In Portugal there are some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, immense and wild. Wind-beaten, crowded, isolated, wild, untouched. Everyone can find their dimension and the show within the show. Caves that filter the sun's rays, cliffs that seem drawn with a pencil, landscapes that are eroded by the wind. The tides then transform the beaches that can disappear completely, giving way to the ocean that clashes mercilessly with rocks and cliffs. It is no coincidence that Portugal is one of the best places in Europe for surfing and bodyboarding. The most famous stretches of sand are located in the southern province of the Algarve, where you can choose between small beaches, shrouded in quiet bays and protected by rust-coloured cliffs, and long expanses of gold. But there are also beaches with monumental dunes behind them and other beaten non-stop by the crashing ocean waves. And if you are super sportsman don't worry: the beaches along the west coast are right for you. Discover our list of the best beaches in Portugal and you will be won over by landscapes that know how to mix raw atmospheres with the warm tones of the best hospitality.
The 15 most beautiful beaches in Portugal
- Carcavelos Beach - Lisbon
- Praia do Guincho - Lisbon
- Praia de Santa Cruz - Lisbon
- Praia de Magoito - Sintra
- Azenhas do Mar - Sintra
- Praia de Dona Ana - Algarve
- Benagil Caves - Algarve
- Praia de Senhora da Rocha - Algarve
- Bordeira Beach - Algarve
- Praia de Odeceixe - Algarve
- Praia do Amado - Algarve
- Praia da Falesia -Albufeira
- Praia da Comporta - Alentejo
- Praia dos Galapinhos - Setubal
- Praia de Marinha - Carvoeiro
Carcavelos Beach – Lisbon
A relaxing place, but also full of things to do where you breathe a wild and impactful atmosphere: Carcavelos is the most popular beach on the Lisbon-Estoril-Cascais coast, one of the largest in the Lisbon region. And it is also one of the easiest to reach from the city centre. The waters of the sea are far from the Tago estuary, so they are clean, and are suitable for swimming and for surfing (there are also several schools and the necessary equipment can be rented). On the promenade there are numerous bars and clubs perfect for a light lunch or to get away from the hot summer sun. It also has a certain importance and fame. It is the beach where, by tradition, people go into the water for the first time of the year on New Year's Eve.
Praia do Guincho – Lisbon
Inside the Sintra-Cascais Nature Park, Praia do Guincho is located in a landscape of great beauty, where the white sand dunes stand out against the Serra de Sintra, visible in the background. Exposed to strong winds and bathed by a sea that has high waves, the beach is popular with surfers and bodyboarders. It is amongst the most famous and "mediatic" Portuguese beaches, by virtue of the fact that it is one of the venues where the national and world surfing championships are held. But also because In 1969 they shot the opening scene of the film Agent 007 – In the Service of His Majesty, with George Lazenby as James Bond. If beauty and charm is combined with taste, it’s perfect. In the immediate vicinity, there are restaurants specialising in fish and shellfish. The Fortaleza do Guincho, a 17th-century seaside stronghold, is well worth mentioning, now used as a hotel and restaurant. And even those who want to do some exercise and relax can find their ideal place: a cycling path stretches from Cascais to Guincho beach and is very popular with runners, cyclists and lovers of inline skating.
For nature lovers in the area, there is a treasure to discover. Lord Byron called it "a garden of Eden." Hans Christian Andersen even called it "the most beautiful place in Portugal". And since the time of their travels, very little has changed in Sintra. In Sintra-Cascais National Park, less than an hour from Lisbon, time seems to have stopped. Almost 700 square kilometres of unspoiled nature, broken only by the few sleepy villages on the coast. Or the fairytale palaces that stand out in the woods. A place full of historical and cultural testimonies. So much so that, in 1995, it was declared a Unesco site.
Praia de Santa Cruz – Lisbon
The crystal clear water and pristine beach, along with the characteristic beauty bestowed by the picturesque cliffs, make Santa Cruz a popular seaside resort. In the southernmost area, the cliffs of Ponta da Vigia are the start of a rocky complex where the Penedo do Guincho stands out, a boulder 30 metres high and 100 metres wide, which at the base opens into a curved space crossed by the sea. On the rocks there are attractive terraces from which, on the clearest days you can admire a breathtaking panorama, from the lighthouse of Cabo Carvoeiro to the Berlengas Islands. For sure, there is no shortage of things to do, there is also a swimming pool and an Olympic shooting range: in the summer the beach is even more lively thanks to a whole series of events and tourist flights departing from thelocal aerodrome. The beach is popular with surfers, especially as there are more than five world tour surf contests in the area that offer the world's best professionals the chance to compete on world-class waves.
