This enticing mélange of sand, sun, surf, protected ecosystems, and well-preserved historic towns is much less built up than the better-known Algarve.
Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:
"This region of Portugal has truly preserved its heritage and natural landscape. Although no place with nice weather and beaches can escape development, this area has been well kept and its residents work on keeping it even better."
"After the Algarve, it is a fantastic surprise to visit this coast. Its development has been different. Offers both culture and natural beauty."
"Lovely beaches with evidence of sustainable management practices. Development is being controlled, and new policies reflect environmental values."
"Lacking in tourism organization, so the benefits to the local population are limited."
2014 Traveler Photo Contest
Browse all the submissions and check back for the winning images.