THERE is a little corner of Portugal that has been thrust into the spotlight by British royals.
Melides, on the Alentejo coast, about 130 km south of Lisbon, is the hidden gem where Prince Harry and Meghan stopped off for a ‘romantic’ break after attending the Invictus games in Germany.
There they are said to have met up with Harry’s cousin Princess Eugenie at her home on the Atlantic coast.
Surrounded by rolling rice fields, azure waters, and pristine beaches, the town is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Harry and Meghan could enjoy activities such as hiking, biking, horse riding, and watersports. And if they fancied a bit of unspoilt nature, the nearby Santo Andre nature reserve is home to more than 240 bird species and hundreds of kinds of butterflies.
Melides is undergoing a transformation with the arrival of new hotels and resorts – this summer, fashion designer Christian Louboutin’s long-awaited Hotel Vermelho finally opened in the heart of the village.
Apart from British royals, also spotted in the town have been designer Phillipe Starck, Italian countess Noemi Marone Cinzano, actress Kristin Scott Thomas, George Clooney and Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen who has a house nearby.
Unlike its more well-known neighbor, Comporta, Melides has a laid-back and unpretentious atmosphere, attracting artists and visitors who appreciate its authenticity. The village remains a place frequented mainly by locals, despite the influx of high-profile residents.
And the town punches well above its weight when it comes to dining options. Visitors can enjoy a tasty oceanside lunch at Lagoa O Mar on the Melides beach, where they can savour dishes like Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato (clams in garlic, olive oil, and white-wine sauce) and fresh grilled sardines, alongside a host of regional dishes featuring the local pork and stews.
While Melides is becoming one of the most coveted destinations in the world – it has done so at a price.
Property values for up-market homes shot up a jaw-dropping 150% in the first quarter of 2023. So if you want to move to this little corner of paradise, either do it soon, or win the lottery.