Praia da Bordeira's boardwalk into the water
Diego Gennaro 

The Best Beaches In Portugal

For beach-goers, Portugal is prime.

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Portugal is home to over 800 beaches along its extensive coastline, spanning from the mainland to the islands of Madeira and the Azores. While the Algarve is particularly famous for its year-round sun-kissed sands and scenic rock formations, there’s more to explore beyond well-known locations like Praia da Marinha and the Benagil Sea Cave. 

From pristine Blue Flag beaches to secluded hike-ins, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite sandy spots, along with the best places to eat and sleep nearby.

The cliffs of Praia Dona Ana against the turquoise water in Portugal
iStock | samael334

Praia Dona Ana | Lagos

A fantastic spot for snorkeling, Praia Dona Ana is enclosed by dramatic gold-colored cliffs, a hallmark of the Algarve coast​. Beach-goers can explore little cave structures and observe a variety of fish, anemones, octopuses, and sea stars​. A footpath along the cliffs connects Praia Dona Ana to neighboring beaches, and at low tide, it’s possible to walk between some of these beaches. 

Praia Dos Buiznhos little cove
iStock | fbatista72

Praia dos Buizinhos | Sines

Praia dos Buizinhos, near the picturesque fishing village of Porto Covo, is a small, family-friendly sandy beach. Named for the many shells in its sands, used in local crafts​​, the beach is surrounded by spectacular cliffs and rocks, making it one of the most sheltered beaches in Porto Covo. 

Rocks of Praia da Rocha, one of Portugal's most notable beaches
iStock | Nisangha

Praia da Rocha | Portimão

Flanked by dramatic yellow cliffs, Praia da Rocha features the Fortaleza de Santa Catarina, a medieval fortress providing panoramic views of the coastline. Take the well-maintained promenade to the nearby Praia dos Três Castelos to see the rock formations at Miradouro dos Três Castelos  

The vibrant bars, restaurants, and casino along the boardwalk are a popular destination for younger crowds, reminiscent of the French Riviera. Stay at the Relais & Chateaux Bela Vista Hotel & Spa

Praia da Bordeira's boardwalk into the water
Diego Gennaro 

Praia da Bordeira | Aljezur

For those seeking a wild beach, Praia da Bordeira just north of Carrapateira and part of the Costa Vicentina, spans over 3km. The beach features a broad sandy expanse backed by rocky cliffs, a dynamic dune system, and a river that sometimes forms a shallow lagoon. 

Grab a bite at Microbar in Carrapateira before heading down to the beach for some surf lessons with Carrapateira Surf School.  

The saltwater pool looking into the ocean on Praia Grande
iStock | DoraDalton

Praia Grande | Sintra

Praia Grande in Sintra, notable for over 2km of pristine golden sands, is recognized for its surfing conditions, hosting significant surfing and bodyboarding championships. Unique to this beach are 51 dinosaur footprints from 170 million years ago, visible at low tide on its southern cliffs. 

It also features Europe’s largest saltwater swimming pool at Arribas Hotel, accessible to the public with a day pass, where you can enjoy delicious seafood dinner at the restaurant and an Atlantic view from your room. 

The tidy, white striped colorful houses of Costa Nova
iStock | Antonio Duarte

Praia da Costa Nova | Ilhavo

Costa Nova is famous for its “Palheiros da Costa Nova,” colorful striped houses along José Estêvão Avenue, originally fishermen’s homes. It’s a hub for water sports like windsurfing, kitesurfing, and surfing, with equipment rentals and lessons available. 

Costa Nova features expansive sandy shores bordered by dunes and vibrant houses, along with one of the best beach restaurants in Europe, Bronze Seafood & Lounge Bar

The spit of sand connecting Baleal Island to Paniche that is Praia Baleal
iStock | DaLiu

Praia Baleal | Peniche

Praia Baleal is a distinctive beach that acts as a natural bridge to Baleal Island, and a backdrop to consistent waves. It is celebrated for hosting the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, attracting the world’s surfing elite annually. Named for its resemblance to a whale, Baleal provides varied surf breaks catering to all skill levels, including the famous Supertubos. 

Book a surf and yoga retreat with The Salty Pecan to fully experience the area’s laid-back lifestyle. 

One of the cliffs on the Costa da Caparica with a remote trail leading into the sandy beach
iStock | Pixelbizz

Praia da Fonte da Telha | Almada

Enveloped by the Arriba Fóssil protected area’s sandstone cliffs, Praia da Fonte da Telha offers visitors a rare glimpse into prehistoric landscapes just outside Lisbon. The popular beach is one of the best places to catch a sunset over the Atlantic, surf, and escape the city. 

Its expansive shoreline is a gateway to exploring other remarkable beaches along the Costa da Caparica, such as Praia da Mata and Praia do Rei. 

Sunset, cliffs, and ocean at Praia da adraga
Natalia Alves 

Praia da Adraga | Sintra

Surreal rock formations and golden sand make this secluded beach a prime location for photographers (especially at low tide), and a magical experience for all. Grab lunch at the Restaurante de Adraga on the beach, and then head out to watch the surfers from the soft sand. 

Although access to the beach requires a car, this allows for opportunities to explore the area to see other natural wonders, including the Alvidrar Stone and the Fojo, a natural well. 