Praia de Magoito – Sintra
In the Portuguese city where the notes of the Fado sound, the historic palaces are a riot of decorations, the parks and gardens perfume the air with eternal spring and the beaches give a holiday view of this very special sea. Located in a deep valley and nestled between grandiose cliffs, from which you can enjoy a beautiful panorama, Praia do Magoito has a steep access, but its sheer beauty and iodine-rich air will repay you for your effort. The strong waves make this beach, equipped with an excellent infrastructure that guarantees relaxation and peace for tourists, the perfect place for surfing. It is also a family-friendly beach, as it is possible to walk quietly along the three-kilometre beach and play in the natural pools, created by a small river that flows here. There are also curiosities related to nature or geology; in fact on the north side of the beach a dune has been created.
Azenhas do Mar – Sintra
It only takes a single look to fall in love: a place where the wild and rough spirit of the ocean lives alongside the hospitable and warm atmospheres of Portugal. The name Azenhas do Mar comes from the word "azenha", which in Portuguese means "water mill." This is due to the historical presence of numerous mills driven by sea water, an architecture typical of the area’s past some of which today have survived today. The charm of the beach also lies in the very particular and picturesque location, since it is located atop a stark spur. The town of Sintra, a fairytale weave of colourful palaces that seem to have come straight out of a storybook thanks to their lush gardens, also survives on its attraction. At the top of the town, there is the castle of the Moors with its large park that stretches along the Serra da Sintra.
Praia de Dona Ana – Algarve
Praia da Dona Ana is one of the most picturesque beaches in the Algarve, Portugal's beautiful southern coastline and a wonderful location for a day at the beach. It is located south of Lagos, amidst limestone cliffs on the Ponta da Piedade headland. Beauty is one of its main features, as it is beautiful natural scenery: the heavily eroded cliffs reveal golden layers, the calm waters are a turquoise colour and the sand is soft and attractive. And that's not all: the sea stacks surrounding the beach create evocative reflections, especially at sunset. In addition to the wonderful view, we find all the amenities you expect from a famous beach: from restaurants to clubs passing for shops. Although hidden by the high rock faces, the beach is easily accessible thanks to a wide staircase and offers all the best conveniences for tourists. The waters are cold, but particularly clean and safe. The cove that encompasses Dona Ana is only 2.5 km from the centre of Lagos and is easily accessible even on foot, if you want to take a leisurely walk.
The details help, but it is the entire context that makes the difference. The Algarve is a region of beautiful beaches, picturesque fishing towns and a fantastic climate: this mix makes it a perfect destination for holidays. A wonderfully diverse destination, attracting a wide variety of tourists: there are unspoiled beaches for families, water parks for teenagers, a lively nightlife for young couples and historic cities for cultural tours.
Benagil Caves – Algarve
The Algarve, as we mentioned, is a Portuguese region of unique beauty, which does not fail to surprise people with its picturesque scenery and beautiful beaches. Benagil Cave is, however, something extra: it is a natural wonder that will take your breath away. The ocean manifests itself through the lapping of the waves. It will seem like being closed in an all-blue coffin. On the roof, a circular opening has formed from which the sunlight filters that projects onto the golden sand and the crystal clear water: in the middle, two majestic stone arches signal the entrance to the cave.
The particular shape of the cave is due to the erosion of waves and tides on sandstone cliffs. Rocky walls surround this striking window onto the sky by creating concentric circles in warm shades. Its inner beach, one of the most beautiful in Portugal, stretches for more than a hundred metres, intensifying the sense of vastness that you can perceive in this place. To swim in this cave, you have to travel a piece of the ocean by boat, kayak or swimming, if the waves allow it (the distance corresponds to three Olympic swimming pools). Here the tides can reach high levels, just as the seemingly calm ocean water could hide beneath the surface of strong currents.
Praia de Senhora da Rocha – Algarve
Nestled amongst high crags, Praia da Senhora da Rocha is a small beach with quiet, clean water, ideal for bathing or for going on nice boat trips along the coast, discovering the nearby caves. To the west, the beach is bordered by a rocky point that separates it from Praia Nova, to which it remains connected thanks to a tunnel dug into the rock. It is in this rocky tip that there is the enchanting chapel dedicated to Nossa Senhora da Rocha dating back to the 14th century, close to which you can admire a wonderful panorama of the coast of theAlgarve from the viewpoint.
