Updated: Aug 12
Portugal, a country in the South of Europe with a long tradition, history and stunning beaches. While catching a wave on the numerous large lengths of ocean and their famed breaks is easy, especially around the Lisbon Beach area, there are hidden sandy beaches of calm where you'll find, crystal clear blue water for wading in and paddling. From the blazing hot sands of the Algarve to Porto's shoreline, visitors often opt to move up and down the coast to experience the sands all across the country. We will present you some of the best Beaches in Portugal you shouldn't miss on your journey in this beautiful country.
Here are our Top Editors Choice of the best Beaches in Portugal:
Costa da Caparica - Lisbon
Costa da Caparica, a 26km length of shore popular with people who come to the sands during the warmer summer months, is a short drive from the sites of Lisbon. Outside of peak season, it's much quieter - the Portuguese find it too cool (though it's typically perfectly acceptable to most Brits), and visitors haven't quite caught on yet, making April and October great months for a stroll down the soft sands. Swimming is best done during peak season while lifeguards are on duty, as the waves here can be intimidating, even for strong swimmers. If you choose to stay out of the sea, the local surfers catching the big waves and the many trendy beach bars sprinkled around the shore will keep you busy.
Praia do Portinho da Arrábida
Arrábida National Park is less than an hour's drive from Lisbon and features a magnificent scenery of green hills leading to vivid, bright blue waterways. Portinho beach is regarded as one of the most beautiful, thanks to its fine white sand and azure sea - yet it remains relatively peaceful due to its distance from the city. Because the location is less open than most of Portugal's coast, the enormous waves that dominate the coasts are less common; not ideal for surfers, but perfect for people wishing to relax and swim comfortably.
Praia de Moledo - Moledo
Moledo's beach, close to the Spanish border, has been attracting people for over a century with its long stretch of sand, beautiful panoramic vistas of the Camarido Forest, and views across the bay to the hills of Spain. It's perfect for kite surfers because it's frequently windy and has big waves. Eduardo Leal, a photographer from Porto who knows the area well, adds, 'I love Moledo. The surf is good, and the environment is beautiful. Except until August, when it can get crowded, it's a quiet and peaceful beach.'
Portinho da Arrabida - Sierra da Arrabida, Setubal
About 30 minutes from Lisbon away in the Serra da Arrabida national park, the cove of Portinho is surrounded on three sides by huge, forest-covered mountains (and, of course, on the fourth by the sea). The sandy beach, softly lapping waves, and lots of rock pools to discover at low tide make it ideal for families. There are pedalos for hire, some with slides, as well as a limited selection of eateries and cafés. The beach is popular, and parking is restricted, so arrive very early in the summer if you don't want to walk down the steep road.
Praia de São Jacinto - Aveiro - one of the best Beaches in Portugal
Praia do So Jacinto's lengthy stretch of sand provides an escape, surrounded by dunes and a nature reserve. There are no cafés or restaurants, the waves are wonderful for surfing, and the seemingly infinite expanse of beach, ideal for long strolls, seems pleasingly wild and deserted: bring a book, turn off your phone, and appreciate the sound of the waves. Taking a boat across the river from Aveiro is the quickest and easiest way to get there.
Praia do Carvalhal - Comporta
Comporta, about an hour's drive south of Lisbon, has grown popular with the capital's fashionable families, and Carvalhal, with its very long stretch of white sand facing the blue sea, is their preferred beach. There are also umbrellas and sun loungers for rent, a massage tent, and a tiny library with books for all ages and of course the daily Portuguese newspapers to read on the rustic patio. Restaurant Diniz, managed by a retired fisherman, is nearby and noted for its superb fish dishes and relaxed barefoot atmosphere.
Praia da Cordoama - Sagres
In the west of the Algarve is Praia da Cordoama, which is close to Vila do Bispo and offers miles of beautiful sandy beach. The high waves attract numerous surfers all year round.
The beach is in a beautiful location and is ideal for surfers and body boarders. However, it is possible to have incredible fun in the waves! During the transitions between high and low tide, there is an area with shallow water where even small children can have fun.
Praia da Adraga - Sintra
Praia da Adraga is a beach located just north of Lisbon at the foot of the forested Sintra hills. Its sandy portions are intermingled with boulders, and the beach is surrounded by high cliffs that provide needed shade during the summer. The wild Atlantic ocean produces a lot of waves, making it famous among surfers. A little café overlooking the sea provides fish and shellfish, and if you're feeling adventurous, you can climb along the cliff top after lunch to Cabo da Roca, Europe's westernmost point.
Praia do Barril - Tavira
The nicest beaches in Portugal are unquestionably stunning, but the Atlantic water that surrounds them can be frigid at times. Tavira, near the Spanish border, is your best chance for warmer bathing, and Praia do Barril is a family favorite, with vast lengths of white sand backed by dunes and quiet, clear water. The many anchors that embellish the beach and the former fishermen's huts that have been turned to cafés are evidence of the area's fishing past.
