A long coastline where all the beaches have white, fine sand, a long summer and many hours of sunshine throughout the year make Portugal a natural holiday destination. Bellow you will find Top 20 best beaches in Portugal
Reviews and reports in the international media frequently recognize the quality and beauty of Portuguese beaches. It’s no coincidence that 298 of our beaches have been awarded Europe’s Blue Flag!
We know it’s not easy to choose one, because the variety is so great and the scenery changes along the coast, but here we mention some of the best beaches.
Top 20 best beaches in Portugal
This stunning beach is probably best known for its appearance in the opening scene of the 1969 James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, featuring Aussie Bond George Lazenby. George pulls up in his Aston Martin, only to spy Diana Rigg wandering into the sea in an apparent suicide bid. Naturally, he dives in to save her, only to find himself fending off two hoodlums using nothing but a handy anchor and a fishing net. Because, you know, that’s what Bond does.
Being housed in a nature reserve, the beach has changed little since 1969, although you’re unlikely to find any secret agents or henchmen running about these days. You will find some excellent seafood restaurants, however, and the rolling waves and stiff breeze make this a hot spot for surfing (the World Windsurfing Championships are often held here). The nearest town is Cascais, about 5 km away, which is a popular vacation spot for both Portuguese and foreign tourists.
Top 20 best beaches in Portugal – Adraga (Sintra).
This is the one for romantic sunsets. Take a stroll along the shore and sink into your loved one’s arms as you watch the orange sun plunge into the Atlantic waves, which crash against the formidable, jagged rocks offshore. Then head off to the renowned seafood restaurant tucked under the cliffs to get bladdered while eating clams. The nearest town is Almoçageme, which is around 40 km from Lisbon.
Video Ursa beach
Тop 20 best beaches in Portugal – Costa da Caparica beach (Setúbal).
The Costa da Caparica to the south of Lisbon has nearly 30 km of calm water and sandy beaches. It is popular with city-dwellers and the beaches can get crowded during the summer and at weekends. Nevertheless, the calm sea and large sweeps of sand lend an air of Rio de Janeiro and there are plenty of bars and restaurants in which to sip a cool drink during the midday sun. Caparica itself is a fishing village with brightly coloured sardine boats moored offshore and there is an open-carriage railway running along the coast linking the beaches. The coast can also be reached via the Ponte 25 de Abril, the suspension bridge from Lisbon.
Carcavelos beach (Cascais).
The Praia de Carcavelos beach is the Lisbon’s coastlines most popular beach, in part due to the close proximity of the capital. Carcavelos beach is renowned for its reliable surf, soft golden sands and great facilities but expect it to be busy at the weekends especially during the summer holiday months.
Generally Carcavelos is recommended as the first beach to visit while on holiday to Lisbon due to the excellent public transport connections. This guide will provide an overview of the beach, details of the facilities and how to travel to the beach from Lisbon, Cascais and Estoril.
Portinho da Arrábida (Setúbal).
Located within the Serra da Arrábida Natural Park, Portinho Beach is deemed one of the prettiest in all of Portugal. Its fine white sands and the various tones of blue of these clear waters contrast with the deep greens of the hills to create a beautiful scenario that is perfect for contemplative relaxation.
This calm bay is good for diving to enjoy the diverse marine life although fishing itself is forbidden given that the seabed itself is included in the Natural Park’s protected area.
Rocha beach (The Algarve).
The Algarve is the best-known stretch of Portugal’s coast, with Albufeira and Vilamoura among the area’s favourite resorts. Its beaches of white sand lapped by calm turquoise waters are hugely popular. But it is still possible to find some less visited and relatively quiet beaches. Praia da Rocha is a good example, located east of Lagos, near Portimão. The sandy beach is backed by remarkable ochre cliffs.
Marinha beach (The Algarve).
