I imagine there is probably an express bus to Setúbal from the centre of Lisbon, but if you really want a sense of getting away from it all, the first leg of the journey should be on the little orange ferry from Praca do Commercio to Cacilhas, watching Lisbon’s terracotta roofed hills fade from sight. From Cacilhas, pick up a bus to Setúbal. I invariably ended up on the local bus zigzaging across the main dual carriageway south to sleepy little villages on either side. Once in Setúbal, head to the old port just down from the centre of town (not the new industrial docks!) where you catch a pontoon car ferry out to the northernmost tip of the Tróia. Once on Tróia, you can either walk round the beach to your right, or cut through the holiday apartment estate – its not scenic but its quicker than walking around the beach and the tip of the peninsula.
Away from the apartment blocks, and on the beach proper, its hard to know what to describe. Quite simply there is nothing, no trees, no dunes, no buildings, no people just a flat expanse of sand. If you shone tropical sunlight on it, as opposed to the different Mediterranean sun, it would look the sand bar islands you see featured in the Caribbean, Great Barrier Reef, or South Pacific. In some respects, its actually quite a lonely place to be on your own (as a lone female). Suitably for an uncommercialized wilderness beach, you will need to bring your own food and water.
Brighton, United Kingdom
April 10, 2002
From journal Lisbon, My Home for a Year