25 Best Beaches in Portugal
By Roxana Fanaru
Roxana is a travel writer in her free time although she is working to transform this passion in a full time job. She takes any chance to travel and discover new places. She lived in six countries so far and explored several more. When she is not traveling or writing, she likes reading, practicing yoga, cooking and watching movies. And of course planning her next trip. Blog:- travelwithneweyes.com
Portugal is quite famous for having some of the most stunning beaches in Europe. Long stretches of sand bustling with people or small hidden spots, crystal clear waters with spectacular rock formations, dramatic cliffs and giant waves. You can find all of this and more along the Atlantic coast of Portugal.
And with 1,794 km of coastline, there are definitely many choices when it comes to beach destinations. From the more famous ones along the Algarve coast to the surfers’ choices close to Lisbon and the less known spots in the Alentejo region or all the way up to Porto, discover a selection of some of the best beaches in Portugal.
Best Beaches in Algarve, Portugal
Praia do Barril
This is said to be the number one beach near Tavira, in the far east side of the Algarve coast. It is mostly known for the Anchor Graveyard, a memorial to a traditional tuna fishing method that no longer exists. Created in the 1960s, the memorial displays dozens of rusty anchors on the sand dunes, although not much is known about how this monument came to life.
Praia do Barril is about 5 kilometers from Tavira and can be reached by car or biking. Bus service is also available until Pedrasd’elRei and from there a small tourist train will get you to the beach. Relax on the fine sand and swim in the calm, clear waters.
Praia da Falésia
About 10 kilometers west of Albufeira, Praia da Falésia is a 7 kilometers long stretch of sand. This long stripe of fine sand is backed by a tall reddish wall made of sand and clay. Its bright warm color contrasts with the green of the scattered vegetation and with the blue of the ocean.
The best thing is that given the length of the beach, you won’t find it extremely crowded, so you can relax and enjoy some privacy. Reach Falésia Beach by bus from the Albufeira bus terminal. There are several rides available throughout the day, especially in summer.
Praia de Albandeira
You might not usually find this one among the best beachesv Algarvein Portugal but it deserves to be here. Praia da Albandeira is a small beach enclosed between the cliffs, near the natural arch of the same name. There are actually two beaches here, divided by a stretch of land extending into the ocean. A few tiny natural pools among the rocks allow you to enjoy slightly warmer water.
On Praia da Albandeira, the cliffs have been carved by the ocean, forming a small cave where you can enjoy some shadow. To the east the cliff extends into the ocean in the shape of a tall arch and creating a small bay with turquoise waters. This is Arco da Albandeira. Unfortunately, this location is quite hard to reach, unless you have a car. You do have a few options by bus from Lagoa, with a few rides throughout the day.
This beach is probably one of the most spectacular must see beaches in southern Portugal and also not extremely crowded compared to others nearby. The reason why it’s not so visited though is that it’s not easily reachable. By public transport, there is a bus that gets there from Lagoa. It takes around 15 minutes but it’s only twice per day.
Before accessing the beach, walk on top of the high limestone cliffs overlooking the clear waters of the Atlantic ocean and stunning rock formations. As you make your way along the narrow paths you’ll find amazing new sights and various viewpoints. There is even a point where, if you look from the right angle, the combination of the cliffs and a natural arch form the shape of a heart. The spot actually got the name of Heart Rocks.
Praia de Benagil
When it comes to the best beaches in southern Algarve Portugal, you will definitely find this little gem among the top choices. The unique cave of Benagil is probably the most visited spot in the Algarve.
The beach is actually separated from the cave that can only be reached via water. There are boat tours available, you can rent a kayak or even paddleboard your way there. The most courageous ones swim over there from the nearby beach, around 200 meters away, although it can be risky depending on the waves. You will probably not want to miss this spot on your holiday in the Algarve. The closest town is Carvoeiro, about 7 kilometers away.
Praia da Rocha
This wide sandy beach near the town of Portimão is yet another popular touristic destination. More than just a beach, Praia da Rocha is a seaside resort, with several hotels, restaurants, bars, and touristic attractions.
This location offers a bit of everything: extensive sandy beach, dramatic limestone cliffs, clear waters, spectacular rock formations, and plenty of social activities. It’s an ideal location for both families and groups, easy to reach from the town of Portimão, well connected to the rest of the Algarve by trains and buses.
Praia Dona Ana
Praia Dona Ana is one of the best beachesin Portugalclose to Lagos, easily reachable by bus or even walking. High limestone cliffs surround this beach and the access is only possible via a few stairways. Once downstairs you will find yourself surrounded by rock formations, limestone walls reflecting the sunlight, and crystal clear waters. You will most likely find it quite crowded in summer months but it’s worth a visit. Just make sure to arrive early in the morning. There are also quite a few hotels within walking distance if you are looking to stay right by the beach.
