By Darren Griffiths

The Best Beaches in Portugal for Every Beachgoer

21st July 2023

When it comes to traveling in Europe, Portugal, and its Atlantic Ocean coastline see millions of beachgoing travelers each year, so here is a guide to the best beaches in Portugal for all types of beachgoers and water activities.

Not only does Portugal have some of the world’s most beautiful beaches along its Atlantic Ocean coastline and on the shores of its islands, but it also has many blue flag beaches, well-equipped beaches, resorts, beach bars, and water sports.

A beach holiday in Portugal is sure to meet your needs and in this post, we cover the most stunning beaches for surfing, swimming, and snorkelling, for families, and couples, and for getting away from the crowds. So let’s dive into Portugal’s most gorgeous beaches!

Related reading: 
The Best Towns and Places to Stay in the Algarve, Portugal

The Best Ways to Spend a Weekend in Portugal
16 Best Portugal Hikes and Trails

The Best Beaches in Portugal for Surfing

Praia do Guincho

This beach is a bit more rugged than the others listed, but it’s still a popular local spot for surfing and swimming.

Situated between the Cascais and Sintra mountains, Praia do Guincho is near Libson and is one of the easiest beaches to reach via public transportation.

Praia do Guincho Beach, Portugal
Praia do Guincho Beach, Portugal

Most visitors flock to this wild beach because of its large waves, making it one of the best beaches in Portugal for surfing.

There are plenty of surf shops near the beach, and lessons can be booked year-round. Here, you can find instructors, rent boards and wet suits, and whatever else you may need. 

If you’re a more experienced surfer, the ideal time to travel to this beach is in the winter: the winds come from the east, causing the swells to increase in size, turning this beach into a surfing hotspot.

Additionally, there’s about 800 meters of coastline, delivering plenty of space for visitors – but with the large tides and constant breeze, this place isn’t the best choice for families. 

Areia Branca Beach

If you’re looking for surf schools and the perfect beach to learn how to surf, Areia Branca beach fits the bill. This semi-popular beach – which translates to “White Sand Beach” – is located near a traditional Portuguese coastal village and is suitable for swimming and surfing.

Areia Branca Beach, Portugal
Areia Branca Beach, Portugal

There is access for all beachgoers, and in the summer, there are lifeguards on patrol. 

The biggest perk of this beach for surfers is located less than two miles from the main stretch of sand: the popular Da Silva Surfcamp is the main reason surfers of all levels flock to this hidden gem.

This surf camp is situated right next to the gloriously sunny beach, where you can put your surfing skills to the test.

By spending the day here, you can easily learn to surf with the help of the experienced staff. You can also rent equipment, and share a meal with the locals.

No matter how experienced (or inexperienced) you may be, this is one of the most beautiful beaches with the best waves in Europe. 

Runner-Up Beaches for Surfing – Praia da Costa Nova and Praia da Almograve

Praia da Costa Nova is the best place to surf in the Aveiro region in Northern Portugal. Praia da Costa Nova is 9 km long and is without shelter so it gets some excellent surfing waves.

The other thing Praia da Costa Nova is known for is its traditional fishing huts, called Palheiros, which are painted in bright stripes. They’re not just photogenic, they’ve also been converted into houses that make the perfect place to stay for a Northern Portugal surfing holiday.

Praia da Almograve is near Vila Nova de Milfontes and is a wild and windswept beach popular with surfers because of its large waves.

The Best Beaches in Portugal for Families

The Algarve

Whether you’re traveling alone, with a significant other, or even with family, a day at this stunning beach is the closest thing to perfect you could find while exploring Portugal.

Praia De Cavaleiro, Beach, Portugal
Praia De Cavaleiro, Beach, Portugal

Located just east of the small fishing town called Carvoeiro, this is one of the most popular best beaches in Portugal.

If you’re looking to get away from the main stretch of the Praia De Benagil beach, you may want to look into what else this beach has to offer. Praia De Benagil is a magnificent beach but is mostly known for its caves, which are around 200 meters away from the main area. 

This extraordinary cave ceiling is a popular photo destination that allows the beautiful blue skies to shine through while swimming or exploring.

Once you reach these caves, you’ll understand why Praia De Benagil is dubbed one of Portugal’s best-secluded beaches. To reach these well-known caves, kayaks, small boats, and paddleboards can be rented out.

If you consider yourself a great swimmer, you can take the ten-minute journey and reach the caves on your own steam – just be sure to check tides and currents before setting out. 

Praia da Rocha

Praia De Rocha has always been a classic destination for families that want to make the most out of their holidays.

