Start planning your beach vacation in Portugal
With more than 1,100 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline lining the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal’s beaches rank among some of the country’s top attractions. You’ll find warm sands surrounded by historical sites, lively cafes and quaint restaurants, and charming coastal communities all along its seashores. Whether you’re looking to soak up some sun or surf some big waves, Portugal has got you covered.
What makes Portugal a great beach destination?
Portugal’s beaches are varied, from black volcanic sands to golden-hued expanses. Some beaches have jagged rocks towering out of the water, while others have seemingly endless sandy stretches you can wander to your heart’s content. There’s a reason this is one of Europe’s top beach destinations.
The best beaches to visit in Portugal
You’re never too far from a beach in Portugal, even in the major cities themselves. There are famous surf breaks up and down the coast, while islands the Azores and regions like the Algarve feature majestic rock formations. Here are the top places for a Portugal beach break.
Explore the Algarve's popular but picturesque sands
The Algarve’s reputation as a brilliant beach destination is well deserved. Surrounded by majestic orange limestone cliffs, Praia da Marinha in Caramujeira is worth exploring on a hike down to its compact beach area. Praia da Rocha, near Portimao, offers up soaring rock formations, some shaped like castles if you look closely enough.
Surf on Nazare's long sands
Located midway along Portugal’s coastline, Nazare is known for its culturally rich town center and gentle, golden crescent-shaped beach. It's also lauded as a world-class surfing destination, where enthusiasts flock to ride the big waves along the North Beach.
Seek out scenic beaches near the capital
You don't need to venture far from Lisbon to hit the beach. West of the capital is Carcavelos Beach, where the locals come for an escape from the city. Within The Nature Park of Arrabida to the south, you'll find the picture-perfect Galapinhos Beach, touted as one of Europe's stretches of sand.
Discover Porto's inviting sands
Portugal's second city isn't left out of the seaside action either. Ingleses Beach offers a sandy stretch ideal for sunbathing and swimming, bordered by dining and shops. A little further north, Matosinhos Beach has a wide expanse of sand and decent breaks that are popular with surfers.
Discover the allure of the Azores
Portugal's far-flung islands offer their fair share of beaches. Madeira's Formosa Beach is known for its pebbly shores and sweeping ocean views, while Mosteiros on Sao Miguel Island provides black volcanic sands, jutting rock formations, and tidal pools to explore.
Tips for planning a beach vacation in Portugal
With year-round sunshine, there’s never a bad time to visit the beaches in Portugal. However, avoid the crowds in July and August when many Europeans go on their summer vacation. Most Portuguese beaches are sandy, but some rockier parts will require water shoes to navigate.