Praia da Baleeira - Serra da Azoia
The sea that borders Portugal's Costa Azul ('Blue Coast') definitely lives up to its name, standing out in stark contrast to the white rockface. This tiny bay, hidden along the south coast among wild rosemary and clifftops, is an unspoiled gem excellent for skinny-dipping. Because of its tiny shape and steep descent, it remains unnoticed despite being surrounded by cliffs on all sides. The untamed slopes of the Setbal Peninsula fall away to the blazing blue sea here, making this cape ideal for the daring beach hunter. The famed 18th-century Cabo Espichel Lighthouse and nearby Nossa Senhora do Cabo church are well worth a visit, as are the 145-million-year-old dinosaur tracks that race up the cliffside.
Praia da Franquia - Vila Nova de Milfontes
This secluded beach is located on the sandy banks of the Mira river as it flows into the sea. Vila Nova de Milfontes, an ancient fishing community, is located a bit further inland. The river meanders significantly before reaching the sea, and the beach is shielded from the more powerful surf further out. Canoe up the Mira river or dine in the village on some of the best fish dishes in the Alentejo region. Restaurante Porto das Barcas serves excellent arroz de peixe, or fish rice cooked in a clay pot.
Praia do Carvalho - Benagil
The Algarve coast can get crowded in high season, but Praia do Cavalho is a lovely sandy cove that is rarely crowded. The golden beach is flanked by sandstone cliffs, and the sea is squeezed between them like a sapphire shard. The entrance is via a tunnel with sandstone steps. Come at low tide to relax on the sand and explore the cliffside, which is studded with caverns and tunnels. The surf swirls and surges into the caves during high tide, shooting spray out through blowholes in the cliff walkway. Benagil is well-known for its marine caverns.
Ribeira das Tainhas - São Miguel, Azores
The Açores Islands (also known as the Azores) were formed by elemental force explosions. Their black sand beaches, pumice stone cliffs, crater lagoons, and lava-warmed pools are visible remnants of their wild, volcanic history today. Ribeira das Tainhas is a little black sand beach nestled between grassy cliffs. A pumice stone outcrop with rough ledges within easy swimming distance is ideal for climbing up and jumping into the beautiful blue water.
Praia da Arrifana - Aljezur
This sandy beach is protected by massive orange sandstone cliffs dropping down to the sea at the Algarve end of the Costa Vicentina. Surfers love to tackle the waves with some body surfing. In the evening, the cliffs offer views of the sunset over the Atlantic, and there is a good local restaurant serving fresh fish. The Aljezur and Rota Vicentina seaside trails wind their way over the cliffs. Burros e Artes can arrange local donkey treks.
Berlengas Archipelago - Peniche
Set sail from the Peniche coast to this enigmatic archipelago, which is only 10-15km offshore via boat. The largest of these islands is Berlenga Grande. While hundreds of seagulls whirl and caw overhead, pink sandstone and green grass slide down to the water's edge. An intriguing 16th-century stronghold erected on the monastic remnants of a rocky island is accessible via a zigzagging bridge out across rocks or a short swim. There are a few lovely tiny beaches nearby, and caverns with fish can be reached by swimming, paddleboarding, or kayaking. Cova do Sonho is one of several caves illuminated by the turquoise water.
Praia de Cavaleiro - Odemira, Costa Vicentina
The Costa Vicentina, which has been inhabited since prehistoric times, has piqued the interest of intrepid travelers throughout history. As one of Europe's most western regions, this was frequently the last beach sailors saw before setting sail for other lands and the first to emerge upon their return. Praia de Cavaleiro is one of the area's many secluded beaches, with impressive strata rock formations.
A goat path with a wooden handrail leads down to the sands, where waves crash and seagulls chase the tide, sheltered from the Atlantic breezes. Come here in the spring to witness storks constructing their nests. Many of the trails used by fishermen and smugglers wind their way along the shore, and the Rota Vicentina, which spans 400 kilometers, connects many of them. Cabo Sardo, the Alentejo region's most westerly promontory, is a 2-kilometer walk south.
Ilha da Fuseta - Faro
Between the Ria Formosa and the open sea, the eastern Algarve's coastline says goodbye to cliffs and caves and welcome to 60km of lagoons, sun-drenched dunes, and sandy islands. The most picturesque of these sandy islands is Ilha da Fuseta, which is protected by a little inlet (known as a barra). You can walk across the sand to the island during low tide. There are numerous shallow pools with warm water ideal for youngsters, as well as colorful fishing boats moored nearby. The tidal marshes of the Ria Formosa Natural Park are only inland, so keep an eye out for hundreds of pink flamingos that congregate around these salt marshes.