Best beaches in Portugal

Beaches in Portugal are very beautiful; from the wildest of the Atlantic Ocean to the ones of the Algarve, which are more suitable for families.
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Portugal is a country characterised by a stunning coastline and breathtaking beaches; the most popular area for beach lovers is by far the Algarve region, in the south of the country.

However, anywhere along the coast of Portugal there are some beautiful beaches that you should not miss. Portugal’s Atlantic coast is very popular among surfers; there are excellent beaches near Lisbon and Porto, and beyond. The coast extends for about 1700 km, making it impossible not to find the perfect beach for every tourist.

Here come some of the beaches in Portugal you should not miss.

Algarve beaches

It is impossible to talk about all the Algarve beaches in a nutshell. Some of the most popular spots are Praia da Rocha, Altura, Praia do Castelo, Praia do Barril and Praia da Oura.

These beaches are very suitable for families thanks to their warm and calm waters. From these beaches it is possible to go on a boat tour to visit some bays that are accessible only by the sea.

This is the reason why the Algarve region is not only a place for mass tourism, but it is suitable also for those who are looking for secluded corners and bays.

Learn about the best Algarve beaches on this post.

Beaches near Lisbon

Praia do Guincho is located just 5km away from the city of Cascais; it was also featured in a James Bond movie. It is a very popular beach among surfers, thanks to its high waves. This beach gets very busy on summer time, just like the rest of the coast from Cascais to Estoril.

If you wish to find a more isolated beach, go south towards Setùbal and take a catamaran to visit the beautiful Troia peninsula. This peninsula features 18 km of golden sand, and it is the perfect gateway for a relaxing day. This place is also famous for dolphins watching.

Not too far from the peninsula there is the Arràbida National Park, which extends through its lush hills to the sea, with fine sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. From a naturalistic point of view, this is by far one of the most beautiful areas, however it is not suitable for families who are looking for beaches with all the amenities. Here the beaches are small, they can be reached only by car and there are not many services for tourists.

Near the fairy town of Sintra there is Adraga beach, which is also very popular among surfers. Watch the sunset on the beach, have a glass of white wine at Azenhas do Mar, a suggestive restaurant located on a cliff offering a stunning view on the ocean.

Praia de Carcavelos

Praia de Carcavelos is the closest beach to Lisbon. It offers a good mix of amenities for families, waves for surfers, and sun for tan lovers.

The beach can get very crowded during the weekend, as it is very popular among Lisboners. It takes only 15 minutes by train to reach it from Lisbon.

Beaches near Porto

If you are around Porto you can’t miss a visit to the romantic Miramar beach, which is located just 10 km from the city. This beach features a small promontory facing the ocean and a small white chapel, the Capela do Senhor da Pedra.

Praia de Mira is also very popular among tourists; from one side you can see the beach and from the other a lagoon featuring bars and restaurants. In Praia de Mira you can rent a paddle boat or a bike to explore the area.


Praia da Nazaré

The coastal town of Nazaré is located south from Porto, on the way to Lisbon. This charming village is a great choice for your holidays, offering a very beautiful beach and some great waves for surfers. Nazaré became famous for the biggest wave that has ever been surfed: a 30 meters wave! 

Beaches in the Minho region

Located just 2 km south from the charming town of CaminhaFoz de Minho beach is a little gem. It is located on the peninsula where the river Minho ends into the waters of the Atlantic ocean. It is right on the estuary, passing a pine forest, that you can reach Foz de Minho.

In the same region do not miss Cabedelo beach, which is located not too far from Viana do Castelo. The beach can be reached on a short boat ride. It is located on the other side of the river passing through Viana.

Which beach is the right one for you?

We have created a list of the best Portuguese beaches according to their main characteristic; this list could be very long, but below there are just a few ideas to help you planning your itinerary.

Beaches for nature lovers

If you don’t love crowded beaches and prefer to be surrounded by nature, in Portugal you will find many options that meet your needs. Many Portuguese beaches are still wild, surrounded by rocks and cliffs, and crystal clear waters.

Considered one of the best beaches of Europe, Praia da Marinha is a must for those looking for a breathtaking view. Here nature is still wild and untouched. Admire the view from the cliff surrounding the beach, then go down the steep steps leading to the beach and rejuvenate with a bath in a clear sea.

Praia da Marinha, near Carvoeiro

The sandy shore of Praia Dona Ana, with its cliffs and crystal clear waters, is one of the most representative views of the south of Portugal. It can be reached on a half an hour walk from Lagos. Jagged peaks protect the small sandy cove of Praia do Camilo.

A thousand shades of blue, fine white sand and the contrast with the green, lush vegetation around are the main characteristics of Praia do Portinho, located in the Arriba Natural Park.

If you are looking for tranquility, you will certainly find it at Praia da Ilha da Barreta, also known as Ilha Deserta. It is the southernmost point of Portugal and it can only be reached by boat during the summer months. Tranquility and above all discretion are guaranteed at Meco ou do Moinho de Baixo, one of the fist nudist beaches of Portugal.

Beaches within easy reach

Some of the most beautiful beaches of Portugal can only be reached by foot going down hundreds of steep steps. If you think that it can be way too much for you, do not worry: there are many beautiful beaches that can be reached without having to work out that hard!

Praia da Nazaré is by far the most popular beach on the west coast of Portugal, and it can be easily reached as it is located within the urban context of the village of Nazaré. Despite being very popular, one can still admire the elements connected to the maritime tradition such as the typical colourful striped tents and the traditional clothes of local women.

Not far from Vila Nova de Milfontes – a characteristic village featuring an old town with white houses – there is Praia do Farol. This beach has the ocean on one side and the Mira river on the other. It is a very popular beach among kids who love to play in the puddles that form during the low tide periods. If you want to go for a swim, be careful. A safer alternative is the nearby fluvial beach of Praia da Franquia.

Praia da Bordeira can be reached through a paved road from Carrapateira. Also here kids are welcome to play in the puddles, while you will have the chance to take a long walk along the shore.

Beaches where to practice sports

It is funny how a country with such a gentle and romantic landscape like Portugal is also the paradise for athletes seeking adrenaline. Many Portuguese beaches offer the ideal conditions to practice sports like surf, windsurf, kitesurf and bodyboard, which are very popular in this area. It is not a coincidence if Portugal hosts some of the most important international competitions in this field.

One of the most popular beaches for water sports is located within the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, about 9 km from Cascais. Praia do Guincho is a long beach framed within the stunning scenario of the Serra de Sintra on the background.

Strong winds and tall waves make it a popular beach for expert surfers and windsurfers. More suitable for beginner surfers and bodyboarders is the lively Praia da Areia Branca in Lourinhã, a small municipality in the Lisbon district.

Praia do Amado, on the Atlantic coast

Praia de Medão is located near Peniche; here there are perfectly shaped tubular waves, and this is the reason why this beach is also known as Praia de Supertubos.

Also in the most popular and touristic area of the Algarve region you can find some real gems. In order to reach the small and secluded Praia do Beliche you need to get down a hundred steps. It is not really an easy walk if you are carrying a surf board, but the beauty of this beach protected by a 40-meter high cliff will pay back all your efforts. The beach is located along the Costa Vicentina, on the way to Cabo de São Vicente, the southernmost point of Portugal on the Atlantic Ocean.

Not too far from Sagres there is also Praia do Martinhal, a long golden bay with some offshore cliffs forming some small islets. Praia do Amado is a small, charming, sandy cove located on the southern end of the village of Carrapateira. After a day of surfing stay here to admire the beauty of the rocks that protect the bay being embraced by different shades of red at sunset.


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