Praia da Rocha, Portugal
Praia de Rocha, Portugal

This golden sand beach is very safe and has clear waters perfect for swimming and enjoying water sports with the whole family. The only downside of this location is that the water is quite cold!

Praia da Rocha and the nearby city are extremely family-focused, offering restaurants, water sports, boating, and plenty of things for families to do while on holiday.

During peak season, this stretch of sand is always crowded with tourists, couples, and families spending an enjoyable day in the great outdoors. 

The Best Secluded Beaches in Portugal

Praia De Benagil 

This is one of the best beaches in Portugal for families because of the soft sand and excellent swimming possibilities.

There are no stones in the sea, making it an ideal place to dive in, but it is important to note that the depths vary: it goes from shallow to deep very quickly.

Praia De Benagil, Beach, Portugal 
Praia De Benagil, Beach, Portugal 

Because of Praia De Benagil’s location, the cliffs prevent it from being too windy, helping this slice of paradise stay at an ideal temperature throughout the day. 

If you’re interested in spending the day here or exploring the caves, it’s relatively easy to get to. If you’re driving, parking is free of charge and is located on the top of the hills.

If you do choose to park here, you’ll need to walk for seven minutes down a steep hill to reach the sand. There is also parking alongside the road nearer to the beach, but it’s limited, and you must be confident that your vehicle won’t roll back down the hill!

You can also take a bus from Lagoa to Praia dé Carvalho and walk along the coastline to get to Praia De Benagil.

Praia De Cavaleiro (Knight Beach)

Located near a small village named Cavaleiro on the Alentejo Coast, this miniature golden beach has a hidden surprise at low tide.

Praia De Cavaleiro
The main and busy Praia de Cavalheiro (keep going around until you find Knight beach)

Situated between dramatic rock formations, this beach is difficult to access when tides are high, making it perfect if you’re looking for a place off the beaten path.

Once the waves clear and the water has receded, a hidden paradise of golden sand and warm water is revealed.

Because this small beach is located in a cove, the rock ledges shelter swimmers from strong winds and large waves.

At first glance, this beach seems to be somewhat overlooked, making it the perfect spot for those looking for the beauty of a tiny, secluded bay. 

Runner-Up Beach for Seclusion – São Jacinto beach

In the Aveiro region of Northern Portugal, you’ll find numerous beaches that are perfect for body surfing, reading a book, and just being with nature.

Praia de São Jacinto is a wild beach, usually deserted except for the birds, with miles of long white sandy beach and rolling dunes to get lost in. You get there via a boardwalk and the dunes border a nature park.

The Best Beaches in Portugal for Swimming

Praia da Fuseta

This large, lengthy beach is located on a small island east of the Algarve region, facing the North Atlantic sea.

Praia da Fuseta, Beach, Portugal
Praia da Fuseta, Beach, Portugal

This island beach offers plenty of options for swimmers, beachgoers, families, and lovers of beautiful seascapes. In the summer, Praia Da Fuseta is a hit for swimmers and those learning to surf.

With tiny waves, this spot is ideal for beginners and a treat for those who love to swim.

The waters here are warm, shallow, and patrolled by lifeguards during peak seasons. This beach is walking distance from the town of Fuseta, which is packed with small restaurants, cafes, and tourist attractions for families and solo travelers. 

Praia da Falésia

Praia Da Falesia is a gorgeous five-mile-long stretch of golden sand, lush greenery, and turquoise waves. With incredibly soft sand and crystal clear waters, swimming at this beach is ideal for travelers of all ages

Praia Da Falesia, Portugal
Praia Da Falesia, Portugal

In the summer, it’s quite crowded due to its top rating on Tripadvisor. Plus, it’s not only known as one of the best beaches in Portugal but also the world!

Praia de Falesia is divided into an eastern and western half. The eastern half of this beach is protected by short rocky cliffs and has shallow waters, especially during low tide.

At this time, you can walk about 50 meters into the sea, making it especially suitable for children.

On this side of the beach, there are all sorts of water sports for families, couples, and solo travelers to participate in, including paragliding, diving, and surfing.

You can rent water equipment and sun loungers or enjoy a meal at small food stands. On the beach’s western side, the cliffs are more dramatic and are home to some popular 5-star resorts.

If you wish to walk from one end of this beach to another, it will take you a little less than two hours. 

The Best Beaches in Portugal for Snorkeling

Praia Dona Ana

With rock formations and cliffs surrounding its marvelous blue waters, Praia Dona Ana is one of the most picturesque beaches Portugal has to offer.

Located south of Lagos in between limestone sea cliffs, this natural beach is inviting for travels of all types.

