not be warm enough for swimming or sunbathing, there are outdoor activities to enjoy during the winter months, such as hiking, birdwatching, and exploring the local markets.

Overall, the weather in Vila Nova de Milfontes is mild and pleasant year-round, with a Mediterranean climate that makes it an ideal destination for outdoor adventure and beach travel.

Visitors should be prepared for occasional rain showers, especially during the winter and fall months, but the mild temperatures and beautiful scenery make it a worthwhile destination no matter the time of year.

Hiking the Fisherman’s Trail is best Sep-December and March-May. 

History of Vila Nova de Milfontes

Founded in 1486 by King João II, the town was established to encourage population growth and organize the administration of this peripheral territory.

The Mira River estuary was once a hub for coastal trading, but the town’s development was stunted by sea pirates.

In fact, Algerian pirates attacked the town in 1582, causing extensive damage and sparking a period of continuous pirate attacks. To protect the town, a fortress, now known as the castle, was built between 1599 and 1602 by the Italian engineer Alexandre Massai.

Today, Vila Nova de Milfontes no longer attracts pirates, but rather adventure travelers seeking a thrilling experience. The town is renowned for its beautiful beaches, which are perfect for surfing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing.

As you stroll through the town, you’ll come across a monument in front of the castle entrance that commemorates a significant achievement of Portuguese aviation.

It marks the first flight from Portugal to Macau, which took off from Milfontes on April 7th, 1924, piloted by the locally born Brito Paes and Sarmento Beires.

The church, which belonged to the Order of Santiago, was built at the end of the XV century. Make sure to notice its cross above the front door.

Other Fishing Villages Nearby to Explore

street art vila nova de milfontes portugal
amazing street art just outside vila nova de milfontes

There are several other beach towns nearby Vila Nova de Milfontes in Portugal that you may also want to explore:

  1. Porto Covo – a quieter fishing village with stunning, sandy beaches and beautiful scenery and the first stop on the Fisherman’s Trail hike.
  2. Zambujeira do Mar – a picturesque town with a long sandy beach, perfect for surfing and windsurfing, day 3 on the fisherman’s trail hike.
  3. Sines – a historic town with a stunning harbor and nearby beaches such as Porto Covo.
  4. Odeceixe – a small town located at the mouth of the river Seixe, with a long sandy beach and a beautiful natural setting, day 4 of the Fisherman’s Trail hike.
  5. Aljezur – a town with a stunning coastline and several secluded beaches, perfect for those seeking a quieter beach experience.

The Fisherman’s Trail: A Breathtaking Journey Through Portugal’s Coastline

The town has fun little shops with all kinds of vibes.

Starting in Porto Covo and ending in Odeceixe, the Fisherman’s Trail is a 4-day hike along the Portuguese coastline. It’s a moderate hike, with some sections that can be challenging, but the stunning views of the ocean and the unique landscapes along the way make it well worth the effort.

The fisherman’s trail is very well marked, so you won’t have to worry about getting lost, and there are plenty of opportunities to stop and rest along the way. Here’s my honest take on the Rota Vicentina on my blog.

➡️ Ready to plan your SELF GUIDED multi day walk along the last wild coast in Europe?

I got you! Just use these maps + packing list + my  Fisherman’s Trail Places to Stay Spreadsheet and you’re pretty much covered. I use booking.com to arrange my stays along the Fishermen’s Trail because it’s very reliable and organized for a multi-day trek.

Want a visual of the hike, check out my Fisherman’s Trail webstories.

Fisherman’s Trail Summary with Travel Guides for Each Village

Arrival Day: Get to Porto Covo: (Lisbon to Porto Covo 2.5 hours bus)

Stage 1: Porto Covo to Vila Nova Milfontes 12 miles, 20 km


Stage 2: Vila Nova Milfontes to Almograve 9 miles, 15 km


Stage 3: Almograve to Zambujeira do Mar 13 miles, 21 km


Stage 4: Zambujeira do Mar to Odeceixe 11 miles, 18 km

Download: ➡️ Fisherman’s Trail GPX
➡️ Minimalist Packing List
Ultimate Guide : Rota Vicentina Fisherman’s Trail

Vila Nova de Milfontes Fisherman’s Trail

fisherman's trail signs
fisherman’s trail signage

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or simply looking for a change of pace, Vila Nova de Milfontes and the Fisherman’s Trail have something to offer every traveler. So why not pack your bags and head to this off-the-beaten path destination that’s perfect to pair with a trip to Lisbon. 

FAQ Vila Nova de Milfontes Fisherman’s Trail
they even tell you where NOT to go

What is the best part of the Fisherman’s Trail?

The section between Porto Covo and Odeceixe is the best 4 days on the Fisherman’s Trail. It is part of the larger Rota Vicentina hiking network.

Where does the Fisherman’s Trail start?

The Fisherman’s trail section of the Rota Vicentina hiking network starts in Porto Covo Portugal, just 15 minutes drive from Vila Nova de Milfontes.

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Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a physical therapist and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.