From North to South, Portugal has some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe (do I dare say in the World?)
Because it is located on the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal offers a wide selection of beaches all along the coast as well as many small villages worth exploring.
From the wild waves on the beaches up north, to the luxury resorts and tourist spots in the south, passing by Alentejo and Setúbal for calm relaxed beaches, and not forgetting the Islands, Portugal is top notch destination for any kind of beach and experience you may be looking for.
Golden sand, crystal clear water and hot sun shining – these are some of the most beautiful beaches around Portugal.
Let’s start this list with a hidden beach that will totally make your jaw drop with its beauty. Samoqueira Beach is located in the small town of Porto Côvo, Alentejo.
It is surrounded by cliffs but there are stairs carved on the rocks to make the access a bit easier. Besides the beach itself there are also several natural caves around it, perfect for some exploring when the tide is low. This is one of the remaining “wild” beaches, totally deprived of restaurants and it doesn’t even have a lifeguard.
It has a very intimate atmosphere and it surely deserves a visit if you are looking for a small, kind of hidden, private beach.
It used to be called Bejão beach, but since the most famous Portuguese singer stayed in the village for a short vacation, the beach was re-named and is now Amália Beach (in honor of Amália Rodrigues).
This is, again, a beach that has remained quiet unspoiled and holds all its natural beauty with very little human intervention. It is not easy to access: it requires a bit of a hike to go down but once you reach it, the beautiful white sand will make the rocky descent worth it! If the tide is high, you can barely see it, which makes this one a bit of a hidden gem.
The most famous sea cave in all Portugal. It is only reachable by sea and it is one of the most beautiful and natural places you will ever see.
Given the strong currents, swimming there is not advised and so to reach the cave, you will have to get on a boat – fun! The cave has a round hole in the ceiling, letting the sun shine through and incredible colors on the rock. It is true paradise inside with its crystal blue water and the tiny sand formation.
It has been features in all “Places to see once in your lifetime” guides and if you have the chance, definitely head down there.
Portinho da Arrábida
They say it’s the most beautiful beach in Portugal. And with good reason! Portinho da Arrábida is located within the Serra da Arrábida Natural Park and the turquoise water color is something that will leave you mesmerized.
It is a bay that is also home to some of the most diverse marine life around the area. The beach is easily accessible, there are parking spots, restaurants and many activities available.
The beach is quite small and has a very tranquil atmosphere, great for some relaxed sun bathing.
Algarve is the beach destination in Portugal by excellence. It has some of the most extensive areas of bright, golden sand and the warmest (still cold though) water.
One of Algarve’s most precious gems is Marinha Beach. It has been classified several times as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and it’s one of the most photographed locations in the whole coast. The best part is that it looks even more stunning in person than in any photograph you may see!
This beach is all surrounded by cliffs and beautiful rock formations, creating a natural shelter. The soft sand with the rich blue water make this small beach mandatory to check out for any beach lover!
Dona Ana Beach
If you are looking for calm waters, golden sand and movie-like scenery, Dona Ana Beach in Algarve is a must. It is very easily accessible, suitable for families and you can find restaurants, cafes and showers.
This beach is also great for activities such as snorkeling because it has almost no strong currents or waves. You can also reach the beach by boat coming from the nearest city, Lagos, which will give you another perspective of the impressive cliffs!
To avoid the crowds go in early and pick your spot. At the end of the day hike back up to the top of the cliffs and enjoy an incredible sunset.
The name comes from one of the massive rock formations that resembles a Bear (Ursa), on the north side of the beach. Located close to Cabo da Roca ( the westernmost extent of mainland in continental Europe), this beach is true natural treasure. But this one is only for the most adventurous! There’s a hiking trail on slippery rocks and a rope to descend to the sand – be careful!
Because it’s so difficult to access it has remained unspoiled and preserved in its natural state.
The incredible rock formations around it create a unique scenery and makes this one of the most fascinating beaches around this area.
Very close to Lisbon (roughly a 1h drive) lies the Tróia Peninsula – 20km of white fine sand that stand between river and ocean. At the southern end of this Peninsula, is Comporta. It’s not necessarily the most famous of these beaches, but it is for sure one of the prettiest and most relaxed.
It’s a summer favorite for families and offers restaurants, parking space and cafes all around. The extensive sand area and the calm waters make this beach a great place to relax and recharge energy.
To reach the beaches in this area you should head to Setúbal and take the ferry to Tróia – the ferry ride takes 25 minutes and it’s also a great way to enjoy the ocean and the beautiful view.
If you are lucky, you can see dolphins swimming around!
Porto Santo Beach
Not only in Continental Portugal can one find spectacular beaches. In the Island of Porto Santo, Madeira lies the Porto Santo Beach: 9 km of golden fine sand – the only sand beach in the whole archipelago! Not only that, but the beach is also known for the therapeutic benefits of its sand, which helps with rheumatism and alleviates pain.
Unlike most beaches in Continental Portugal, the water here is a lot warmer which allows for swimming and water sports. The big beach of Porto Santo divides itself in smaller beaches and all along them you can find many places to eat, drink and enjoy your vacation.
Senhor da Pedra Beach
If the south is famous for the calm and steady waters, the north is certainly known for the big waves and the surf competitions.
Near Porto is Senhor da Pedra beach, mostly famous because of the chapel with a hexagonal shape that lies on top of a rock built in 1686, overlooking the massive sand extent – a pretty different and quirky thing to find on a beach! It is easily accessible by public transportation and there’s a vast selection of restaurants and shops in the closest town.
Here you can practice surfing and other water sports or you can just lay and sunbathe in the sand.