January 20, 2018 at 6:42 am

Guide to some of the best beaches in Portugal

Guide to some of the best beaches in Portugal

It’s summer so we imagine that if you’re coming to Portugal you’d need some help in finding some of the best beaches in Portugal to set your foot in for a cerveja. The other day we were approached by an Austrian couple in the metro, asking to recommend a good beach they could go to (needless to say we ended up joining them). We assume that there are more travellers out there looking for the same answer. Whether you’re in Portugal for just a week or more, the settings below will help you pick one beach destination.

Without wanting to spoil any surprise, we’d though like to tell you that the water here is not what one calls pleasant to swim (you can’t have them all..). Remember it’s the Atlantic Ocean we’re talking about, so for now let’s just say it’s around 15-17º. Yet, it can reach 22º in some days. If you’re brave enough (or coming from a Scandinavian country) jumping in would come natural. Something to reflect upon: swimming in the Atlantic Ocean is not like swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. It takes courage, therefore you could truly pride yourself with such an act.

During the first year in Portugal, I (the foreigner in the house) was amazed by the variety of wonderful beaches one can stumble upon. Anyhow, we don’t want you to take one year to discover these breathtaking settings. In fact, we would love to guide you through the best beaches to enjoy the sun, the breeze, a cerveja, some caracois and maybe some swimming.

These are barely a few suggestions we have put together from our journeys across the country. For this reason this article is unfinished and will stay like that until we’ll have explored everything. You must always keep in mind that Portugal is a tiny territory, therefore renting a car and driving around is the ideal way to discover some of its beauties in short time.

NB! This blog post requires some serious (but fun) scrolling-down…



Perfect to daydream, this peninsula takes you far away, to never-ending lands and seas.

Sesimbra – Praia da California

Being a fishermen’s town, it hosts the best restaurants to eat fresh fish and seafood. A beautiful place to spend a weekend.

Sesimbra – Praia do Meco/ Praia do Moinho de Baixo 

We could stay at Praia do Meco forever. That’s why we come back over and over again. And when the sun sets is even more unbelievable. You can climb the nearby cliffs, take loads of pictures and close the day (if you’re lucky) with a spectacular view: a dolphin family playing in the far…

Lourinhã – Praia da Areia Branca

As the name suggests, Areia Branca = White Sand, is a beach where the sand invites you to rest until the sun sets. A friend once said that it looks like the Pacific Coast.

Cascais – Praia do Guincho

Recognized for being a great place to surf/windsurf/kitesurf, but also to lay down and observe the restlessness of the ocean.

Nazare – Praia de Nazaré & Praia do Norte

A fishing town in the North of Portugal, recently known as a pre-eminent big wave surfing spot where the surfer, Garrett McNamara, set a world record by surfing a massive 30m wave.

Click here to see what is so special about Nazaré.

 Porto Covo – Praia do Sissal 

An isolated beach near a camping spot. Recommended especially if you plan to spend some quiet time with friends or family.

Algarve, Portimão – Praia da Rocha

Algarve, with its deserted beaches, hot days and clear nights, made a big impression on us especially with Praia da Rocha (The Rock Beach). Our next Algarve destination: Lagos.

Arrábida – Praia de Albarquel

Turn on the relax mood, bring your family and dog, and enjoy this uncrowded spot with calm water and clean beach.

Arrábida – Portinho da Arrábida

Situated next to the natural park of Serra da Arrábida, this oasis leaves you open-mouthed as the car slowly approaches the sea. Beware that in the week-end it becomes overcrowded, so there’s a high chance that in the evening you will get stuck in a painful traffic congestion while trying to get out of the parking area. Still, it’s all the way worthwhile..

Arrábida – Praia dos Coelhos

Much has been talked on the internet about this new oasis, which in fact is quite old for the fishermen, so we had to check it for ourselves. It is a beautiful rocky beach, not that easy to reach, but we came at a time when it was too crowded to enjoy its quiet isolation.

Sintra – Praia de Adraga

If you’re up for Sintra, then you should make a stop here. Pretty windy, but pretty most of all. With high rocks, agitated sea, seagulls, Adraga is a great choice for a peaceful afternoon listening to the wind and the waves…

Sintra – Praia do Magoito

So much sandy area to stare at! And the landscape from above just takes your breath away. It is also a good beach for surfing as you may see in the pictures. What is most impressive here is the extensive sandy shore with the WOW consolidated dune that looks like a golden honeycomb.

