My hometown of Vila Nova in Portugal is situated on the mouth of the River Mira and was founded in 1485 by King John II. Its location at the mouth of the river means it has been strategically and economically important ever since.

There is a modern statue of Neptune guarding the entrance to the river and, of course, protecting our fishermen.

In 1590 the village was totally ransacked by pirates — which lead to the building of the castle and fortifications. Should you fancy living in the castle — it is currently up for sale with a price tag of around four million euros.

The town today is a curious mix of old and new, with the old clustered around the castle with narrow winding streets and the original church.

The newer town spreads out along the top, with the schools and banks and the main street with restaurants and shops either side. The main revenue is from tourism with a wide variety of hotels, pensions, lodging and villas available. It also retains its tradition of being a fishing port.

It has beautiful beaches and scenery and is surrounded by an area of Natural Beauty which is incorporated in the Nature Park of the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast.

Being on the estuary it also supports its own unique ecosystem with a wide range of marine and bird life.

It is a wonderful place to live — with just enough of what you need for modern life combined with the retention of its old world charm and traditional customs.


  1. All of the coast here has that sea smell …………………… you open the car door and inhale ……………. wonderful !

    1. Fantastic! Does metal rust more easily along the coastline? Do you have to take special precautions to protect machinery and cars and computers?

  2. A lovely depiction of a beautiful country, Nicola — thank you for sharing it. I rather enjoy the vivid photography! 🙂

  3. Dust is more a problem than rust here – yes we have the salt air – but most of the time it is dry not damp. Most agricultural 4X4 s etc have dust filters on the air intakes – my computer gets air blown regularly – although it grates a bit to buy canned air to do it !

    1. I never would’ve guessed dust was more a problem than salt ait. I guess agriculture naturally kicks up dust as a matter of the daily business! SMILE!

      1. agriculture and of course the dirt tracks …………………… I have a whole heat and dust piece in the works – just need a couple of specific photographs – and its been rainy this last week !

        1. We’re in the midst of raining-all-day for a week again, too! Gah! I want the sunshine back!

          Are there more dirt and gravel roads where you live — or more asphalt and concrete roads?

      2. David, I thought the same thing! For whatever reason the pictures put the idea in my head that the air was salty and humid like any other beachy area!

  4. @David – the towna are tarmac and or paved/cobbled – the main roads are tarmac – everything else is dirt road – we currently live on a dirt road ……………. or mud ! it has rained at least once a day here for the last week too – and its going to carry on for a while according to the forecast .

    1. That’s what I thought! My grandfather’s village in the middle of Nebraska has one paved street — the State highway that runs through the middle of town. Everything else is still dirt and gravel. The runoff ditches on the sides of each street are wide and deep.

      Is there any way to dry out the muddy roads around your home on your own?

  5. our track does not have run off ditches and floods regularly. The tarmac roads have concrete prefabricated v shaped ditches which are very effective and the envy of some of my english farmer friends. As to drying out the tracks – we pray for sun and wind and let nature take its course !

    1. Oh, that’s rough, Nicola! I grew up in a land of runoff ditches long before we had a proper storm sewage system in the city. I definitely feel for you — and I’m sure you have good, waterproof boots nearby at all times!

      1. we only have a problem here when it is wind assisted rain …………….. we are implementing drainage at the new house before we move in …………….

  6. @ David – some and some ………… about 60/40 in our favor – but it also includes bringing in another water supply for the shed and the pool we are thinking about.

      1. This is another thing I like about livinghere – there is an element of flexibility in most cases, things may not happen as quickly as you would wish sometimes but you may get something else in lieu !

  7. I love the mix of old and new! I find the church in particular absolutely gorgeous. Religious architecture is something I never tire of– it varies so much from place to place. Minimalist, extravagant, wooden, brick, painted or unpainted… it definitely takes my breath away.

    1. CHurches and sacred places offer some of the best oppotunities for a photographer as we always try to bring out the essence of thespirituality as well as the history of the building and nature of the worshipers.

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