Sea stacks and cliffs of Marinha Beach
iStock | Fotoeventis

Marinha Beach | Lagoa

Marinha Beach in Lagoa, celebrated for its remarkable cliffs, has been lauded as one of Portugal’s finest beaches, receiving several awards. Famous for its distinctive “M rock” formation, Marinha has earned Quercus’s “Golden Quality Beach” award for its environmental excellence. 

Most ideal for snorkeling, it has rich marine life and is accessible via a scenic staircase, complete with a snack bar at the base. 

The bear and her cub rock formation at Praia da Ursa
 Ýlona María Rybka

Praia da Ursa | Sintra

Praia da Ursa, adjacent to Europe’s westernmost point, Cabo da Roca, is named for its distinctive “Rocha da Ursa” rock formation, resembling a bear and cub. This remote beach, renowned for its photogenic vistas, particularly at sunset, is accessible via a challenging trail demanding sturdy, close-toed footwear. 

Without lifeguard services and facing strong ocean currents, visitors must exercise caution. The beach is beautiful, but do not underestimate nature: pack plenty of water, snacks, a first-aid kit, and flip-flops to change into after hiking the rocky, sandy trail.  

Stairs up the ochre cliffs that lead to Praia de Falesia's boardwalk
iStock | Frankonline

Praia da Falésia | Albufeira

Renowned for its dramatic red cliffs extending over 6 km from Vilamoura to Olhos de Água, Praia da Falésia’s beach is recognized worldwide. The beach’s geography varies from high cliffs at Olhos de Água to more family-friendly areas near Vilamoura. 

Stroll on the beach or hike atop the cliff; both offer incredible views. Stay at the top of the cliffs at 5-star Epic Sana, a 10-minute walk to the beach down the stairs.

Expansive stretch of white sand at Meia Praia
iStock | chrisdorney

Meia Praia | Lagos

Meia Praia, one of the Algarve’s longest beaches, extends over 4 km with its wide, ample space even during the busy season. It’s the perfect place for swimming, windsurfing, and sailing against the dune-backed landscape, which contrasts with other Algarve beaches that are often enclosed by cliffs. 

Easily reachable via a footbridge from Lagos Marina, the beach has several standout eateries nearby, but the place to be seen is right on the beach-front terrace at the Bahia Beach Bar & Restaurant, newly refurbished in 2017. 

Praia de Rainha's small cove tucked between the packed red-roofed houses of Cascais
iStock | BrasilNut1

Praia da Rainha | Cascais

Celebrated for its transformation from a fishing village to a sophisticated seaside resort, Cascais is a worthwhile visit from Lisbon. The town’s coastline is dotted with a series of small, picturesque beaches, each with its unique character. Praia da Rainha, once exclusively reserved for Portuguese royalty, stands out among them. 

Accessible via a narrow path, the beach is encased by rocks, offering a popular retreat in the center of town. Like most resort towns, there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from, most notably The Oitavos, Farol Hotel, and The Albatroz Hotel.

Drink station at Camilo Beach

Camilo Beach | Lagos

In Lagos, Algarve, Praia do Camilo is known for its dramatic cliffs, secluded feel, and a steep wooden staircase (descending over 200 steps) leading to the beach, providing expansive ocean views. 

At low tide, the beach reveals hidden coves and sandbanks, highlighted by a natural sea-sculpted archway. Within a protected reserve, Camilo Beach underscores ecological significance, best enjoyed at the cliff-top restaurant O Camilo

Aerial view of the waves meeting the sand on Comporta beach
Diogo Monteiro 

Comporta Beach | Troia

Praia da Comporta, in the Alentejo region at Troia Peninsula’s southern tip, stretches over 12 kilometers of untouched shores within the Sado Estuary Natural Reserve, celebrated for its biodiversity (including flamingos and dolphins). 

Surrounded by rice paddies, reflective of its agricultural legacy and the “comportas” used in rice farming, the town of Comporta is noted for its minimalist yet chic beach bars and eateries, blending local flavors with a cosmopolitan flair. 

The beach is backed by dunes, with wooden walkways safeguarding the habitat while providing access to the beach. The beach itself is expansively sandy and has views of distant mountains across the water. A favorite among celebrities, go here for seclusion (but stay near this beach less you wander into a non-clothing area), and be sure to book a room at Quinta da Comporta

Sao Jacinto sandy dunes
iStock | chriss73

São Jacinto | Aveiro

São Jacinto Beach, located in Aveiro’s São Jacinto Dunes Natural Reserve, stands out for its ecological significance and untouched beauty, contrasting sharply with the country’s commercialized beaches. 

Stay nearby at Pousada Ria or take the ferry from Aveiro (Forte de Barra station) through the Ria de Aveiro lagoon. After a day at the beach and experiencing this unique habitat for migratory and endemic birds, return to Aveiro for dinner at the award-winning Salpoente

The interior of Benagil cave, with a hole in the top allowing sun onto the sance and water below
iStock | Bruna Galiza

Benagil Cave Beach | Lagoa

Iconic Benagil Cave Beach is famed for its remarkable sea cave, accessible via boat, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard, with rentals available on Benagil Beach itself. Exploring the cave through a guided tour with Treasure Tours is an especially magical experience. However, swimming to the cave is highly discouraged due to safety concerns, including strong currents and heavy boat traffic.​​​​

The cave showcases stunning natural architecture, sculpted by erosion and wave action, captivating with its interplay of light and shadow​​. It is extremely popular — visit during the shoulder seasons (spring or autumn) to avoid the crowds​​​​.

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