FRESH waves slap pristine sands as I walk along the sea’s edge – but my feet stay dry.
Because I’m riding a caramel-colored horse called Laranjinha (Portuguese for “little orange”) along a stretch of the longest continuous stretch of beach on the Iberian Peninsula.
The area called Comporta is just over an hour’s drive south of Lisbon and stretches for a staggering 40 uninterrupted miles.
I follow in the, um, hooves of none other than Madonna, who also saddled here at the Cavalos na Areia riding school.
A dozen of us immerse ourselves in scenic nature as we hack through abandoned pine forests and over sand dunes to reach the sea.
In fact, this coast off Portugal’s lush Alentejo region has slowly but surely garnered more attention over the past decade and a half thanks to a slew of A-list visitors that also include Monica Bellucci, George Clooney, Carla Bruni, and Christian Louboutin .
But despite rumours, it’s “the new Ibiza”, it’s still a peaceful idyll, at least for the time being.
I’m staying in the first and only hotel in the quaint old fishing village of Comporta itself.
Stylish but chilled AlmaLusa only opened its doors in November.
I enjoy the serene view over the swimming pool and the adjacent rice fields while sitting on the roof in the April 20 sun.
If, like me, you rely on public transport to get around, then staying in the city is ideal.
AlmaLusa is within walking distance of some of Comporta’s best restaurants.
Museu do Arroz specializes in rice dishes and is housed in a former 1950s rice hulling mill.
Or try Cavalarica, which prides itself on cooking with local ingredients.
In the Casa da Cultura, where you can find chic souvenirs, there is the possibility for a little shopping spree.
The beach is a 15-minute walk in the countryside, and there are also electric bikes for exploring the area (they can be hired through the hotel for €30 per day).
For those who decide to get around by car (it is advisable to rent one at Lisbon Airport before continuing your journey), you can further immerse yourself in the peace and quiet of the 12,500 hectares of Comporta Natural Reserve, surrounded by a very limited Construction has benefited from hotels and villas over the years.
For a more affordable stay, there are plenty of rustic Airbnbs available for under £87 a night.
Are you traveling for a special occasion? Favored by soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, the luxurious Sublime Comporta is the wider region’s original hotel.
Cool off in its all-natural ‘biological’ swimming pool – one of the largest in Europe – and enjoy traditional Portuguese cuisine with a modern twist at the Sem Porta restaurant (where they serve their own olive oil and wine).
A 10-minute Sublime shuttle bus takes you to the prestigious Sublime Comporta Beach Club, which provides the perfect backdrop for a delicious cocktail by the lively ocean.
Are you feeling restless? Next door, on Praia do Carvalhal beach, the Surf In Comporta school offers lessons for adults and children.
In fact, the area is one of the few in Portugal that has decent waves all year round.
About 20 minutes up the coast, near the village of Comporta, I eat succulent garlic prawns at Ilha do Arroz beachfront restaurant during the golden hour.
This was a culinary highlight of the trip, along with a visit to local institution Dona Bia.
The popular, down-to-earth restaurant served me a delicious lunch of sea bass and a spinach and bean rice dish on its roadside terrace.
With just a lonely car passing by every now and then, it felt like the escape from spring I didn’t know I needed.
I’m not surprised the famous can’t get enough.
GET THERE: Fly to Lisbon from multiple airports with Ryanair, easyJet and Wizz Air.
Return in June from £114pp.
STAY THERE: Rooms at AlmaLusa Comporta from £126 per night.
Double room at Sublime Comporta from £197 per night.
FROM & ABOUT: A group ride on the beach, lasting 1 hour and 30 minutes, costs £74 per adult.
MORE INFO: See visitalentejo.pt.