Praia da Marinha is one of the most emblematic and beautiful beaches of Portugal, located on the Atlantic coast in Algarve, and considered by the Michelin Guide as one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in Europe and as one of the 100 most beautiful beaches in the world. In 1998, it was also awarded with the distinguished “Golden Beach” award by the Portuguese Ministry of the Environment because of its outstanding natural qualities. Furthermore, many pictures of this beach have often been used in promotional material and “Guides of Portugal” distributed around the world.
This beach is not only famous for its beautiful cliffs, but also for the high quality of the water. Marinha Beach has often been used by international advertising agencies and by television producers in advertising campaigns.
In 2015, the Marinha Beach was officially classified as one of the best destinations in Europe by the European Best Destinations / EDEN European Destinations of Excellence.
Meia beach (Lagos).
Meia Praia – a Blue Flag beach – is one of the longest beaches in the Algarve, stretching for an impressive 4.5 km. That means that even in the height of season there is room for everybody and then some. The beach starts on the Eastern side of Lagos and runs right over to the Ria de Alvor and Alvor beach, forming a huge natural bay.
Meia Praia beach is well served with plenty of snack bars and restaurants that are open all day long and into the evening. The western end of the beach offers a good selection of water sports during the summer season. You can almost always find surfers and body boarders in the waters here. The eastern end of the beach is quieter and popular with naturists.
The vastness of the horizon, the fantastic quality of the water and the wonderful views make Meia Praia a wonderful beach to visit.
Canto Marinho (Viana do Castelo).
In the Canto Marinho Beach all the seaside is dominated by rocks that are visible through tides.
Due to its wild ambiance and look, this is one of the best preserved beaches of the region, presenting wonderful environmental jewels.
This is not the best beach for swims, due to the rocky area, yet it is a perfect beach for leisure moments and nature contemplation.
Nazaré beach (Nazaré, Leiria).
Nazaré beach, with its mild climate and natural beauty, has one of the most ancient traditions connected to fishing in Portugal.
The long sandy half-moon shaped beach, which is also the town’s sea front, is known for its grandeur and for the brightly-coloured awnings that decorate the white sandy beaches, contrasting with the blue of the water.
The resort town of Peniche is in a stunning location on a peninsula thrusting out into the Atlantic ocean, around 100 km north of Lisbon. The wonderfully long beach is a popular spot for surfing, and the walled town of Peniche is a great place for soaking up some of the local history. Peniche is also a fantastic jumping off point for a visit to the Berlengas archipelago, a nature reserve chock full of seabirds and other wildlife.
Тop 20 best beaches in Portugal – Ribeira D’ilhas (Ericeira).
Located around 3.5 kilometres from Ericeira and right by the river mouth that provides its name, Ribeira d’ Ilhas Beach is considered one of the best in Europe for both surfing and bodyboarding. Since 1985, it has annually hosted one of the world surfing championship events.
Enclosed by the steep slopes of the valley, the Beach is also home to a number of bars creating a more upbeat ambience.
Тop 20 best beaches in Portugal – Odeceixe (Aljezur).
Odeceixe is a big sandy beach that is popular with surfers. The break around the river mouth can be especially good. At the northern end there are steep, sheer cliffs. At the far southern end is a small cove (Praia de Adegas) which is a designated nudist beach.
Odeceixe beach is about 4 km (3 miles) from Odeceixe village and during the summer months a ‘road-train’ runs between them. However, it isn’t much faster than walking, and it’s a lovely walk down to the coast.
This is a Blue Flag beach so there are plenty of facilities including a clutch of beachside shops and cafés.
The beach is also part of the Vicentine Coast Natural Park.
Тop 20 best beaches in Portugal – Dona Ana (Lagos).
Praia da Dona Ana beach is regarded as the most picturesque beach of the Algarve region. The small cove is bound by steep colourful strata cliffs, while the golden sands are lapped by the crystal clear waters – simply put, the Praia da Dona Ana is stunning. Dona Ana beach is within walking distance of central Lagos and makes for an ideal location to spend a day relaxing.
