Runner on the Bay of Seixal near Cubo Cafe – Photo essay dandyvagabonds.com
Seixal, from its bay facing Lisbon. Trust its younger generation to not let that magic boat go by. Seixal is located on the South Bay*, just across the river from Lisbon, a 16-minute ferry ride away. It is also only 35 minutes from Lisbon's airport and has a charming appeal. *The Lisbon South Bay area includes three districts: Almada, Seixal, and Barreiro. These districts are known for their close historic connection to the Tagus River. On this side of the river, you can also find the stunning Praia da Costa Caparica beach, the Arrabida Natural Park, the beach-town Sesimbra, and the city of Setùbal.
The Bay of Seixal. Drone view.
Waiting for his two friends to enjoy the sunset.
To sound like a local, pronounce Seixal as "seichal." For a New Yorker, the South Bay may evoke memories of Brooklyn in the early 2000s. Seixal shares stunning views and sunsets with Williamsburg, embracing Lisbon as if Manhattan. The attention Lisbon is receiving worldwide—foreign investment in Portugal has surged by 24% in 2022—can only stretch the city's housing occupancy so far, especially since most foreigners are looking for housing along the riverside. That's where Seixal plays its joker card, offering a laid-back Southern pace and riverside living. Suave.
In Seixal, any street seems to lead to the Tagus River. Stephanie and Steve, visiting from the U.S., absolutely love Seixal! We randomly met them at Praça Luís de Camões, where they were sipping white wine and an 'imperial' on CBS's terraces—a universe of its own with adorable owners.
Stephanie & Steve, lovebirds, grandparents and voyageurs, love Seixal! Stephanie and Steve live in a charming cottage by the sea in Bethany Beach, Delaware. Steve retired young, seven years ago, and since then, the lovebirds have been traveling across Europe once a year. They have been to Portugal six or seven times, and it seems to have captured their hearts more than France, Italy, or Spain. After exploring London, Paris, and even Lisbon, they both nod in sync and say, "We prefer small towns." Steve compares Seixal to "New Orleans without the hell of Louisiana's sticky weather." The temperature that day was heavenly, 23 degrees Celsius/73.4 Fahrenheit, with a persistent breeze. Why New Orleans? Because Seixal remains genuinely itself, chilled and local, with old blues drifting out of CBS's windows. Stephanie calls Seixal a "hidden gem." Although it's still a secret, the circle of insiders is growing. All signs point to housing expansion on the waterfront. Take the development complex, Upon Bay Mundet, currently under construction. It advertises "109 residential units from studios to three-bedroom apartments, lofts, and duplexes with rooftop access, a restaurant, bar, pool, gym, and sauna." The tagline? "Guaranteed return on investment."
Advert of the development complex. All rights reserved.
View of the complex currently under construction from Cubo Cafe. Around 18:30, a handful of construction workers are leaving the site. No doubt this project alone will change the town's atmosphere. But today, on a weekday, the terrace of the coined "Beer Garden" Cubo Café, right in front of Upon Bay Mundet, has its red Super Bock parasols swaying in the wind, and mostly locals discreetly chatting over honey gold beers. It's worth noting that the trio behind the counter is Portuguese and speaks impeccable English.
Cubo Café, Seixal, on the waterfront with its efficient and welcoming staff members.
Rua Paiva Coelho, we stop at Minimercado Rosinha and speak to Claudia, daughter of the owners. We ask her, "Are the changes in Seixal a good thing?" For Claudia, this economic transformation is bringing a new way of life and an active role to Seixal. She has already transformed herself into a city guide and tells us about its past industries as if an history teacher.
Claudia at Minimercado Rosinha, Rua Paiva Coelho. During the Moorish occupation, the fertile region of Seixal introduced various Mediterranean cultures, such as vineyards, olive groves, and fig trees. In the 14th-15th centuries, the sheltered bay of Seixal was chosen to establish naval shipyards, an industry that expanded during the Age of Discovery and endured over the centuries. At that time, there were over 60 tidal watermills in the area, supplying flour to the city of Lisbon. The tidal watermill in Corroios, which is still functioning, is Seixal's most well-known landmark.
Praça da República, Seixal. Once known primarily for its codfish (the salty bacalhau) and the thriving cork industry, Seixal was relatively unknown outside of Portugal just five years ago. Now, the town is flourishing, attracting tourism and welcoming an international crowd, with some people fully embracing it as their new home. Claudia loves the economic boost and cultural change her homeland is experiencing. If there's someone in Seixal with an entrepreneurial and forward-thinking mindset, it's Bruno Rochart. Slender and agile behind his shades, he navigates between the bars he owns in the plaza with the swagger of a Wall Street hedge-fund kid.
Bruno Rochart here in the family-owned funky CBS. A cult to American memorabilia. It's worth discovering Seixal on a weekday during the sunset hours before too many changes occur. A 16-minute ferry ride from Cais do Sodre will give you an afternoon break from Lisbon's bustling tourist scenes with their rolling suitcases. Here, few cars interrupt the laid-back atmosphere. Kids play freely on Largo de Iglesia, and every tiny street opens up to the river. The wind blows under the skirts and sheets hanging from windows. The silver sun turns the rare silhouettes walking along the bay into shadow play. Seixal represents the best of Southern Europe, with its touch of nostalgia, affordable prices, and warm-hearted people.
If you wish to explore Seixal's beautiful bay, we have just posted two lovely one-bedroom flats available on our short-term market website. Located on Rua Dr. Miguel Bombarda, at the heart of the local riverside life, these small pads behind a lavender-blue facade, are round the corner of Praça da República. A dream location.
Two lovely one bedroom flats on Rua Dr. Miguel Bombarda [blue house]. All photographs: dandyvagabonds.com
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