Portugal may have some stunning cities, but the beaches in Portugal are something else. Portugal’s beaches are famously dramatic, with soft sand and bright orange sea cliffs. Its Atlantic Ocean coastline is full of hidden coves and even secret cave beaches like Praia de Benagil – which is only accessible by boat or kayak. Whether you have three days on the Algarve or a five-day break in Sintra, you’ll want to visit at least one of the most beautiful Portugal beaches. Most hotels in Portugal have an outdoor swimming pool, but nothing beats the feeling of sand underfoot and salty waves. It’s official; Portugal beaches are a necessity.
18 Best Portugal Beaches
Are you ready to get inspired by some of the best beaches in Portugal? You don’t have to stay in the Algarve region either; this guide will cover the best of the country’s beaches. We’ll show you beaches that are incredible for water sports, finding secret caves, and relaxing on sun loungers with stunning sea cliff views.
1. Praia da Marinha
Praia da Marinha is one of the most famous attractions for anyone staying near Benagil, apart from Praia de Benagil itself. If you’ve already visited the Insta-famous sea caves, this dramatically located beach is one of the prettiest spots for a beach day. Praia da Marinha is located at the bottom of sea cliffs, accessible via a flight of extremely steep wooden stairs or by boat or kayak – the choice is yours. It is an adventurous beach to reach.
And this is all part of the allure. It also has some eye-catching natural rock formations, including offshore stacks and a spectacular nature arch that you can swim under. We had to add it to this list for its photogenic appeal and quirky access routes.
How to get to the beach: To reach Praia da Marinha, you park up along Estr. Da Marinha in the designated car park and then hike down the steps to reach the beach. Alternatively, you can take a boat tour or rent a kayak from nearby and make the journey by water.
2. Praia de São Jacinto
Many Portugal beaches have bright golden sands, but Praia de São Jacinto breaks that mold. This beach has bright white sands, stretching for miles as part of the São Jacinto Dunes Natural Reserve, essentially just paradise on Earth. The beach has a windswept aesthetic with a backdrop of alternating pine forests and marshes; it is breathtaking, and we couldn’t resist adding it to this guide.
It is popular amongst anyone who appreciates a good view, but also with local surfers. The waves are perfect for water sports, and while it is too quiet to host regular surf schools, it is an ideal spot for experienced surfers visiting Portugal. Just rent a board nearby and head to this spot for the ultimate surfing beach day.
How to get to the beach: To reach this beach, you can drive or catch a ferry – depending on whether you are staying north or south of the beach. There is abundant street parking so that you won’t be stuck for a parking spot. There are also plenty of facilities, including showers. Don’t forget to bring a camera, as the little colorful fishing boats left around are some of the most photogenic spots in Portugal.
3. Praia da Costa Nova
Praia da Costa Nova is a stunning spot in Portugal, with a beautiful backdrop of colorful painted houses. It is one of the most characterful beaches in Portugal – especially if you want a more ‘beach town’ atmosphere with cafes and independent shops just a short walk away.
You can stroll along the soft sands and admire the rows of red, yellow, blue, and greenhouses. It has a much prettier setting than other beaches in urban areas and a cutesy vibe with a photogenic aesthetic. Take advantage of the town setting to try fresh fish and regional seafood dishes; there’s even a marina with local fishermen taking regular trips to catch hauls for the town’s restaurants and cafes.
How to get to the beach: Praia da Costa Nova is approximately an hour’s drive south of Porto, so an easy day trip to add to a city break. After all, everyone appreciates a beach day after back-to-back sightseeing days.
4. Praia da Adraga
Praia da Adraga is a stunning inlet just outside of Lisbon. Just checking the pictures, you’d be shocked to think such a picturesque, remote-seeming beach could be just a 50-minute drive outside a major city center. It is well worth the detour if you are staying in or nearby Lisbon.
The beach has bright blue waters and intensely golden sands broken up by irregular and dramatic stacks that stick up like black shards of glass. And at low tide, you can get up close to the jagged rock formations and even enter some caves along the cliffs. Photographers especially flock to snap pictures through the caves and to frame the jagged stacks. For golden sand, volcanic rocks, and plenty of rock pools, you really can’t go wrong with Praia da Adraga.