Dona Ana beach offers visitors clean and calm seawaters, beautiful short walks around the golden cliffs and a range of good cafés situated at the top of the cliff. All considered, Praia da Dona Ana is possibly the best all-round beach in Lagos, but unfortunately it can get very busy at the weekends.
Video Lagos Beach
Тop 20 best beaches in Portugal – Falésia (Albufeira).
Falésia beach is one of the longest in the Algarve with a stretch of more than 6km of golden sands. Located between Vilamoura and Albufeira, it is a popular spot for families and resort visitors in the summer.The sand banks have a gentle slope to the water and there are plenty of beach restaurants, facilities and lifeguards during the busier summer season.
Apart from enjoying the waves it is also possible to take a long walk or bike ride along a coastal path that runs through scenic villages such as Olhos de Agua and Açoteias and across the top of the cliffs which are dotted with pine forests.
Тop 20 best beaches in Portugal – Porto Moniz (Madeira).
A stunning Oasis: small islands, made by black lava rocks, invite you to lay down and catch some sun. A sole concrete barrier has transformed this paradise on water into the famous natural swimming pools of Porto Moniz and protects visitors from the fierce waves of the Atlantic. At the beach complex there is a restaurant, changing rooms and showers.
Тop 20 best beaches in Portugal – Ilheu Vila Franca (The Azores).
A natural pool, located in the crater of a volcano boasting transparent waters, allows visitors to discover the mysterious underwater world of this beautiful nature reserve. Welcome to the Islet of Vila Franca, a paradise for those who love to take a dip amidst wild nature.
Тop 20 best beaches in Portugal – Benagil beach (The Algarve).
Like many others on the Algarve, Benagil was a small fishing village. Unlike many others Benagil has managed to retain some of its charm and a little of its industry. Along with the sandstone cliffs, clear waters and golden sand of this archetypal Algarvian cove you will find fishing boats, baskets and nets and a few of the fishermen who still work from here. Despite its appeals the beach at Benagil is rarely busy, this is largely on account of it being a little of the main tourist map and, more importantly, a lack of parking.
Pleasant as this little beach is it is the sea cave at Benagil that really sets it apart. Falling squarely into the weird and wonderful category Benagil sea cave was actually voted one of the 10 Coolest Caves in the World by Huffington Post readers. Only accessible by a quick boat trip, the cave is actually a self contained sandy beach within a circular grotto complete with triple arched entrance.
Тop 20 best beaches in Portugal – Porto de Mós beach (Lagos).
The Praia do Porto de Mos is the second largest beach in the Lagos region, after the massive swathe of sand that is the Meia Praia beach. Porto de Mos lies 4 km to the south west of the main tourist center and makes for a pleasant alternative beach that is set amidst steep cliffs and lined with soft golden sands. Praia Mos faces a south-westerly direction and unlike all the other beaches in Lagos it is not sheltered from the powerful Atlantic Ocean by the Ponta da Piedade headland. This means that the Porto de Mos beach is the best beach for surfing/body boarding but can sometimes have a strong breeze. The other main advantage of Mos is that it is always significantly quieter and less crowded due to the distance from the city center.
Тop 20 best beaches in Portugal – Mareta beach (The Algarve).
Praia da Mareta Beach, locally known as the “window to the Atlantic”, lies on the region of Algarve at the southern part of Portugal. It exemplifies Sagres town’s simplicity, and is popular not only for its impressive architectural and historical attractions but also for its friendly people and laid back environment.
Remote and quiet, Praia da Mareta Beach in Algarve offers a quiet refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city. Its location has also lured many local and foreign adventure-seeking surfers to visit the place, most especially during the winter months when waves are ideal for surfing. In fact, even if the waters are a bit cold, the beach still attracts many surfers, for the beach offers some of the best waves for surfing, not only in Portugal but in Europe as well.
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