Praia do Camilo
This is usually a less visited yet top beach in Algarve, Portugal. Like the previous beach, it is enclosed between high golden cliffs, giving it a feel of a hidden piece of heaven.
From the top, the multicolored beach umbrellas give the place a lively look. There is no public transport to get here so you can either walk 15 minutes from Praia Dona Ana or get a taxi or Uber. If you walk, on your way you can enjoy the stunning ocean view from the cliffs so it’s worth it anyway. You can then access the beach by descending around 200 steps down the cliffs.
Praia da Mareta
This is the first beach of the south coast in the Algarve, at the far west end, near the town of Sagres. It’s also one of the biggest beaches in the area, extending for around 800 meters. The beach is flanked by cliffs, enclosing it and protecting it from high waves.
The cliff to the west extends into the ocean to the scenic viewpoint of Cape Sagres and the Fortress of Sagres. On the east side, there is another viewpoint, Ponta da Atalaia. Given the easy access to the beach you might find it quite populated in summer months.
Best Beaches in Alentejo, Portugal
Praia do Brejão
You probably didn’t expect to find the region of Alentejo in a selection of best beaches in Portugal. And it truly isn’t for the beaches that people usually visit this region. Nevertheless, there are some surprisingly beautiful spots along the Costa Vicentina.
Praia da Brejão is also known as Praia da Amália due to the fact that famous fado singer Amália Rodrigues uses to spend time here in her house on the coast. The access to the beach is made quite hard and is only possible by hiking your way down the cliff. This and the fact that the beach is not really famous makes it a good option if you are looking for a more secret spot, away from the crowds.
This beach gets its name from the small island in front of it, Ilha do Pessegueiro. The island is close enough to reach it by swimming but in summer there are also plenty of boats taking visitors there. Back in the Roman times there were settlements on the island of which only some ruins remain nowadays.
Nowadays you can still visit the remains of an ancient fish salting factory. The beach is only three kilometers away from the fishing village of Porto Covo. Nearby there is also a 17th-century fortress and a restaurant, A Ilha.
Best Beaches in Portugal near Lisbon
An endless stretch of white sandy beach with crystal clear water that might as well make you feel like you are on some tropical beach. Tróia is a narrow peninsula in the Setùbal municipality, just one hour away from Lisbon. The peninsula is a beach resort with several hotels and restaurants, casinos and even a golf course considered one of Portugal’s finest.
Tróia can be reached from Setùbal by a short ferry boat trip. But this narrow stretch of land offers more than fine dining and fancy hotels. It used to be a major Roman fish-salting settlement of which there are still some remains you can visit on the eastern side of the peninsula.
Praia da Figueirinha
Praia da Figueirinha is one of the most famous in the Setùbal area and is considered one of the best beaches in Portugal near Lisbon. As for most beaches in the Sesimbra and Setùbal area, public transportation is quite infrequent and limited mostly to the summer months so you might encounter some challenges if you are not traveling by car.
In high season, you might find it quite crowded but the beach is big enough so it doesn’t become overwhelming. The water is usually very calm and transparent. It’s a nice beach for anyone: families with children, elderly people or younger groups. The beach has all the facilities one might need: parasol rental, a café/restaurant and even lifeguard supervision in summer season.
Praia de Galapinhos
Praia de Galapinhos is a relatively small beach, not far from Praia da Figueirinha in direction to Sesimbra. With calm, clear blue waters and plenty of vegetation all around, this has become one of the most famous beaches in Lisbon, Portugal so it can easily become crowded.
As for most beaches in the Arrábida Natural Park, it takes a 10 to 15 minutes hike to reach it. When the tide is low, you can even make your way around the cliff to the nearby Praia dos Coelhos. This is a much smaller but usually less crowded beach. Alternatively, there is also a path in the park to get there so you can easily move and chose the one you like better.
This is a true gem located in the Natural Park of Arrábida. This stone and sand beach is surrounded by the green of the park in the back and transparent waters in front. There are usually boats floating in the little bay and the beach itself is not very crowded. Even though it’s a bit remote there is even a small restaurant where you can enjoy fresh seafood while watching the sun shining on the blue waters. It’s a nice spot for a relaxing day, away from the crowds and only about one hour from Lisbon.
This is probably one of the most scenic beaches close to Lisbon and it has become quite famous lately so it had to be a part of the best beaches in Portugal. While reaching this hidden beach might not be so easy, it is definitely worth it. If you are traveling by car, there is a parking lot on the cliff above but it will take about 20 minutes to hike down the cliffs and reach the shore.
The alternative is to take the boat from Sesimbra and you will get there in less than 10 minutes. The light blue crystalline waters and the scenic rock formations have nothing to envy to the most famous Algarve beaches.
If you are looking for the best beachesnear to Lisbon, Portugalthere is a vast choice all along the Lisbon-Cascais train rail. Only a few train stations away from the most famous beach of Carcavelos, São Pedro do Estoril is a smaller but delightful beach. Mostly frequented by locals, this beach has everything you need.
