The History of Troia, Portugal

Located just a stone’s throw from nearby Setubal, the Tróia Peninsula is one of the best-kept secrets in the whole of Portugal. Nevertheless, word is slowly beginning to spread. Making now the perfect time to discover an entirely different side to this incredible country.

From memorable day-trips to the most enchanting holidays in the sun, Tróia Portugal is an idyllic hideaway that warrants full exploration. Tróia also boasts rich history and heritage, having first been settled by the Phoenicians and later becoming the Roman city of Cetóbriga.

The Roman ruins of Cetobriga

Perched above the Tróia we know today, the major Roman settlement of Cetobriga was one of the Empire’s most important centres for fish salting. To this day, the ruins of an incredibly large fish salting plant remain in their original position and are open to the public throughout the year.

Those working at the plant would take fish caught in the Sado Estuary or the Atlantic Ocean and process them on an industrial scale. So large was the settlement that it even had its own bathhouse and a Christian Church. The settlement met its end in the 5th century, after being damaged beyond repair by a major winter storm.

The ruins are located close to the main centre of Tróia and make for a fabulous afternoon’s exploration. Along with the extraordinary ruins themselves, the view from the headland really is something to behold.

Modern Tróia

Few places qualify for the title of ‘unspoiled’ quite like Tróia. For hundreds of years, this gorgeous peninsula remains largely untouched and unexplored by anyone. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1980s that Tróia burst onto the scene as an upmarket resort for the more discerning visitor to the region. But even then, it didn’t attract the kinds of mainstream crowds or mass-development initiatives that typically ruin once-charming coastal regions.

Chic, secluded and with huge appeal to the more affluent travellers, Tróia boasts no less than 13km of pristine beaches. Not to mention, some of the most captivating countryside, punctuated with pine forests and sand dunes. The fact that Tróia has escaped the trappings of mass-tourism has enabled it to remain one of the single most beautiful coastlines anywhere in the country.

The northern tip of the sandy peninsular is home to the biggest developments – a resort that’s all about sophistication, elegance and exclusivity. Along with a fashionable dining scene and an abundance of bars, there’s also a majestic casino complex right by the marina. And of course, the installation of Tróia Golf – often rated as one of the best courses in Europe – further cemented Tróia’s reputation as an upmarket hideaway for the more discerning visitor to Portugal.

Ease of Access

Recent years in particular have seen accessibility to Tróia come a long way. There’s a frequent and inexpensive ferry service from nearby Setubal, which is in its own right an incredibly enjoyable experience. If you’re lucky, you might even see a few dolphins skipping alongside the boat for a warm welcome you’ll never forget!

Despite having become increasingly popular among day-trippers, you’re never far from your own secluded corner of Tróia. Even at its busiest, a quick walk or bike-ride is all it takes to find a private spot, all to yourself.

Unsurprisingly, those who head to Tróia for a day-trip tend to do so for its beautiful beaches. They are as close to Heaven on Earth as you’ll find anywhere in Portugal, where gleaming white sands meet crystal blues seas with the stunning pine forest as a backdrop. The extensive Roman ruins of Cetobriga are also popular among day-trippers, as is the world-famous Tróia Golf course. Tróia isn’t car-free, but the roads are so quiet and safe they’re ideal for hopping on a bike and enjoying a leisurely cycle up and down the coast.

Tróia for Extended Stays

Day-trips are great, but extended stays in Tróia are even better. There’s a reason both local and international travellers of distinction choose Tróia over and above comparable resorts. For one thing, there’s an air of sophistication and exclusivity about the place, though without the usual stuffiness. High-class dining and entertainment abound, though you don’t tend encounter the same snobbery you’d expect elsewhere.

The main town itself is wonderful for evening walks, the beaches warrant full exploration and there’s always the option of a day-trip to nearby Setubal. The food is incredible, the vistas are breathtaking and the weather remains consistently glorious for most of the year. Some of Tróia’s more prestigious hotels and eateries may be on the expensive side, but they’re nonetheless worth every penny.

The Beaches of Tróia

Tróia is definitely the kind of place that rewards a little exploration and the occasional extended stroll. The peninsula is strewn with truly stunning beaches, but those willing to wander a little can get to indulge in the serenity of seclusion. If you’re into trying various watersports such as kitesurfing, then you may want to check out Kitesurfen Portugal or other similar kitesurfing schools.

Across most of the beaches, the seas are usually far calmer than you’d expect from the rest of the west-facing Portuguese coastline. This is the result of sunken sandbars out to sea, which prevent the bigger waves from reaching the shoreline. Comporta to the south in particular is no less than stunning – incredibly calm, turquoise-blue waters that are simply irresistible.

Most visitors head straight to the northeast of Praia de Tróia, given that this is the closest beach to the town itself and the ferry terminal. As such, it also tends to be the busiest. If looking for a far more tranquil experience, take a stroll to the south side of the Praia do Bico das Lulas, or better still the Praia de Tróia-Galé positioned behind Tróia Golf.

It’s worth noting that while the western coastline has more than a few fabulous beaches to explore, the waters of the Sado Estuary are not suitable for swimming.

Once again, Tróia is all about soaking up a different side to Portugal you cannot and will not experience elsewhere. A region with its own unique history and culture – a true coastal gem that’s not to be overlooked.

Krissy Georgiadis

Written by Krissy Georgiadis

Law graduate and wanderlust sufferer. I like rum and beaches.