Did you know that Portugal has the highest density of blue flag beaches in the world? Now you know. Then maybe it’s time to start planning your trip.
The Blue Flag is an international symbol of beaches and marinas with clean and safe waters. Eco-label status began in France in 1985 and now has representation in over 48 countries worldwide.
However, when people think of the coastline of Portugal, they usually think of the Algarve, with its golden sands and crystal clear waters. However, there are much more beautiful beaches along the coast of Portugal, from north to south, and from beautiful sandy beaches to isolated rocky coves.
Here, we have gathered eight beaches along the coast of Portugal that have captured the hearts of many tourists around the world.
Also check: The best beaches in Spain
Best Beaches in Portugal MAP
Beaches in Portugal Quick Overview
|🏊 Best beaches for swimming||Praia da Marinha and Praia Dona Ana|
|👨👩👦👦 Best beach for families||Adraga Beach, Sintra–Cascais|
|🏄♂️ Best beach to surf||Ericeira beach|
|🏖️ best beach for vacation||Dona Ana Beach, Lagos|
Praia da Marinha, Carvoeiro
The Algarve is Portugal’s most famous beach destination. It’s no surprise that some of the best beaches in Portugal are located on this incredible stretch.
You may have heard that the Algarve region has more than 200 beaches and coves, so you can easily get lost in a sea of beautiful beaches while following the coast.
However, Praia da Marinha is one of the most stunning sandy beaches in the Algarve and even Portugal. It’s not necessarily the best beach in Portugal, but it’s breathtaking.
The first thing that makes this beach beautiful is its water. Each beach has its own color palette, with clear water and white sand as the norm. The color of the sea water at Praia da Marinha is a beautiful shade of blue-green that looks inviting even with the morning sun. It’s always nice to look at a clear ocean.
While many beaches have fine sand, this one has a hard layer of pebbles on top that adds texture to the water and is a more interesting way to play in the sand than just digging up soft grains.
Also, the waves are huge here, especially along the southern end, where they hit the rocks with colossal force. The resulting spray creates an interesting effect in which you can find photo opportunities at almost every turn.
Praia da Marinha stretches for about 2 miles from south to north and is supported by cliffs. A long boardwalk leads to the waves, which are quite large at this end of the cove. The sand is relatively fine near the water’s edge, but gets rougher in the dunes, where some rocky outcrops look good for both bodyboarding and surfing.
The water can get chilly here – it’s perfect for swimming, but not good for swimming in deeper areas or paddling until spring – so it’s important to keep an eye on the weather forecast before you arrive. If there is any chance of rain, consider going elsewhere.
In addition to beautiful beaches and a picturesque medieval village, Carvoeiro is home to some of the best surfing in Europe. It is a great place to practice windsurfing, kitesurfing, SUP, etc.
Finally, if you are traveling by car, book your parking in advance and make a note of where to meet the driver when you return. To get from Carvoeiro to Praia da Marinha, take a bus, as there are many options offering convenient services.
Adraga Beach, Sintra–Cascais Lisbon
You can enjoy the best Portuguese beach experience on the golden sand arch of Praia de Adraga, surrounded by a low cliff striped with cool caves and natural pools.
The Atlantic waves here are bigger than most, making the beach a hit for bodyboarders, while swimmers should stay close to shore where it’s safer. The water is crystal clear and the environment exceptionally peaceful – you won’t find many people besides the locals.
Also, it is best to visit Praia da Adraga from mid-May to mid-October. The sea is usually very calm, perfect for swimming, diving and diving. It’s also a great spot for surfing; its main break is a reef on the left that offers fast and powerful waves.
To get there, you’ll have to drive along the narrow roads in the hills before reaching the beach. Another option is to get to the beach by walking part of the Rota Vicentina trail or taking a boat trip (preferably at low tide).
Praia de Adraga has several restaurants serving fresh fish and traditional Portuguese dishes. These are located on the sand with fantastic views of the sea and the Cliffs of Magoito (known as the most beautiful cliffs in Europe).
You can also find several bars and cafes overlooking this spectacular coastal landscape.
Nazaré Beach, Leiria Region
In the far west of Portugal lies a beautiful beach town known as Nazaré. It is one of those cities with a picturesque yet unpretentious charm, where locals and tourists alike enjoy the beauty that surrounds them.
The beach is about 30 minutes from town, though it’s well worth the trip. It is surrounded by an endless line of cliffs covered in a mixture of olive and pine trees. The sea water is crystal clear and invites you to swim in its depths and take a dip.
