Portugal is a paradise for anyone who loves the beach, offering various choices from its mainland to the Azores and Madeira. Whether you're into sandy beaches, rugged cliffs, or jaw-dropping scenery, Portugal has something for everyone. This article will cover some of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal.
1. Praia da Falésia
If you're searching for a beach in Portugal that screams “Postcard Perfect,” Praia da Falésia is your spot. Nestled in the Algarve, this beach takes clean to a new level. Trust us, you're not just walking on any sand; this beach has Blue Flag status, which means it's top-notch in clear waters and pristine shores. So, lay down that towel and swim—you won't be dodging any seaweed or litter here.
Love surfing? Grab your board because the waves here are calling your name. Prefer to keep things low-key? No problem. Try some casual beachside fishing; the locals do it, and so can you.
Now, let's talk about the showstopper: those cliffs. We're not kidding when we say they look like a painting. The colors on these rock formations could make a rainbow jealous. From burnt oranges to chalky whites, they set up a backdrop to have your Instagram feed blowing up. So, you'll want to clear some phone storage for this visit.
Getting down to the beach can take time and effort. There are stairs, which could be more friendly if you've mobility issues. If you fancy a sunbed for that perfect tan, be prepared to shell out 20€.
2. Praia da Marinha
Praia da Marinha is a beach in the Algarve that's worth a visit. People love the clear water and nice sand.
You'll find some sea stacks and archways that make the place unique. If you like exploring, you might enjoy climbing on the rocks or renting a kayak to see the caves.
Once you get to the beach, you must walk down steep stairs. One downside is that you cannot rent chairs or umbrellas; bring your own if needed.
It's a popular beach that gets crowded, but most people think it's worth it.
3. Praia do Carvalho
Next on our list of best beaches of Portugal list is Praia do Carvalho, and it's worth checking out, especially if you're staying in Carvoeiro. Some people find themselves coming back day after day, recognizing familiar faces. Be cautious; the Atlantic waves can get rough and knock you around. Lifeguards are on duty, and you can rent beach shades and beds, although they're a bit on the pricey side at 24 Euros for two.
The beach has something for everyone. Adventurers will enjoy climbing up the cliffs and jumping into the sea. The water is clear and calm, but the tide can come in quickly. The beach also gets crowded, so be prepared to get cozy with your neighbors.
A standout feature of this beach is its accessibility. Facilities for disabled visitors are impressive, including a special buggy that allows wheelchairs to get into the sea.
4. Praia da Rocha
Praia Da Rocha stands out for its golden sand and safe waters, making it a family favorite and one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal. This expansive beach offers various sections to suit your mood. If you wander, you'll find a bustling area near the main shopping and restaurant strip and a quieter cove section.
One of the perks of this beach is its easy access from the town with plenty of parking.
Be prepared to tackle 85 steps down to the beach. The stairs also make it accessible from multiple points along the road. There are bars on the beach's edge, and you can rent beach lounges and water sports gear. You have various options for food, from pizza and beer to a full lunch or dinner.
The Portugal beach can get busy, but it rarely feels overcrowded because it's large. If you prefer a quieter spot, head to the right as you approach the beach to avoid the shops and restaurants. Whether you're looking for a chill day sunbathing or an adventure exploring caves, Praia Da Rocha offers a bit of everything. The water is a bit cooler than the Mediterranean, but it's clear and clean, adding to the overall great experience.
5. Praia do Vau
Praia do Vau offers a cozy yet spacious feel, thanks to its tides that expand the shoreline, linking it to nearby beaches like Praia dos Tres Castelo and Praia do Alemao. The beach unveils impressive rock formations when the tide is out, perfect for long walks and photo ops. Start your walk behind the O Lino Beach restaurant for a route that includes historic cliff-top views.
Cleanliness is a hallmark here; the sands are spotless and golden. It can get busy, but there's enough room to find a quiet spot. The water is generally calm and safe for wading, particularly at low tide. The beach also features a subtle slope, so even at high tide, it remains accessible.
Foodies will appreciate the nearby cafes and restaurants, including a cliff-top eatery that offers panoramic views of the stunning coastline. You can also explore some small caves toward Alvor for some adventure. Whether you're looking for a quiet retreat or a day full of exploration, Praia do Vau has something for everyone, and thats why it's one of the best beaches in Portugal.
6. Praia da Mareta
Praia da Mareta stands out as a tranquil haven, especially for those wanting to avoid the surfer crowds typical to many Sagres beaches. Encircled by high cliffs, the beach enjoys shelter from winds, resulting in a calm sea that’s perfect for a peaceful swim. This makes it one of the best Portugal beaches for families or anyone looking to relax in the water.
For a more secluded experience, walk down to the right, where you’ll find yourself closer to the stunning rock formations and away from crowds.
Summers can be hot, but visiting in September offers near-perfect weather and the bonus of a quieter atmosphere. Praia da Mareta is the place to be if you’re searching for a classic Algarve beach experience without the hustle and bustle.