Sintra – Praia das Azenhas do Mar

We’re just speechless. Seriously, who would have thought there’s a natural infinity pool next to Lisbon?

Comporta – Praia da Comporta

Located on the Troia Peninsula, this place could be a desert escape in late autumn. The long white isle welcomes you with palm umbrellas, sun loungers and two beach cafes, where people lie on hot-pink bean bags, nodding to chilled-out tunes, all of which install a feeling of quietness and peace. The water here is usually warmer, and it was our luck to catch 22 degrees water temperature, playing with the rackets and swimming until late in the evening. 

Comporta – Praia de Carvalhal

So much blue and perfect light for the human eye to absorb 🙂

Ericeira – Praia do Sul

Are you a surfer? Or looking for a surfing camp not far away from Lisbon? Perhaps you’re dying to eat some fresh fish? Ericeira is the resort to be. Numerous beaches, windy, big waves, fish and seafood.

Ericeira – Praia da Calada

Ericeira – Praia do Matadouro

Peniche – Praia do Baleal 

Peniche is perfect to surf, eat fresh fish and go to the Baleal peninsula to enjoy the beach and walk around the narrow streets.

…there are so many more best beaches in Portugal left to discover!

What was the seaside area you liked most?

By the way, if you want to go on the Lisbon coast, we wrote about two of its most beautiful beaches here: How to spend a good Sunday afternoon near Lisbon

If you’re planning to visit Portugal soon, feel welcome to ask us any question about any place in particular and we’d be happy to help you out with more recommendations.

See also: 2 Secluded Beaches In portugal You Need To Check Right Now

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19 thoughts on “Guide to some of the best beaches in Portugal

  1. All the “Bandeira Azul” (recommended beaches from Portuguese Tourism Institute) were included in the heat app. This app can be used with an internet browser (Chrome or Safari) or be freely downloaded for iOS and Android at http://www.heat-app.com.

    Full list of the Portuguese beaches included:
    – Portugal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJDmMhrLUng
    – Açores Islands: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9ooageJ9L4
    – Madeira Island: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVBBFTXkbIo

  2. Christine says:

    Thanks a lot for your suggestions, Where Two Go To 🙂 Much appreciated

  3. Christine says:

    How about Albufeira? Someone recommended the place to me. We’ve booked the flights but don’t have accomodation yet! Been looking for hotels in Albufeira but haven’t decided yet where exactly.I’ve a 20-mo old daughter so am looking for a place near a beach that would be suitable for the baby.Any other suggestions, please?

    1. Hello Christine! Albufeira is also nice, but very touristic, that is, very crowded during season. However, the beaches are easily accessible and close to the city, which I guess it’s ok if you’re with the baby. Have you tried to search accommodation with Airbnb https://www.airbnb.com/?

      1. Christine says:

        Thanks lecoffeecup 🙂 What other places in algarve that you could recommend which would be not too crowded? I haven’t checked yet the airbnb website for the accommodation.We’ll be flying to Portugal (Faro airport) at the end of September 🙂

        1. Christine, I guess it’s the time of the year where everywhere can get pretty crowded. We’ve just heard that in Albufeira there is a mosquito plague which we’re not sure how long it’s gonna last. You should definitely try Portimão and Lagos resorts.

  4. Diane says:

    You missed a few good ones! Also try Baleal, Adraga, Obidos lagoon

    1. Thank you for your great recommendations, Diane! We missed them, but the article is also unfinished 😉 we’re heading to Adraga this weekend 😀

    2. Neves says:

      Areia Branca Better than Peniche & Baleal? It’s a joke??

      1. The intention is not to make a ranking but to list the best beaches in Portugal 🙂

  5. Claudine says:

    Been to Praia de Rocha last week only and it was amazing. Love the place and the view. Will come and visit again next time.

    1. Claudine, glad we’re in the same boat! We were there in off-season and it was so serene… You should also try the Lagos beaches next time! 🙂

  6. It would have to be my home town of Baleal!

    1. Yes, we were there. Pictures coming up soon! 🙂

  7. These beaches all look so amazing! It would be impossible to choose just one… lol. 🙂

    1. You’re right! that’s why we decided to try them all! 🙂 but if the time you have in Portugal is short, you can pick from a palette of creme-de-la-creme options, as there are so maaany more beaches everywhere…Amy, let us know when you’re planning to visit Portugal 🙂

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