|Subject: Portugal Beach Resorts|
We were there for such a short time, I had to check back to our travelogue to respond to you. Here's what I found:
The following morning, we decided to check-out the fishing village of Sesimbra, just down the coast. It's a beautiful one hour bus ride through areas of Arrabida National Park, mountains, forests and the ever-present cork, olives and grapes. Sesimbra is a bit of a hilly town, but quite manageable. Thankfully, they have kept alive the tradition of the bright coloured fishing boats which are so photogenic. The sandy beachfront was alive with huge waves and surfers having a blast. The terraced Hotel do Mar looked like a fine place for a beachfront stay.
Working our way through the streets of well-kept homes, we saw many fisherman seriously focused on mending their nets, neither noticing nor caring that they were being photographed. As this was to be a one-meal day, we settled into the Restaurante O Escondinho, Rua dos Industrials 15. As it was the tail end of the lunch period and we were the only patrons, we asked if we would be disappointed and were assured that it was not a problem. Right they were!
We wanted to try a traditional seafood dish that we hadn't yet experienced, so the boss suggested cherne na cataplana. Cherne comes from Portuguese waters and is a delicate, sweet, white fish. Filets of this fish are lightly floured and browned before combining them with shrimps, clams, potatoes, tomato, onion, carrot, garlic and herbs and cooking them together in the special covered copper vessel in which the dish is presented. They certainly know how to prepare seafood in this part of the country. It was a delicious delight and once again, very reasonably priced.
Back down to the waterfront area for a walk in the sun and a smell of the surf. On the way back to the bus station we stopped at Ricardo's coffee shop, Pastelaria Verde Lima, Rua Candido dos Reis 15-17, for pasteis de nata, bica and a friendly conversation with Ricardo.
Now I remember! That's where I lost the reading glasses I had bought in Italy - never to be seen again. :-( Sesimbre did seem pretty quiet. There was lots more action in Cascais, which is also much more touristic and I don't know about the swimming there.
You might also consider Nazare: http://www.iprimus.ca/~travelzine/portugal2.htm a larger, quite interesting town further up the coast.
Some of our beachgoing Ziners should be able to help you more than I.