Bordeira Beach – Algarve
Very close to the village of Carrapateira, from where you can access the beach via a paved road, the beautiful Praia da Bordeira has a large beach that increases considerably at low tide, turning it into one of the largest in the Algarve. Here flows the Ribeira da Bordeira River which sometimes forms a basin, much appreciated by children. Not much frequented by beachgoers, Bordeira is particularly popular with surfers and bodyboarders. A wild beach that stretches for three kilometres and that also allows restorative walks to breathe in the ocean air.
Praia de Odeceixe – Algarve
Beauty in these areas is a common thing. Praia de Odeceixe is one of the many wonderful beaches located in Aljezur with just over 5,000 inhabitants in the southern Algarve region. This beach, located close to the mouth of the Seixe River, and in addition to having obtained the blue flag for its overall quality, was voted amongst the top 7 beaches of Portugal for several years. The beach looks like a long and deep sandy tongue protected by high cliffs, both to the north and south. At low tide it becomes the "mobile" playground of children, who can have fun in one of the many ponds that the sea leaves behind on the sand. South of the main beach is a small cove with a sandy beach. The other must-see pearls are Praia do Amado, Praia da Amoreira, Praia da Arrifana and Praia do Monte Clérigo.
Praia do Amado – Algarve
Considered as one of the best Portuguese beaches for surfing Praia do Amado is frequented by sportsmen from all over Europe and often hosts international competitions. It is not only most experienced who come here, but amateurs and first-time surfers are also welcome: a well-known surf school is also nearby. Very popular in the summer months, the Praia do Amado knows how to combine beauty with infrastructure and services that make the stay of the holidaymakers unique.
The free spirits and lovers of breathtaking sunsets will certainly appreciate the cliffs of Carraprateira (in the western part of the Algarve) and its lovely beaches. Praia do Amado in this sense is unparalleled. Its fine sand and mild and breezy climate make the resort an ideal meeting point, for different needs. A place full of charm, but one that has a wild tinge that wins people over. The beach spans three valleys. To the north the warm, red and ochre tones of the cliffs are dominant; to the south, the grey of the carved rock walls, in the remaining part it is the landscape taking centre stage.
Despite being a very popular beach you can find quiet places, just walk a little, relax and breathe in the air deeply with your lungs. A network of walkways takes visitors to several vantage points. Discover the curious refuge of Zimbreirinha fishing, where boats merge on suspended wooden platforms into the cliff. This beach is less than 10 kilometres from Bordeira, one of the most important and vibrant centres in the South West Algarve region, and is easily accessible by car or motorbike.
Praia da Falesia –Albufeira
Also in the Algarve, this very long beach is characterised by rocks of red crag which create an incredible contrast with the blue of the sea and the white of the sand., to the point that the wonderful Praia da Falésia, the beach between Vilamoura and Olhos de Ogua, has been included in the 25 best beaches in the world by Tripadvsor Travellers' Choice that annually rewards tourist facilities, destinations, hotels and beaches with the votes of millions of travellers from all over the world. The beach stretches as far as the eye can see, lapping the crystal clear and not-too-cold waters of the ocean.
An enchanted place both for solitary figures and for families. Beyond the cliffs surrounding the stretch of sand, in fact, there are resorts, campsites and restaurants where you can enjoy some delicious fresh fish. The beach is accessible via a staircase close to the parking lot, completely free of charge. It is a few miles from Albufeira the "fortress of the sea", one of the most famous and characteristic tourist centres of southern Portugal. A must for a binge of sunbathing and dreamy beaches. The city embodies the different souls of Portuguese culture: along its winding alleys we find testimony to the roots dating back to the Roman Empire, the fascinating Arab influences (it remained under the rule of the Moors for many centuries), and then the reconquest by the Portuguese and Christian people from 1249. In every corner, Albufeira proudly shows its history, telling it to the tourist against the backdrop of a wonderful view of the ocean and its beaches now famous all over the world.
Praia da Comporta - Alentejo
Nature, charm and fun in one place. Located at the southern end of the Troia Peninsula, the huge Praia da Comporta shoreline is popular with tourists thanks to the beauty of the places, the ease of access and the extensive parking it is equipped with. Being within the limits of Estuario do Sado Nature Reserve, Praia da Comporta is a protected natural space, surrounded by a pine forest, where the original vegetation existing on the dunes has been preserved.