You can also spend hours walking along the cliffs or sitting quietly on one of the many benches overlooking this beautiful scene. Many people come here for their evening strolls along the beach, while still others choose to dine at two local restaurants on either side of the dunes.
There are many things to see around this city, including several churches, local history museums and old mansions in the hills overlooking the ocean, all within walking distance.
Dona Ana Beach, Lagos
If you like pristine sandy beaches with trendy bars and restaurants nearby, head to Praia Dona Ana. Via stairs, access this lagoon beach through a tunnel that leads to a secluded bay with golden sands and turquoise waters.
After descending the steep steps from above, visitors find themselves on a small platform with a great view of the beach and cliffs. The waters here are calm and clear, making this one of the best places in Lagos to swim.
It is one of the most photographed beaches in Portugal and popular with family holiday enthusiasts due to its sheltered position and shallow waters. It houses many sun loungers, which you can rent if you want a spot on the sand and enjoy the hot summer in comfort.
The piles of red rocks that rise above the beach have been sculpted by millions of years of erosion and give Praia Dona Ana a unique beauty. With its blue waters, hidden caves and tropical palm trees, it’s no wonder this Algarve beauty is considered one of the best beaches in Portugal.
Praia Dona Ana can get busy thanks to its proximity to Lagos, making it easy to access by public transport. However, it is worth fighting the crowds to explore this paradise. You can even take a boat trip to see Praia Dona Ana from a totally different perspective!
Falesia Beach, Albufeira
Albufeira is one of the most popular coastal cities in Portugal, with beautiful coastlines, lots of entertainment, great shopping and fantastic places to eat out. It is also known for its beaches, which are incredibly sandy and clean.
So if you are planning to travel to Portugal, you will be hard pressed to find a better place to relax than Praia da Falésia in Albufeira. It is a wide sandy beach with an endless supply of crystal clear turquoise water, perfect for surfing and swimming.
On that note, you can do many activities in Falesia beach. You can rent scooters to explore the surroundings, practice water sports like kayaking or windsurfing, relax on the beach with a good book, walk along the white sand or swim in its crystal clear waters. It all depends on your taste and preference.
Located close to Porto, Praia do Miramar offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. Bring your hiking shoes to explore the craggy cliffs and hidden coves along this picturesque coast.
And thankfully, this beach is quite wide, clean and beautifully sheltered, with picturesque rocky outcrops and cliffs on either side. It’s quiet, making it a great relaxing spot to spend a day at the seaside after a swim.
Along the beach, several restaurants serve traditional Portuguese fish dishes and other tasty local dishes that you can enjoy outdoors in the summer months. Also, the beach is not crowded or very commercialized, so everyone has enough space.
Guincho Beach, Cascais
Guincho beach is the first-born in the municipality of Cascais, located in the parish of Cascais and Estoril. It is a wild beach without any civil structure, giving it an almost virgin natural beauty.
It is a beautiful stretch of sand, practically deserted in the middle of summer. Praia do Guincho has always been one of the best beaches in Portugal. The beach itself is beautiful, but its scenery is even better. The large dunes are protected and shelter several species of birds.
The water here is cold, not hot like the Mediterranean Sea. In fact, due to its location on the Atlantic, it is more popular with surfers than bathers. The winds are strong here, and there are always windsurfers and kitesurfers on the water.
In addition, there is also a 5-star restaurant at the end of the beach. So if you’d rather not play any sport on your vacation and relax instead, there’s still plenty to do here. You can enjoy a drink or snack along the beach or get a massage while feeling the cool sea breeze.
You’ll be forgiven for thinking you’re looking at a CGI-generated landscape as you enter the Benagil Beach cave, but rest assured, it’s all real.
The huge circular stone awning above the small beach, accessible only by boat or swimming, looks artificial but is entirely natural.
From the outside of this magical sea cave, it looks like a huge hole in the cliff excavated with an ice cream scoop, leaving behind a smooth concave wall of creamy sandstone.
The beach inland is not sandy, but covered in small stones and pebbles. A short walk from the beach will take you from the base of the cave to its side, where you can climb up to a rocky ledge.
The most central beaches on the Portuguese coast are not necessarily the ones with the best views, but they are where you’ll find all the action. For example, you might be relaxing on a breakwater enjoying some of the country’s world-class cocktails, or you might be watching surfers on super longboards.
You can easily enjoy a cocktail on one of the hotel’s many rooftop terraces that put you at the top of the action. However, all these beaches have one thing in common: they are along the Portuguese coast and try to offer something to everyone.