Europe & Britain | Destination Guides

9 beaches in Portugal that will take your breath away

Glorious Portuguese beaches are the perfect antidote to months spent indoors, so we’ve compiled a selection of the very best beaches in Portugal for you to while away your summer holiday. The Portuguese government are running real-time status updates for crowding levels on beaches available via the Info Praia app, so you can keep an eye on how many people are going to be at the beach and ensure you can easily manage your distance.

Remember to check up on Portugal’s guidelines for tourists as well as the rules on returning to your own country after a holiday to Portugal.

Praia da Alagoa, Altura

Altura is located in the Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost region, known for its fishing villages and breathtaking coves.

Take a short walk along the dunes, just minutes from the city of Altura and you’ll find a favourite among Portugal’s beaches, Praia da Alagoa, a rolling, white sandy beach that is seemingly endless.

Located a half-hour drive from Portugal’s border with Spain, Alagoa’s water warms up to an inviting 20 degrees at summer’s peak, making it the perfect spot for a beach holiday in Portugal.

 

Praia da Alagoa, Altura

Ilha do Farol, Faro

Easily reached by a ferry from Faro, Ilha do Farol is a haven of tranquillity with some of Portugal’s best uncrowded beaches to explore.

Farol translates to lighthouse and the first thing you’ll see of this island is its 50-metre high structure, built in 1851 and one of the first in Portugal. Be sure to go to the top of the lighthouse for a view across the island when you visit Farol.

With no paved roads on the island, Farol can’t be reached by car, making it a serene spot to spend a day on a short break to Portugal. Ilha do Farol’s beach stretches 6km, meaning a walk along this coast can quickly feel like a deserted island in the Caribbean.

Praia da Rocha Baixinha, Vilamoura

Praia da Rocha Baixinha is a lively Portugese beach located near the Vilamoura resort, renowned for incredible summer parties alongside the nearby beach bars.

As it welcomes great numbers of visitors for beach holidays to Portugal, Baixinha also offers water sports and equipment you can hire on the beach.

Praia da Rocha Baixinha translates to ‘Low Rock Beach’ and the name comes from the striking red cliffs flanking it which become low dunes as they stretch towards the east of Baixinha.

The beach stretches around a hundred metres from the land to the sea and runs over a kilometre in length so you always have plenty of space to find the perfect spot even in the busy summer season.

RELATED CONTENT: 9 undiscovered beaches to discover before the secret’s out

Praia do Pinhão, Lagos

Lagos is one of the most popular spots for visitors to the Algarve region of Portugal, and hums with nightlife and activity.

Lagos can be reached by train from Faro, and once there you are spoilt for choice with three of the best beaches in Portugal within twenty minutes’ drive from the city centre.

Our pick of the bunch is Pinhão, a hidden gem among Portugal’s beaches found at the bottom of a stone stairway. You won’t get the beach bars of the larger Meja Praia but you avoid the difficulty of finding parking there.

Praia do Pinhão is also secluded as it is surrounded by huge coves, meaning you feel a world away from the city of Lagos.

Praia do Beliche, Cape St Vincent

Praia do Beliche is located 3km from the town of Sagres and this Portuguese beach can be reached by a decent forty minute walk or by car in under ten minutes.

Beliche’s coastline is incredibly striking, with forty metre high cliffs on either side of the beach. The cliffs also give you some needed protection from the strong winds in Sagres.

Beliche is the furthest west you can get while visiting the Algarve beaches, and being away from the tourist hubs means you avoid big crowds even in the summer months.

The golden sands have a remote and unspoiled feel and the water is also free of rocks, making for a soothing swim. However Beliche is also a surfers’ favourite and the strong currents are best for confident swimmers.

Praia do Tamariz, Cascais

Located in the Cascais region and closest to the resort town of Estoril, Tamariz is a serene Portuguese beach with historic surroundings and a promenade perfect for long walks or bike rides.

Praia do Tamariz can be reached from Lisbon in an hour on public transport or by car in half an hour for an escape from the city. It is also worth noting that finding parking near this beach can be very difficult on the weekend.

Behind the beach you can visit Chalet Barros, a medieval-style palace built in 1890 by a rich local resident for his terminally ill daughter. This intriguing setting also gives the beach a distinct feel and sets it apart from many of the other best beaches to visit in Portugal.

EXPERIENCE THIS ON: Best of Portugal

Praia do Guincho, Cascais

Praia do Guincho is situated on the western edge of Serra da Sintra National Park. This heritage status means the remote and wild nature of this Portuguese beach has escaped the clutches of resort developers.

Guincho beach also has a different kind of heritage as the filming location for the opening scene of 1969 James Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. In the opening scene Bond rescues co-star Diana Rigg, who later featured in Game of Thrones, from the ocean.

The powerful winds on this beach makes Guincho one of the best beaches in Portugal for surfing, and it’s a favourite among adventurers looking for a perfect Portugal day trip.

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Praia da Nazaré, Nazare

Nazare, Portugal’s most famous fishing town, takes its name from the Biblical city of Nazareth. Nazare’s fisher women wear the seven skirts of Nazare, a tradition that developed to keep warm as they watched and hoped for their husbands return on cold nights on Portugal’s beaches.

Today Nazare is known for its imposing waves that crash on some of Portugal’s best beaches and the Guinness World Record for the tallest wave surfed was set here in 2017 for an 80-footer.

The golden sands of Praia da Nazare stretch 1.5km in length and are backed by a promenade and a range of restaurants serving freshly caught fish. At the northern end of the beach you can also ride a hundred year old funicular lift up the 318 metre rock face for unforgettable and expansive views of the region.

Praia da Nazaré

 

Praia do Molhe, Porto

Trips to Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, wouldn’t be the same without a visit to beautiful Praia do Molhe – a welcome escape from busy city life.  

Praia do Molhe is a mixture of coarse sand and rocks so is less of a sunbathers retreat than some of Portugal’s other beaches. However, it is highly recognizable for the yellow pillars of the pergola, often seen on postcards of Porto and part of a project to beautify the beach during the 1930s. 

Praia do Molhe is found within a twenty minute walk from Porto’s City Park in the Foz district of the city and can also be reached by bus on the STCP Route 500.

EXPERIENCE THIS ON: Picturesque Portugal

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You can visit all of these incredible Portugal beaches and more on our Best of Portugal tour, or extend your trip into Spain and explore some Great Iberian Cities. Have you explored Portugal’s beaches? Let us know your favourites in the comments below.

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