Praia de Mira is a holiday resort and fishing village on the Atlantic coast of Portugal.
It is very popular with the Portuguese from mid July until end August. At these times it is almost impossible to find a room and everwhere is very busy. Out of these times it is a dream place.
We discovered it in the 1990s and have returned most years since and now have some wonderful friends there.
There are not many hotels there but lots of aparments and rooms to rent at reasonable prices. We always return to the Canadian Star, which is situated overlooking the lagoon and not the ocean.
This is run by Jose and Lena, who originated in Praia de Mira but spent 20 years living and working in Canada - as many Portuguese people do. Of course they speak English.
The Canadian Star is a Portuguese restaurant with rooms above (about 18 of various sizes). Most or all of the rooms have a bathroom and toilet and are simple but nicely furnished. Prices are very reasonable by UK standards. Out of the season (June / September) we paid less than €40 for one of the nicest double rooms overlooking the lagoon. This includes a simple breakfast.
The restaurant serves traditional Portuguese food. Simple but wonderful. Lots of fresh fish dishes and simple chicken, port and beef dishes. Lena is the cook and Jose runs the restaurant.
When we first came long ago we stayed in the Macerica hotel and ate in several restaurants but since finding the Canadian Star we have always returned there! We are not the only ones who return time after time. If you go tell them that John and Mary mentioned them.
The Canadian Star is situated about 250 metres from the (wonderful) beach but on the other side of the dunes and overlooking the large freshwater lake / lagoon. The dunes are mostly built on here. The views from the restaurant or front rooms are lovely.
The rooms are reasonably sized, well furnished and with bath/shower and WC. They all have TV but not international channels.
The food is superb. Lots of fish dishes, often grilled on the BBQ. Sardines, Carapau, Lulas (squid) - my favourite but you have to get used to the idea and eat them a couple of times before you forget what they are! Main dishes are served with salad (which off season comes from the garden) and chips, boiled potatoes or rice, depending upon the dish chosen. though you can always ask for one of the others. Meat dishes include Febras, thinly cut and hammered pork, Frango assado (grilled chicken) or Bife, tender thin beef.
All of the above are between €7 and 10. The soup is super too. Vegetable of fish.
After arriving in Praia de Mira during the afternoon, we took a slow drive around the almost deserted streets looking for possible places to spend the night. We had pre-booked various accommodations throughout the country before leaving Canada and had been using them without problems up till this point. However, after spending the past few nights in larger towns like Evora, Castelo Branco, Guarda and finally Lamego, we decided to change our plans. Instead of going to Porto and Leiria we decided to cancel those reservations and head for some small out of the way places on the western Atlantic coastline as we made our way back to Lisbon.
Most of the residencials that we saw looked quite seedy but, suddenly the very bright and cheery-looking Macarico hove into view.
With its orange paint, dark shutters and small balconies overlooking the beach, we were immediately drawn to this place. The lady who was running it said she had many of her 18 rooms available, and for 40 Euros (US$53) we were immediately shown up to one of the second story ones overlooking the ocean.
It was nice to be able to sit out on our balcony at the table and chair set enjoying the view and sipping some wine both before and after we had our evening meal.
There were a couple of small problems - the spare pillows in Portugal are kept in a separate closet and the one we had to use reeked of mothballs. Also, the next morning there was zero hot water available for a shower - just a trickle coming from the tap. That was the only problem we experienced like that on our whole trip. It was also a bit disappointing to have some sort of mix for orange juice in the morning instead of the real thing served by most other places on our trip.
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