Published on 20th March 2019
An extensive coastline with soft golden sand on every beach, a long summer and plenty of sunshine all year round make Portugal an obvious choice as a holiday destination. Comments and reports in the international media acknowledging the quality and beauty of Portugal’s beaches are commonplace. And it is no coincidence that 320 of our beaches fly the European Blue Flag, and 209 of them are classed as Accessible Beaches!
We know it’s hard to choose just one beach because there is so much variety and the scenery changes as you go along the coast, but here are a few of our favourites.
Porto Santo, Madeira
Considered one of Europe’s best-kept secrets, Porto Santo Beach was also chosen by beachgoers as one of the prettiest. The sea is calm, the beach stretches for nine kilometres and what’s more the fine, golden sand is known for its therapeutic qualities. It’s the perfect place for rest and relaxation.
Praia dos Galapinhos, Parque Natural da Arrábida
The perfect beach surrounded by unspoilt nature. This is how travellers from around the world described the Galapinhos beach when they chose it as the best beach in Europe, in 2017. It is one of the beaches in the Arrábida Natural Park, which includes a coastal area of crystal-clear waters and small bays that are well worth exploring.
Located at the southernmost tip of the Troia Peninsula and on the edges of the Sado Estuary Nature Reserve, Comporta Beach is a favourite with holidaymakers because it is so easy to get to. The peace and quiet on this part of the coast make it an extremely attractive option for many visitors.
Considered one of the best beaches for tubes in Europe, this is a prime spot for major events such as the Rip Curl Pro Portugal Championship.
Far from the crowds and with controlled access from May to October, the Berlengas Archipelago Protected Area, located 10 km from Peniche, has a single beach that will delight even the most demanding holidaymaker. It was this exclusivity combined with the transparency of the water that led Best European Destinations to consider it as one of the prettiest beaches in 2016.
North Beach, Nazaré
In 2011, this beach became famous for having the biggest wave in the world, surfed by Garrett McNamara. At 30 metres high, it was a record to be challenged only by the boldest of surfers.
The municipality boasts some excellent beaches for surfing, including Ribeira de Ilhas, Coxos and Empa. Its eight kilometres of coastline were classed as the first European Surfing Reserve and the second in the world, by the international organisation “Save the Waves Coalition”.
Amado Beach + Arrifana Beach, Aljezur
Considered one of the best surfing beaches in Portugal, Amado Beach is a favourite with surfers from all over Europe and frequently stages international competitions. Meanwhile, Arrifana Beach is extremely popular with surfing schools.
Salema Beach, Vila do Bispo
This is one of the best beaches in Europe for families, according to The Guardian newspaper. This little fishermen’s beach has calm, crystal-clear water and sands that offer a great opportunity for long walks along the seashore.
Camilo Beach + Benagil Beach, Lagos
Two beaches to be included on everyone’s “must see at least once in a lifetime” list. Nestling between craggy cliffs, they are the hallmark of the Algarve and it is definitely worth making your way down on to the sands. If you go by boat, you can visit the caves and secret sandy coves along the coast.
Dona Ana Beach, Lagos
The turquoise water and the natural nooks and crannies were the reason for this beach being considered one of the 50 most beautiful in the world by the magazine Condé Nast Traveler; and this was backed up by TripAdvisor users in 2016. It is one of the most-photographed beaches in the Algarve.
Marinha Beach, Lagoa
A little piece of unspoiled nature, this is a very scenic beach framed by a cliff that has been sculpted by the wind and the sea. It is considered to be one of the world’s top 100 beaches.
As you can see, some of the award-winning beaches are to be found in the Algarve, a fact that was highlighted by the prize that the region won in the World Travel Awards in 2013 and 2015, as Europe’s Best Beach Destination.
But there are many different beaches in Portugal and the best one will be the one that suits your mood at the time. Sometimes you may be looking for a sheltered, less-developed beach with few people; at others, you may want something livelier and a party at sunset with your feet in the sand would be perfect; and on still other occasions, you might want wide open horizons and invigorating walks along the seashore.
This list is intended merely as a source of inspiration. Your best option is to make your way along the coast and take a look… the only obligatory stops are the ones you make to go for a refreshing dip and watch the sun sink into the sea.
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