The slightly rough sea allows people to go kitesurfing, to the point that the resort is now the scene of international competitions. Comporta is the new trendy destination, nestled between the ocean, the estuary of the Sado River, with the varied landscape between rice paddies and pine forests.
They have even noticed it abroad as the Guardian ranked it amongst the 20 best beaches in Europe and it was also chosen among the National Geographic 21 Best of the World resorts. Here, where Portuguese noble families have always spent their holidays, members of the Royal Families, famous actors and well-known politicians have all been spotted.
A paradise of peace, where you ride a horse or bike, you can enjoy the spectacular sunset as it plunges into the Atlantic, sitting at a chiringuito or in the fish restaurants housed in the old of white and blue fishermen’s cottages. And where people live in respect of ecology: the rules are strict: there is an absolute ban on building almost anywhere. Only nature and fishermen's huts can coexist. Green is also the absolute protagonist in the Sado Estuary nature reserve. Here you will find several species of birds and a few dozen dolphins, amidst marshes, sandbanks, rice paddies and a huge extension of forest and reed beds. This protected area is also home to some endangered species, such as the black bat and the otter.
Praia dos Galapinhos – Setubal
Surrounded by the beautiful landscape of the Serra da Arrabida, Praia de Galapos, one of the most beautiful in the region, is sheltered from the cliffs that protect it from the wind, and which help keep the sea calm. After Lisbon and Porto, Setubal is one of the most important cities in Portugal and it is here, with its parks, nature reserves and a more than picturesque bay, that we find some of the best Lusitano beaches. Praia dos Galapinhos is the most beautiful in Portugal for nature lovers and simple landscapes. Immersed in the Arrabida National Park, home to numerous protected animal and plant species, the beach is nestled in a magical bay, amidst clear sand, small rocks, sloping rocks and clean water. However, there is no shortage of conveniences for tourists, with kiosks and restaurants nearby.
From here you must visit the central part of Setubal, with all its bays and cliffs, with the Arrabida nature park that cannot be missed. The island's vantage points guarantee the view of the gigantic Cristo Rei, which is reminiscent of the Redeemer of Rio de Janeiro. After this touch of spirituality, you can get caught up in the beauty of the landscape. The charm of Cabo Espichel, a threatening-looking headland that scares and attracts at the same time, is bewitching, with the visitor’s gaze that will inevitably go to its slopes. There, where the ocean waves crash strongly, being one of the few noises all around. In fact, there is nothing in the area but a church and an ancient lighthouse, dating back to 1790.
Praia de Marinha – Carvoeiro
Praia da Marinha is one of the most beautiful and emblematic beaches on the Algarve coast, so much so that it is ranked amongst the top 5 most beautiful beaches in Portugal and amongst the top 10 in the world. Thanks to its beauty, it has become the perfect scenario for photo shoots and reports. This small beach is surrounded by cliffs eroded over the years, which have thus generated a variety of rock formations such as arches, caves or natural wells. The most impressive of these is 50 metres high, and all the other small rocks seem to dance around them. Beautiful contrast between the crystal clear and turquoise colours of the sea with the golden colour of the rock. The rocky walls of Praia da Marinha are home to the marine varieties present in the territory and are habitats of anemones, urchins, sea stars and shrimp. In addition, the seaweed hides cuttlefish and octopus. This corner of preserved, almost wild nature is very popular with diving enthusiasts, because here you can take a nice trip amidst the natural underwater beauty of the Algarve.
Visit portugal beaches with Costa Cruise
When you think about the sea in Portugal we often fantasise: golden beaches, lovely waves, a sea breeze moving your hair, smoothing the cliffs. If you close your eyes, incredible colours remain in your mind, the shades of sand and sky are mixed, the noises and people's happy voices can be heard. In fact, all this is enclosed in the Portuguese beaches that are not afraid of rivals. Portugal has a cheeky fortune: it can boast the beauty of 948 kilometres of coastline overlooking the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. But this is just a matter of quantity: it is the quality that makes the difference and this comes from the fact that much of the country enjoys a temperate Mediterranean climate and some of the most beautiful beaches in the nation could climb on an ideal podium in a competition between the shores of Europe. You just have to visit the beaches and experience them in all their beauty.