7. Praia do Martinhal
Praia do Martinhal is an excellent option for families, offering clean water, beautiful sand, and an impressive landscape. Unlike many other Algarve beaches, this one is easy to access without a hike or numerous steps, which is why it's one of the most popular south Portugal beaches.
It's also less crowded, making it a peaceful spot to create happy memories with loved ones.
While it may lack the towering cliffs that make other beaches dramatic, its wide-open space has unique appeal. Plus, there’s a snack bar on-site for when you get hungry. The beach also has quality hotels nearby, which adds to its convenience.
Parking can be challenging, especially during busy times, and the beach can be windy. Still, many find it worth a visit, even if it doesn’t quite reach some nearby alternatives' “amazing” status. Praia do Martinhal is a solid choice, especially for those who value ease of access and a less crowded atmosphere.
8. Praia da Barra
Praia da Barra is a local favorite, attracting visitors all year round, and is perfect for a beach vacation in Portugal. Known for its cleanliness and beautiful scenery, this beach offers something for everyone, including pet owners who enjoy bringing their dogs along. While it can get busy during summer, the expansive sandy area ensures you can find your private corner.
Besides its inviting sands and captivating Atlantic waves, this beach stands out in its proximity to town. Various restaurants offer everything from fresh seafood to pizza, making it easy to take a break from the sun and surf. Cyclists will appreciate the safe paths along the flat terrain, with stunning marine views, and remember to check out the country's tallest lighthouse nearby.
Some downsides include the colder water temperatures and sometimes windy conditions. Despite this, many visitors, especially those with familial ties to the area, find Praia da Barra a cherished spot full of great memories.
So, whether you want to chill, explore, or dine, Praia da Barra promises a well-rounded beach experience.
9. Praia do Areal de Santa Bárbara
Praia do Areal de Santa Bárbara is a beachgoer's dream, especially if you're into surfing. Its sprawling expanse of soft, dark sand and absence of rocks sets the stage for a perfect day at the beach. Lifeguards are on duty, adding an extra layer of safety for swimmers and surfers alike.
The beach offers a host of amenities designed to enhance your experience. From surf schools to equipment rentals, it's got everything you need for a day of riding the waves.
If you find yourself at Praia do Areal de Santa Bárbara on a day when it’s not busy, you're in for a treat. Walking along the misty shore with powerful waves crashing beside you can be a surreal experience. The beach also offers practical amenities like showers and changing facilities.
Food and drink are covered too, thanks to TukáTulá bar situated at one end of the beach.
10. Praia da Prainha
Praia da Prainha is a hidden gem not easily spotted from the main road. You'll be greeted with a small beach featuring unique black volcanic sand if you find it. It's one of the few sandy beaches in Madeira and is near Canical, making it a great add-on if you're exploring the area.
The water at this beach is warm and mostly calm, thanks to sand banks that break up the waves before they hit the shore.
Umbrellas are available for rent, which you might want as it can get very hot. There's just one lifeguard on duty, so be extra careful, especially near the rocks where the water flows back to the ocean.
Overall, Praia da Prainha offers a more secluded experience, and it's especially appealing if you're looking for warm, sandy shores on Madeira.
11. Praia da Comporta
Comporta Beach is about an hour and a half away from Lisbon by car. It's a huge spot, with 40 miles of coast, making it the largest beach area in the Iberian Peninsula.
From the main cafe, you can walk about 1km in either direction to find a more secluded spot to enjoy your day.
Praia da Comporta is one of the best beaches of Portugal, with convenience and natural beauty. It's easy to get to, and you're likely to find a spot that suits your liking, whether you prefer a bustling atmosphere or something more private.
12. Praia de Tróia Mar
Praia de Tróia Mar is a great Portugal beach to consider if you're visiting Lisbon or doing a tour of Portugal. It's not that from Lisbon, which makes it suitable for a day trip or a few nights' stay. The vibe here is different as its more about nature than big buildings or lots of shops.
The beach is huge with fine, white sand and clear water, although the water is cold, and because of its size, it doesn't feel crowded even in busy times like August.
There's some basic stuff at the beach, like a bar and lifeguards.
If you want a more laid-back, natural beach experience and you're okay with a few less conveniences, Praia de Tróia Mar is a great choice.
13. Praia da Nazaré
It's a busy Portugal beach, especially in the summer, so if you like a more crowded, lively atmosphere, this is for you.
This beach has two levels: the lower beach and the upper “Sitio.” You have plenty of things to see and do, from checking out old fishing boats to walking along the beachfront, where there are many shops and places to eat. You can also take a funicular to the “Sitio,” like another village overlooking the beach.
This area is also famous for surfing, so it's another reason to go if you're into that.
14. Praia da Dona Ana
Praia da Dona is a beach close to Lagos city center, so getting there is easy. If you're into exploring, there are rock formations that you can check out.
The sand is full of shells, so walking can be tough so flip-flops might be a good idea.
Finally, getting to the beach involves some steps, so be ready for a workout, especially on the way back up.
I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.