The best beaches in hot Portugal
Due to its length, Portugal’s coastal edges have dozens of different beaches, from pebbly, sandy beaches for swimming to beautiful bays and low-key spots near wildflowers. Tourists can find lively destinations, beaches adapted including for the disabled or places of interest for surfers. Here are the best beaches in Portugal. The weather in Europe is getting colder and colder, so fans of blissful sunbathing are beginning to look longingly towards warmer tourist destinations.
Portugal is a great place for this kind of holiday. The country boasts 315 beaches and 17 marinas for yachts, which received a mark of the Blue Flag, which assures the safety and sanitary requirements. Take into account the excellent gastronomy, fresh seafood and lower price range compared to other well-known European resorts, Portugal becomes an undeniable option.
Long and sandy.
Most of the golden beaches stretch along the coast of the Algarve region, which holds the prestigious title of “Europe’s Leading Beach Destination” according to the World Travel Awards. Blue Flag awarded 88 beaches and 4 marinas (Albufeira, Lagos, Portimão and Vilamoura). Quite famous long beaches in the Algarve are the over 4 km long Meia Praia in Lagos (good infrastructure: ample parking, bars and sanitary facilities, water sports equipment can be rented) and the quiet 3 km long Praia da Falsia in Albufeira (with two adjacent bathing beaches its length reaches 6 km), admiring its unique red and white cliffs.
Long and sandy.
Lesser known and therefore more secluded are Praia do Alvor Pointe near Aljezur and Praia Grande de Pera in Armação de Pera. Some of the noteworthy beaches worth visiting according to European Best Destinations are Praia de Armação de Pêra in the Algarve and the little known but charming islet of Berlenga Grande (about 10 km from Peniche, with a boat service during the holiday season).
Of note is the beautiful, about 9 km long, Praia Dourada on the southern coast of the island of Porto Santo. It is the only natural sandy beach in the entire Madeira archipelago. Its fine and smooth sand and clear turquoise ocean waters are rich in iodine, calcium and magnesium, which gives them medicinal properties.
It’s easy to find a quiet corner to relax in beautiful surroundings. In northern Portugal, the picturesque Praia de Moledo (near the Spanish border) is worth a visit, as well as Praia de Miramar and Praia do Senhor da Pedra in Vila Nova de Gaia with the characteristic Chapel Capela do Senhor da Pedra standing right on the sea. At sunset, this small building looks extremely mysterious.
Long and sandy.
In the Center, the most intriguing beach is Praia da Costa Nova (near Aveiro). The wooden houses, painted in white and colored stripes, are the hallmark of this place. While Lisboetas appreciate the picturesque beaches of Praia da Adraga and Praia das Masas near Sintra .
Alentejo boasts numerous sandy beaches. The most impressive is the 60-kilometer stretch of coast from Sines to Troyes. You will find Praia da Comporta (large parking lot, refreshments) or Praia da Zambogeira do Mar . Around the latter, the MEO Sudoeste music festival takes place every August.
Many charming corners can be found around Lagoa and Lagos . The striped, yellow-red limestone cliffs are typical of the Agarwe. The most popular beaches of this type are Praia da Marinha, with its characteristic arches and grottos carved into the rock by the ocean waves, and the nearby Praia de Benagil, next to which is the famous Algar de Benagil Cave . The cave is only accessible from the ocean side, but it is possible to hire a speedboat to see it. It is best to plan your trip so that you return before the tide comes in, as the entrance to the cave is then reduced.
One of the most beautiful places in Europe is the beach and cape of Ponta da Piedade, full of small coves and grottoes which are worth seeing either from the rock or during a motorboat cruise driven by the locals. In this area is the charming Praia Dona Ana in Lagos.
When it comes to beaches with high cliffs, be sure to keep a safe distance from their walls, as it sometimes happens that rocks slide there due to erosion.
Centers of Social Life
If you can’t imagine a vacation without entertainment, a trip to Cascais and Estoril is worth considering. These are two outstanding destinations that have been favored by intellectuals and celebrities for years.
