Porto Palafita da Carrasqueira

Situated on the left bank of the Sado Estuary lies the unique fishing village of Carrasqueira. Here you will encounter a series of wooden jetties supported by stilts (known as cais palafita) weaving through the muddy marshes. Fishing huts dot the wharf, some plain and others festooned with a variety of interesting decorations. A trip here will make you feel like you’ve traveled to southeast Asia, even though you’re only an 80-minute drive from Lisbon!

Porto Palafita da Carrasqueira, Photo by Becky Gillespie
Porto Palafita da Carrasqueira, Photo by Becky Gillespie

History

This traditional port was born during the 1950s-1960s as the local community looked for a solution to help the growing number of boats getting moored in the area during low tide. As the tide went out, fishermen would be unable to reach their boats. The Sado marshes were just too muddy! Luckily, a creative answer was found when fishermen started burying some stacks of wood in the mud and covering them with wooden planks to make it easier to reach the shore. Over the years, this port has grown considerably and is well worth a stop, especially if you are visiting Comporta, which is only a 15-minute drive away.  

Would you risk walking out here?, Photo by Becky Gillespie
Porto Palafita da Carrasqueira, Photo by Becky Gillespie

Today, Porto Palafita da Carrasqueira beckons tourists from all over Europe with its dazzling sunrise and sunset views, which is the ideal time to visit for the best photos if you can manage your schedule accordingly. While you’re there, see if you can spot the clay pots used to catch octopus or challenge yourself (preferably without your phone) to walk out onto the zigzagging narrow wooden walkways leading to the boats.   

Porto Palafita da Carrasqueira, Photo by Becky Gillespie

After catching a beautiful sunset, stop by one of the local restaurants to enjoy some fresh seafood at affordable prices. If you prefer a sunrise visit, head into the town of Comporta after for a coffee followed by a morning surf at Praia do Carvalhal.  

How to get to Porto Palafita da Carrasqueira

The village of Carrasqueira is about an 80-minute drive from the center of Lisbon. Please note that there are no buses that go directly there. Take the A2 following signs for Alcácer. After merging onto the IC1/N5, follow signs to Comporta. Porto Palafita da Carrasqueira is about 3 km from Comporta. Once you get close to the region, follow marked signs to the port. We used Google Maps and reached the port successfully. Just be careful to avoid any narrow roads in the area that may lead to your car having difficulty turning around.

The Porto Palafita da Carrasqueira is open all year round and free to enter.

Porto Palafita da Carrasqueira, Photo by Becky Gillespie
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