My grandfather Fernando dreamed of building a guest house in an abandoned land in front of his home in Porto Covo. The location, above Praia dos Pescadores with a view to Ilha do Pessegueiro, was too beautiful not to be seen by everyone. All his life, this was his project. He tried to make it happen for many years but without succeeding.
His wish crossed generations, and after my father gave it a shot, it was my turn to try. I couldn’t let this dream die and, with the help of my wife Inês and the whole family, O Lugar was born.
Just considering its history, it’s hard not to think of this place as an inspiration that took many years to take shape and that finally is welcoming people from all over the world. The fact that this was my grandfather’s dream influences our business concept a lot. We want everyone to feel good here, at peace, to feel they’re welcomed and, above all, that they’re safe in the company of locals.
We want them to fall in love with Porto Covo and discover the beauty of this place. Just like it happened to my grandfather when he first arrived here, in 1964.
I spent my childhood and teenage years by the ocean or at my parents’ bakery. Right in front of O Lugar, Padaria Raúl Marta & CA is still a place of reference to taste bread in the area, over 50 years later. I’m biased because I know all the recipes by heart, but here you’ll find high-quality products made with a lot of love.
Our story and mission
My story doesn’t start without my grandfather’s. He was born and raised in Coimbra but ended up in Porto Covo by chance. The moment he arrived, he began to establish a relationship with those who better knew the place: fishermen. He sold groceries on the streets and always opened a tab for fishermen in the Winter. Just like that, with trust and comradery, he became “a local”. He lived at 25 de Abril Street, and the family grew at the same time more houses were built in the narrow and steep street. His dream was to build a guesthouse in front of his house, and fortunately, this is when I become part of the story, as his youngest grandchild.
I respect my family history very much. I know how hard they worked to have what they have now. I feel responsible for helping and keeping up what they built.
I was born in Porto Covo and lived here until I was 17. I studied between here and Sines, and that’s how I developed the strong roots I still have today. Although I moved to Lisbon later, where I still work as a radiologist, I spent all my weekends and holidays here. I always worked with my parents, at the bakery, and I never lost this connection to the land and the people, so I believe I have the mission to safeguard and preserve what my parents built, as well as contribute with a breath of fresh air in Porto Covo.
A safe harbour
The beach is always the star of this region. I always surfed and even entered competitions for a few years, and I always had a strong connection with the ocean. Just like everyone else who was born and raised here. In the Summer, while our parents were working, we played a lot on the streets and with the fishermen who watched over us. We went fishing with them, made boats with Styrofoam, raced, and there was the tradition of learning to swim when we were six years old at the Porto Covo bay.
I confess I have some beaches that are more special to me than others, for the memories and the time I spent there. Aivados beach is the prettiest, the wildest, and has the best waves.
The village is charming, especially the plaza and the Marquês de Pombal square, with a very Portuguese design and architecture specific to the region. It’s a small and cosy village that was built around its centre, facing the ocean. We’re very friendly and hospitable. Everyone knows everyone, and we have the best to offer to people visiting us. Especially if you’re looking for quiet, calm, and tranquillity.
Most people in Portugal know about the Rui Veloso song that talks about that place Porto Covo. Most of them know the words by heart. But what about the meaning?
The truth is that the parish of Porto Covo, because of its size and the number of services and people, can’t be called a village, nor a town, nor a city. So it’s a place. This unique trait led us to name my grandfather’s dream house “the place” (O Lugar). It couldn’t have a more special meaning and story.