Praia Dona Ana, Beach, Portugal
Praia Dona Ana, Beach, Portugal

Along with the wonderful scenery, there are tons of restaurants, shops, and activities a short five-minute drive from the main entrance.

From the outside, this looks like a typical beach, but the real beauty of this spot is how ideal it is for those who love snorkeling. 

With its underground caves, Praia Dona Ana is perfect for people longing for an exotic snorkeling experience.

The main draw of this beach is that its underwater caves are home to all types of sea creatures, making it an incredible spot to explore on a sunny day.

With warm, crystal clear waters, there is much to discover under the surface – all you have to do is grab your snorkel and dive in. 

Praia da Marinha

Praia da Marinha makes this list of the best Portugal beaches but is also known as one of the ten most beautiful beaches in Europe and ranked in the top 100 in the world due to its crystal clear waters.

Praia da Marinha, Portugal
Praia da Marinha, Portugal

Surrounded by strikingly steep cliffs, there’s a breathtaking view from the top.

This well-maintained beach has delicate sand, calm waters, and no wind. On a sunny day, make sure to bring sunblock because there’s no shade available here.

A dip in the water will suit just about everyone, and taking the time to explore the underwater world by snorkeling is a treat that shouldn’t be missed. 

Praia da Marinha, Portugal

A short swim from this beach, the water is transparent, making it a popular snorkeling destination. There are plenty of marine species to see and a few underwater caves to search.

This is a small spot for snorkeling, but one you should check out nonetheless. Unfortunately, there are no shops nearby to buy or rent snorkeling gear, so you should bring your own. 

The Best Beaches in Portugal for Couples

Praia do Baleal

This is a magical spot for couples to explore. About an hour’s drive north of Lisbon, this small sandy beach makes a great day trip for those wishing to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Praia do Baleal Beach, Portugal
Praia do Baleal Beach, Portugal

Large rocks make this a secluded spot, and during low tide, bathing lagoons are available for those who want to share a romantic moment.

The biggest perk of this beach is that very few know about it, so few tourists or locals visit, making it an ideal spot for some quality time. 

Praia do Creiro

Praia Do Creiro is a beautiful, but uncrowded beach surrounded by stunning, making it a must-visit location for couples traveling in Portugal.

Praia do Creiro, Portugal
Praia do Creiro, Portugal

This is a more extensive beach than most, but it has picturesque views, clean sand, clear water, and a great environment no matter what you’re looking for.

Because Praia do Creiro is quite spacious, couples can enjoy a day alone or join others at beach restaurants and bars located in the nearby town.

The only downside is that the water is quite cold, making swimming a bit less enjoyable for some. 

Runner-Up beaches for Couples – Praia da Miramar and Camilo Beach

It’s not just the Algarve region of southern Portugal that has amazing beaches – northern Portugal has it’s share of moody, wild, and romantic beaches.

Praia da Miramar is a romantic beach surrounding the lonely Capela do Senhor da Pedra near Porto. It’s perfect for watching the sunset.

Camilo Beach is near Lagos in the Algarve and is spectacularly beautiful. Below the sandstone cliffs are two small beaches connected by caves. It makes for a romantic beach day for any couple.

Other Beaches We Love

  • Praia da Bordeira – a wild beach in the Algarve region.
  • Comporta beach – it takes just under an hour’s drive south of Lisbon to reach this lovely region of white beaches with strolling vendors offering cream-filled doughnuts.
  • Carcavelos Beach – even closer to Lisbon is super popular with families and all kinds of water sports enthusiasts. It’s a perfect day out from Lisbon and takes only 20 minutes on the train.
  • Praia da Adraga – at the foot of the Sintra mountains, north of Lisbon is beautifully calm in summer and has a reef that provides powerful and fast waves for local surfers.

Don’t Make the Mistake of Missing Out On These Best Beaches in Portugal When Traveling

Portugal is home to around 600 miles of coastline, offering plenty of diverse beaches for every beach-lover. With excellent weather almost year-round, traveling to Portugal is on many people’s must-visit travel lists.

Albufeira Beach at sunset, Algarve, Portugal
Albufeira Beach at sunset, Algarve, Portugal

There are numerous beaches located in this country; some remain untouched by tourists or locals, even in the warm summer months, while others offer visitors crystal-blue waters, sandy beach areas, and family attractions for all to enjoy. 

Whether you’re looking to surf some intense swells, want to relax with your partner, or have fun with the family, the wide range of Portugal beaches suit every traveler’s needs.

All you have to do is book the flight and experience the beauty of Portugal’s beaches!

Related reading:
One Week in Portugal: The Highlights 7 Day Itinerary
Two Weeks in Portugal: Our 5 Highlights Itinerary