This beach made it onto our list for its convenient location and striking natural beauty. It has a rough and adventurous atmosphere that makes it one of the more exciting beaches in Portugal. Don’t expect to swim – the waters are typically too choppy.
5. Camilo Beach
One thing is for sure; you’ll get your steps in with a visit to Camilo Beach. This spot is only accessible via water or by 200 chunky-cut wooden steps. You’ll make the scenic climb down to the waterfront with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and burnt orange landscape.
Once you reach the beach, you can access two separate beaches divided by an exciting tunnel through the cliff face. If you have children, this is one of the most fun beaches to visit in Portugal, as there’s a real sense of magic with the tunnel to a new beach. Visiting is easily one of the best things to do in Lagos, and it has a novelty appeal that attracts crowds of fun-seeking tourists.
How to get to the beach: Camilo Beach is just outside Lagos’ center, accessible on foot within a 30-minute walk. Despite its proximity to such a central tourist spot, facilities are almost non-existent, so Camilo Beach has a wild appeal. Bring snacks, beach towels, and umbrellas if you want guaranteed shade.
6. Praia da Nazaré
Nazare Beach is 1.5km long, with expansive sands and plenty of room to sunbathe away from other tourists – no matter the season. It is the only beach near Nazare suitable for swimming, as it’s slightly sheltered from the stronger waves, unlike the nearby Praia do Norte.
You can paddle, sunbathe on the sand, and enjoy the nearby bar and restaurant scene. Nazare is a sweet little town with bright white buildings and traditional terracotta-colored roofing. It is just an hour and a half away from Lisbon by car, so a feasible day trip for anyone wanting a more spacious beach option. Its major draws are its spaciousness and easy access to Nazare’s dining and party scene.
How to get to the beach: Walking to Nazare Beach from the town center is a breeze, and everything is compact and around the center. You can check out the shops, restaurants, and cafes while enjoying beautiful ocean views.
7. Praia de Tróia Mar
This striking peninsula is the best option for anyone wanting a wow factor. Praia de Tróia Mar has white sand stretching onto the horizon with electric blue waters that taper off in shallow waters – ideal for peaceful wading and families with younger children. The soft sands and coastal shrubs are a blissful place to spend a laidback afternoon.
The beach’s serene location at the end of a peninsula means that you don’t get many tourists, only those people venturing to the end to see the beach. It is a wild beach, and getting there is an adventurous road trip. The serene, wistful atmosphere is impossible not to love, and if you stay anywhere near Lisbon, it is well worth visiting.
How to get to the beach: To reach this beach, you drive past Comporta and to the end of the N253-1. You can also catch a ferry from Setubal if you fancy a more adventurous way of getting to this beach destination.
8. Praia da Rocha
A boardwalk backs Praia da Rocha, and if you make it to the end of the hike, there’s an iconic red and white lighthouse. The vast golden sands are spacious enough to avoid being near other tourists, and it has all the space to have a secluded bay experience, despite being backed by the tourist town of Praia da Rocha.
That space and the boardwalk hike are the main things that caught our attention, but its sleepy tourist town location is also a plus if you like wandering between cafes and small shops. All in all, for classic beach views and an active beach trip, this golden beach is perfect.
How to get to the beach: To get to this beach from its same-named town is an easy walk from anywhere in its center. Or, if you are staying nearby, an easy drive along major coastal roads.
9. Praia da Falesia
Praia da Falesia is a great beach with great looks. The beach, famous for its orange sea cliffs, is located in Albufeira and is the perfect getaway for a day on sun loungers or indulging in watersports. There’s also a restaurant and bar, because what more could you want? The sandstone cliffs are its main attractions, with parts of the orange rock eroded and broken down into fine powder so that you can see red and orange coloring up to the water’s edge.
How to get to the beach: You can quickly drive to Praia da Falesia, and there is a huge car park for the high capacity of visitors that this beach attracts. It has a fun, organized appeal with plenty of sun loungers and facilities available.
10. Praia Dona Ana
Praia Dona Ana is a popular little cove right next to Lagos, within walking distance of its center. The water is so bright it appears almost green in sections, and dramatic sea stacks shelter the beach from harsher winds and currents. It has a tucked-away feel and is a beautiful place to visit to romanticize your life for an afternoon. Praia Dona Ana is a fun attraction if you are staying in Lagos, and you can spend a day on the beach before heading up to enjoy a sunset dinner at the seafood bar that overlooks it.