A sandy seashore enclosed between tall cliffs, clear waters and even a couple of restaurants where you can have lunch, enjoy a drink in the shade or eat refreshing icecream. It might not be the Algarve but it definitely has its charm.
Praia Grande do Guincho
Famous for its strong winds and massive waves, Praia do Guincho is a surfers’ little piece of heaven. Located in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, this vast beach (hence the appropriate name Praia Grande) attracts quite a few visitors. This is not exactly the beach you would go to for sunbathing and chilling on the sand.
The wind makes is so that temperatures don’t get very high, even in summer. So if a family vacation is what you have in mind, there are other better options in the surroundings. But if you’re in searchof a surfing spot, great waves, and dramatic scenery, this might be one of the best surf beaches in Portugal.
Praia da Ursa
If you are looking for a wild and unspoiled beach close to Lisbon, look no further. Just north of Cabo da Roca, Praia da Ursa takes its name from one of the massive rock formations on the north side of the beach, called “Rocha da Ursa” (bear rock).
The access to the beach is quite difficult and it requires walking down the steep valley from the nearest road. It’s quite a spectacular beach, especially when seen from above, with the pointy rock formations towering on one side and the high cliffs all around it.
Praia das Azenhas do Mar
The beach itself is very small but the natural pool with the overall scenery is the main attraction here. It’s even more spectacular if you admire it from the nearby viewpoint, Miradouro das Azenhas do Mar.
The small white houses with red rooftops on the high cliff at the back of the pool give the spot a picturesque and surreal look makes it one of the must see beaches in Southern Potugal. Azenhas do Mar is a town in the municipality of Sintra, within the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. It takes less than an hour by car from Lisbon and just around half an hour from Cascais. Make sure to include this in your itinerary of Sintra Park.
Praia do Baleal, Peniche
Peniche is a small rocky peninsula about one hour and a half north of Lisbon, mostly know for the small archipelago of Berlengas. Baleal is a beach just north of Peniche, mostly frequented by people for windsurfing.
It is separated by the nearby Praia de Dunas by a narrow stretch of land, extending in the ocean toward the small rocky island Ilha de Fora. It offers a variety of coastline and waves for every level, from beginners to expert surfers.
Praia de Ribeirad’Ilhas
Located in Ericeira, a well-known surfers town, Praia de Ribeirad’Il has is the perfect location for this sport. It’s a little further north from the center than other beaches but its location in a valley between cliffs makes it perfect for surfing.
There have even been surfing World Tour championships taking place here. It’s only three kilometers from the more central Praia do Norte or Praia dos Pescadores so you could even walk there. The cliff walk itself offers some stunning ocean views. Add this one to your selection of best surf beaches in Portugal.
Praia do Norte
This beach located in the fishing town of Nazaré made it in the Guinness Book of Records for the biggest waves ever surfed. For this reason alone, this beach had to make it in the selection of the best beaches in Portugal. The waves here are in fact some of the highest breaking waves in the world due to the underwater Nazaré Canyon.
If you’re visiting on a windy day, you can watch the giant waves from the Lighthouse located on the cliff that separates Praia do Norte from Praia da Nazaré. On a calm day, you can enjoy a stroll on the beach, watching the colorful fishing boats drying on the sand and the fish covered in salt, exposed on wooden frames to dry under the sun.
Best Beaches near Porto, Portugal
Dunas de São Jacinto
Not far south of Porto, you can visit the city of Aveiro or the so-called Portuguese Venice. Although Aveiro is more famous for the moliceiros(gondola-looking boats, hence the nickname) than for its beaches, Dunas de São Jacinto is actually a quite famous spot in the area.
The sand dunes are part of the Natural Reserve of São Jacinto, a protected area about 15 kilometers from Aveiro. Many people visit the area for bird watching, mostly between November and February. To get there you can get a bus from Aveiro to Forte da Barra and then a ferry to São Jacinto. Walk around the Natural reserve or relax on the sandy beach.
Praia do Senhor da Pedra
Porto might not be your number one choice, nevertheless, there are quite a few best beaches in Porto, Portugal. The most popular ones are quite close to the city center, where the Douro river flows into the Ocean. Praia do Senhor da Pedra is a bit further away, 14 kilometers south of Porto, not far from Vila Nova de Gaia.
The highlight of this beach is the little chapel build on a cluster of rocks right on the shore. The beach itself is a wide stretch of fine sand but this chapel adds the extra charm that makes it unique.
The official Portugal tourism website contains even more information about the best beaches, transportation, attractions, useful information and much more. Make sure to check it out when planning your trip to Portugal.
Now, these are just a few of the many unique beaches you can find along the Portuguese coast, some more magnificent than others. The best way to find even more impressive spots is to rent a car and drive along the coast, hike through the forest and walk on the cliffs. Guaranteed to find breath-taking views. And check for yourself if these 25 spots deserve to be among the best beaches in Portugal.
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