Vila Nova de Milfontes

Something that I always felt guilty of, is that I don't know Portugal as well as I should. Is my country after all.

Last year i wrote down a list of places i wanted to visit in Portugal. Since then, that list is getting bigger, more diverse and not only focused in Portugal. The first place I wrote down on it was Vila Nova de Milfontes. It has been a place i wanted to go to make photos ever since i started photographing.


Milfontes is a small town on the southwest coast of Alentejo. It is a very quiet and cozy town where Mira river flows int the ocean. It has several fluvial beaches as well as a few more all over the coast. When the tide is low enough it is possible to walk all the way from the river side to the small fishing boat's marina.

 Yes it is possible to walk there. I did it.

Yes it is possible to walk there. I did it.

I stayed in the awesome Hostel Milfontes. As the town, it is very cozy and quiet. I am planning on going back there eventually and i will be staying there again. Not only the price is good, the owner was very nice.

 Hostel Milfontes Backyard

Hostel Milfontes Backyard

Everything is close by. Maybe going to Praia do Farol takes longer but even then it takes maybe twenty minutes walking. There are several markets and convenience stores near the hostel as well as in the town's streets. This time of the year, some are open until midnight. However on my last day, Sunday, most of restaurants and stores were closed. From what people were saying, during the winter nothing happens there. Most of the working people go away and all the restaurants are closed. It is only profitable during the summer. 

There is also some kayak and paddle schools. Probably surf schools as well but I didn't notice. There were quite some people taking paddle lessons. Again, when I go back there, I am definitely taking some lessons.

Last but not least, before changing the subject to photography, the food it is amazing. Beware that in the summer, a lot of the restaurants need a reservation. I tried to have lunch on one of them only to be turned down because every table was reserved. With some patient, i ended up finding Portal da Vila restaurant. The prices are ok (could be a bit cheaper) but it is very traditional food, fresh and more important good. If you go there i recommend having Choco na Brasa or Secretos de Porco preto. To end the afternoon, go for beer and snails. On of the best Portuguese appetizers. 

 For me there is only one way to eat Choco na Brasa: With Ink!!!

For me there is only one way to eat Choco na Brasa: With Ink!!!

 Snails and Beer. Best way to end a small trip

Snails and Beer. Best way to end a small trip

Now that i told you what you can do and where to eat is time to talk about photography. 


Since i started photography, i always wanted to come to Vila Nova de Milfontes because there is a shipwreck in one of the smaller beaches. Right now it is very degraded. I remember a few years ago it was more impressive. As always, i did my planning: where is it, how to get there, the weather and how high the tide would be. I knew going in that the sky was going to be clear which is not a good thing. But i didn't care. I decided to frame it in a way that there was very little sky and have some interest in the foreground with the waves breaking on the ship and going around it. Usually, photographers do this photo from higher up on the trail but i decided i wanted to be as close to the ship as possible so i could frame as little as the sky as possible.

 Most common view point of this photography location.

Most common view point of this photography location.

On my way to the ship there were photo opportunities. Because the light was very harsh the only way i knew i was going to be able to create a decent photo was to use a 10Stop ND filter.

 Love the contrast between the red algae and the ocean

Love the contrast between the red algae and the ocean

Once I arrived at the ship I started testing with the ND filter but it was not going to work since the tide would not be high enough and the processing time of each photo would go up. I changed to the Polarizer and it still gave me the slower shutter speeds I needed for when the tide was high enough and I was able to shot more and frequently and faster not to lose the moment the waves hit the ship and not to mention how I got more contrast from the rocks.

 For now it will be only black and white. Hoping to have the final image done soon.

For now it will be only black and white. Hoping to have the final image done soon.

I was thinking about staying until dark and maybe try to get some stars but I was getting wet and cold. Still made a few more photos from a different location on the beach. I learned that i need better water resistant closes as well as a slightly bigger back  pack and a shutter realease.

 A few meters from the ship the sea was doing amazing things and sounds

A few meters from the ship the sea was doing amazing things and sounds


I also ended up doing street photography. Because there wasn't a lot happening I started taking detail photos of Alentejo traditional architecture. Still was able to get a few good moments from locals.

 Tipical Alentejo Home

Tipical Alentejo Home

 Local playing Bisca. A traditional Portuguese card game.

Local playing Bisca. A traditional Portuguese card game.


In the end, i loved going to Vila Nova de Milfontes. Not only because it was a place I wanted to go before, but because I was going crazy staying home working. I was feeling depressed and angry. Probably because my main job is very repetitive and doesn't allow me to go out much. There are days that I don't care and go to Lisbon. I love it as well but I don't find anything new anymore. Another reason that I think I was going crazy was that since my trip to Italy I been thinking about going on another big trip. So far I haven't been able to decide 100% where I will go and for how long. I want to make a decision soon and start focusing on it. With that said I will be traveling more in Portugal. A lot more. It would be easier if I had a car but I will manage somehow to do it. It will cost me some money but it will be worth it to go at least once a month to a different place. I don't have to go to do a specific photography. As long as I go a see something new I am happy. Hopefully, i will be doing more posts like this one.