How to get to the beach: To get to Praia Dona Ana, you’ll tackle some serious stairs. Bring bottled water, as the chunky-cut wooden stairs are pretty challenging, especially in the midday heat. However, you’ll tackle them in less than 10 minutes, which is well worth the effort.
11. Praia da Bordeira
For surfers and wild beach lovers, Praia da Bordeira is one of the very best beaches in Portugal. Praia da Bordeira is set in the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park, a beautiful coastal preserve with raptors and sea otters amongst its cliffside fauna. You can drive down to Praia da Bordeira for spacious sands and sublime surf when you aren’t spotting raptors and sea otters. Rolling dunes and rocky cliffs back the beach and has a rural, isolated feel that adds to its appeal.
How to get to the beach: To reach Praia da Bordeira, drive from Lagos or any little village above the Algarve region. It is well-located for a day trip, so rent a car and get exploring.
12. Praia dos Ingleses
Praia dos Ingleses is one of Portugal’s most popular beaches. And while it might not offer rolling dunes and white sands, it does have a perfectly convenient location as one of the most accessible beaches in Porto. It is a dream escape from inner-city life. The golden sand and beach bar are a delicious combination too, and it is the ideal place to spend an afternoon after a few days of Porto sightseeing.
Praia dos Ingleses is always a hub of activity, whether you are stopping by for sunset or having a quick morning walk. It has a community feel and attracts equal parts of residents as it does tourists, even in peak seasons, which is a nice touch.
How to get to the beach: You can reach Praia dos Ingleses in an hour by foot, 40 minutes by public transport, or 15 minutes by car from Porto city center
13. Comporta Beach
Comporta Beach is part of a peninsula that juts out beneath Lisbon and has some of Portugal’s prettiest beaches. The white sand and endless stretching sands make Comporta Beach pretty much irresistible. And as if it could get even more romantic, regular dolphin visitors come to frolic in the shallow waters.
If you aren’t a strong swimmer, you’ll want to admire the dolphins from the shore, though. The beach is famous as one of the best of Portugal’s beaches for kitesurfers and water sports lovers. But its choppy waters and no lifeguard status make it more of a paddle and sit-and-sunbathe beach if not.
How to get to the beach: The beach is best accessed by car from Lisbon and takes around an hour to reach from the city center. If you stay locally in Comporta, you can walk to Comporta Beach. It is a day trip worthy and has a windswept and wistful appeal – a romantic addition to your Portugal itinerary.
14. Carcavelos Beach
Carcavelos Beach, aka Praia de Carcavelos, is your typical happy-go-lucky holiday beach. This spot has golden sands, surfing waves, and a promenade full of cute shops and tourist infrastructure. It is the sort of place you hope will be within walking distance of your resort. You cannot go wrong for an easy, hassle-free beach experience.
Walking along from Praia de Carcavelos, you’ll find Forte de Sao Juliao da Barra, a 16th-century seaside fort and one of Portugal’s topmost historic fortresses. So while Carcavelos has a reputation for being a sleepy beach day town, it has quite a bit of oomph with its attractions.
How to get to the beach: Carcavelos is the tiny parish where you’ll find the beach and is a little tourist hotspot that merges almost seamlessly into other nearby villages. It has a distinct fishing culture and an ever-growing tourist atmosphere.
15. Praia de Moledo
If you want an undeniably beautiful white sand beach, Praia de Moledo is your one. The view along Praia de Moledo is gorgeous, with white sand stretching out and the green peak of Monte de Santa Tecla mountain sticking out like a cone from across the estuary.
As a side note, Monte de Santa Tecla is a brilliant place to visit after. The mountain has ancient petroglyphs and a church that runs daily guided tours. But even just admiring it from Praia de Moledo is spectacular, and it provides an almost volcanic setting that injects the beach with tons more character.
How to get to the beach: Praia de Moledo is easily reached by car from Moledo, a small town just an hour’s drive north of Porto. This beach is situated right on the Spanish border, and if you are planning a cross-border road trip, it is an absolute must.
