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Best Beaches in Portugal

Portugal is a coastal country, so naturally there are many, many beaches. But what are the best ones? Come with us to get recommendations on where to swim and sun-bathe in Portugal, from North to South.  

Frederik Pohl
Frederik Pohl, CEO
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The North

The beaches in the north of Portugal are known for their cooler waters compared to those in the South. Precisely because of this not-so-tropical quality, they are also way less crowded. When you think of vacationing on the beach, surely the North is not a main option; however, the coast is still beautiful and known for its other qualities.

For example, the Northern region is particularly great for surfing, attracting both beginners and experienced athletes alike to its waves. And although the water temperature is lower than in the South, it is generally perfectly comfortable during the summer months! These are some of the best beaches in the North of Portugal:

Moledo Beach, Caminha

Moledo beach, in Caminha (at the very top of Portugal) has a very distinctive landscape, in which mountains illustrate the horizon. It is rich in iodine, surrounded by dunes, thick vegetation and wooden walkways, making it perfect for athletes on foot, water and even air, since windsurf has gotten quite popular here! 

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Praia de Moledo
Arda Beach, Viana do Castelo

The almost tropical landscapes of the glistening sandy Arda beach, in Viana do Castelo, are surrounded by miles of agricultural fields of all colors, taking you far from the hustle and bustle of the big cities and their frenetic pace. This is a perfect place for holiday, relaxing and forgetting about day-to-day life! 

Matosinhos Beach, Porto

Matosinhos is the perfect refuge for those visiting or living in Porto and wishing for a more quiet, relaxed day. Matosinhos beach combines beauty, nature and good food all in one! After swimming in its waters, you can take a walk along the seafront and end the day with a great seafood or fish dinner – accompanied by the most perfect of views.

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Praia de Matosinhos

Centre region

Costa Nova, Aveiro

Costa Nova is a small town just outside Aveiro that’s famous for its traditional striped houses that were once fishermen’s homes (which you have probably seen on social media!) The beach here is very wide, ensuring pleasant moments of relaxation. From there you can also walk to the neighboring Barra beach, which is just as amazing! Make sure you try a ‘tripa’ along the way – it’s a traditional beach food in Aveiro!

Figueira da Foz, Coimbra

Figueira da Foz was once a traditional summer resort that managed to preserve its glamorous style of old. Beyond surfing, the beaches here are wide – with endless stretches of sand, making them ideal for families. Relógio Beach is a must-visit among travellers, as is ‘Buarcos’ – a cozy fisherman’s beach, where you’re sure to eat the greatest fish plate of your life!

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The famous striped houses of Costa Nova
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Figueira da Foz
Nazaré

The crescent-shaped beach of Nazaré is one of the most beautiful beaches not only in the centre, but in the whole of Portugal, seducing travelers with its colorful beach huts, friendly fish vendors, and stunning natural beauty. It is also widely known for surfing, with many of the biggest waves ever surfed in the world recorded here. But don’t worry – the sea is much tamer and pleasant during the summer!

nazare
Living in Portugal

Nazaré: The village of waves

Half-moon shaped village by the sea In the West region of Portugal and righ by the sea, Nazaré is a coastal paradise with a

Algarve

The Algarve region is known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, making it one of Europe’s top beach destinations. Here you will find everything, from beaches stretching over several kilometers, to small coves only accessible by sea, and those set on spectacular rock formations.

Rocha Beach, Portimão

Rocha is the main beach in Portimão and one of the most popular in the Algarve. But don’t worry! Despite its popularity, it is quite wide so there will always be a spot for you! Besides your traditional beach activities and sports, it’s also well known for its active nightlife at the surrounding bars and clubs, making it perfect for young people (but definitely accessible and recommended for everyone!).

Falésia Beach, Albufeira

Praia da Falésia is one of the most popular beaches in the Algarve, particularly because of its sunset parties, which are held every Thursday during the summer. 

The beach stretches along the sea and is accessible by some wooden stairs. It is mostly suitable for families during the day, since when night falls, groups of friends and party lovers come to settle in and have fun.

Marinha Beach, Carvoeiro

Marinha is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe! Because of this, it is quite busy during the summer, so we recommend that you go early in the morning to enjoy its golden sand, light blue sea and stunning rock formations. Before going down to the beach, take in the landscape that can be seen from the top of the cliff that leads to it, and then walk down the long staircase. You will definitely feel rewarded for your effort!

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Rock formation at Praia da Rocha
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Praia da Falésia
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Praia da Marinha

Madeira Island

Well, it is an island! And it’s also known for being naturally beautiful, so its beaches are definitely no exception. Madeira’s climate is quite warmer than mainland Portugal, so you can enjoy the beach life here for a larger part of the year, also.

Formosa Beach

Formosa is the largest public beach on the island. It offers a long stretch of pebbly shore (that’s very typical of Madeira) and is home to many restaurants, cafes, and water sports activities. It’s perfect for both relaxing the entire day and also as a refuge for a quick dip after hours of walking and exploring the island.

Calhau da Lapa, Porto Moniz

Calhau da Lapa is a unique beach made up of large volcanic rocks and natural pools, located in the parish of Campanário. It’s a rather small bathing area known for its peaceful atmosphere and the excellent quality of its waters.

Porto Santo beach, Porto Santo

Although not on the main island of Madeira, Porto Santo‘s beach is still very much worth mentioning. It is located on the neighboring island of Porto Santo, accessible by ferry or plane. This golden sandy beach stretches for about nine kilometers and is known for its therapeutic properties due to the mineral-rich sands!

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Porto Santo © Neide Paixão

Azores

The other Portuguese archipelago is also known for being extremely mesmerising, and its beaches are no exception. Among the magical Azorean surroundings, you can find incredible tropical white and black sand beaches and natural pools carved by the ocean between dark lava rocks. 

Santa Bárbara Beach, Ribeira Grande

It is one of the widest beaches in all of Azores and is characterized by golden sand and a position that predisposes it to the wind in a favorable way. Precisely because of this, it is the perfect beach for all surfers passing through the islands!

Mosteiros Beach, Ponta Delgada

Mosteiros is one of the most beautiful black sand beaches in Europe, known for its magnificent sunsets and the permanent presence of the Mosteiros islets on the horizon. It is also very quiet! 

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