16. Praia de Benagil
Benagil Beach is the postcard darling of the best beaches in Portugal. You enter by boat or kayak through a low opening in the cliff face, revealing a vast sea cave with limestone walls stretching up and a single hole in the cave roof where you can see a circle of blue sky and a beam of natural light.
Benagil Beach is one of the country’s most famous ‘hidden’ coves and is world-renowned as one of the most beautiful beaches you can ever visit. It is easy to see why. And you won’t struggle to organize a visit thanks to its popularity. Book a boat tour or rent a kayak and brave the experience yourself.
Having a list of the prettiest beaches in Portugal without mentioning Benagil is impossible. This beach is stunning, even if it is super popular. Our advice? Visit in the low season or, in the worst case scenario, shoulder season so the crowds don’t ruin it.
17. Praia do Areal de Santa Bárbara
Praia do Areal de Santa Bárbara is one of the best beaches in Portugal. That is if you are willing to venture out from the standard southern Portugal holidays and out to the Portuguese islands off the coastline and in the vast Atlantic Ocean. These tiny Azores islands are scattered near each other and are accessible by boat or plane. Praia do Areal de Santa Bárbara is located in Sao Miguel, one of the largest. This beach has striking black sand and is one of the most dramatic beaches in Portugal. It is popular for surfers, but be careful as it occasionally has Portuguese Man of War jellyfish – famously painful and poisonous. You can walk along the sands and try to spot them or enjoy sunbathing with the novelty of a black sand beach.
How to get to the beach: Praia do Areal de Santa Bárbara is easy to reach if you stay locally and within walking distance of Santa Barbara village. Otherwise, you can quickly drive around Sao Miguel island.
18. Praia de Alpertuche
Praia de Alpertuche is a sandy beach only accessible by a scenic hiking trail and situated in the stunning Arrábida Natural Park near the tiny town of Portinho da Arrábida. If you want pristine waters and zero crowds, it is the best beach in the region – this spot is seriously off-the-beaten-track. Its tiny layout is the perfect slice of quiet natural beauty, and the golden sand is typical of Portugal’s Atlantic Ocean coastline. Bring your beach gear and refreshments, as facilities are non-existent. But the rural allure is well worth the extra effort. This beach is a winner for an adventurous day out, and visit Arrábida Natural Park.
How to get to the beach: Praia de Alpertuche is best accessed by car and foot for the final hiking trail section. It is only around an hour away from Lisbon, which is a solid plus.
Best Beaches in Portugal: FAQs
These gorgeous beaches are all incredible in their individual ways. In the warmer summer months, you’ll see these beautiful beaches in their best light. Before you visit these top beaches in Portugal, though, check out these top FAQs.
Which part of Portugal has the best beaches?
The Algarve region is famous for beaches and undeniably has some of the most striking beaches in Portugal – despite the crowds in summer months. The Algarve is where you’ll find cave beaches and reddest sea cliffs.
Where is the prettiest beach in Portugal?
Praia de Benagil is a stunning beach hidden under a cavern on the Algarve. It is widely known as one of the prettiest beaches in Portugal.
Can I swim on Portugal beaches?
Yes, you can swim at many of the Portugal beaches. Just watch for lifeguard towers and beach flag systems, and avoid swimming at the surfing beaches where waves are typically too rough for swimmers.
Where are the sandy beaches in Portugal?
There are sandy beaches all over Portugal, especially in the Algarve region. You won’t struggle to find a golden sand beach to kick back on.
These best beaches in Portugal are perfect for the beach day of a lifetime. Portugal’s beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world, and you’ll massively appreciate the striking views and unique settings – especially with its cave beaches. It is worth noting how the time of year impacts your beach experience in Portugal. In the summer months, most beaches get packed with visitors and locals alike and have electric energy. Shoulder seasons like September and October are much better, offering high temperatures but fewer crowds if you don’t want a party vibe.
Make sure to try some traditional Portuguese food in between beach hopping. And remember to explore some slightly more inland villages and towns like Obidos or Sao Miguel rather than just sticking to significant coastal hotspots and resorts. A big part of contributing to sustainable tourism is actively dispersing the tourist impact and investing in economies outside the ‘tourist areas’, many of which are solely profited by offshore companies. Visit the smaller towns and villages, and seek more authentic experiences – you’ll leave a more sustainable impact and get more traditional, less busy attractions. It’s a win-win and definite food for thought.