Praia da Conceição, where the characteristic Palacio dos Duque de Loulé towers above the bathing area, and Praia do Tamariz, close to the famous Palacio Estoril and the chic Forte da Cruz, are typical of the climate of these resorts. This fort can be rented for weddings or other private celebrations. At the opposite point of Cabo Raso is Praia do Guincho, where some films have been shot.
Centers of social life
A popular resort in the Algarve is Portimão. In addition to the beautiful Praia da Rocha, there are many bars, cafes and discos.
Many beach lovers will envy the people of Porto. They only need to go a few blocks to enjoy the warm sand and ocean waves, such as on Praia do Molhe, right next to the romantic Pergula da Foz.
In the Azores, you can count on interesting conversations at the Peter’s Cafe Sport pub in Horta (Faial Island), which has been frequented since time immemorial by sailors from around the world, followed by crowds of tourists. The pub offers ocean cruises, during which you can watch various mammals. Just 5 km from Horta is the unique Praia do Almoxarife (parking, refreshments) with dark volcanic sand and gorgeous scenery of the island and the Pico volcano. The natural rock pools of Piscinas Naturais do Varadouro, created at low tide (lifeguard service, toilets, showers and bar are available), are very popular on the island of Faial. Bathing in such a place provides a beautiful view of the surroundings and an unforgettable experience. Similar pools in the volcanic rocks can be found in Porto Moniz on Madeira’s northern coast.
Those who prefer quiet, secluded areas and interaction with flora and fauna will choose the 10 kilometers long beach of Praia da Ilha da Barreta (Praia da Ilha Deserta) with clean, clear water. It runs parallel to the Ria Formosa Park near Faro, recognized as one of Portugal’s 7 natural wonders. This area, consisting of many channel formations, islands, marshlands and beaches, creates an attractive ecological system that attracts a sufficient number of birds, animals and insects.
The park is home to the common mantis (symbol of the park), flamingos, seahorses and turtles, among others. Some of these animals can be seen on Praia da Ilha da Barreta, which serves as a protective buffer between the ocean and the park. The beach can only be reached by sea – there are regular ferries during the summer season (the trip takes about 20 minutes). Praia has basic amenities: a restaurant and restrooms. Praia do Monte Cleriga near the village of Aljezur is also worth a visit. At low tide, the ocean shows tourists a variety of marine animals, including crabs, starfish, schools of small fish, anemones and sea urchins temporarily trapped in rock pools. It’s a good place for a little biology lesson for kids.
Praia do Portinho da Arrabida beach near Setubal, with its white sand and blue-green water, is an ideal place for diving. The beach is part of the Serra da Arrabida Natural Park (fishing is not allowed here), so you can count on a rich underwater flora and fauna. Beaches for people with reduced mobility
Portugal, thanks to the “Praia Acessvel – Praia para Todos!” program, already boasts 209 beaches with facilities for people with reduced mobility. Beaches of this type can be found all along the Portuguese coast. All of them receiving this designation must be supervised by a lifeguard, have reserved parking spaces, easy access to the bathing area and suitable paths on the sand itself. The vast majority also have special beach carts (cadeira anfbia), which allow swimming in the ocean.
The list of “accessible” beaches includes popular destinations such as Praia da Batata and Praia Praia Praia in Lagos, Praia da Rocha in Portimão, Praia de Vilamoura, Praia de Vale do Lobo, Praia da Conceição in Cascais or Praia do Tamariz in Estoril, and the lesser known but no less charming Praia do Alvor Pointe or Praia do Monte Clerigo near Aljezur.
The western water part of the country is characterized by quite sharp winds and wide, strong waves, which attract the attention of water sports enthusiasts. It is possible to meet places with different variants of difficulties. Professional riders usually visit Praia Supertubos in Peniche with waves up to 3.5 meters high. There they organize international competitions Rip Curl Pro Portugal (mid-autumn). The best surfers can also be seen in Cascais at Praia do Guincho (waves up to 3 meters) and Praia de Carcavelos (waves up to 2 meters) and in addition to the Cascais Billabong Pro competition (second half of fall).
Where are the best beaches in Portugal
An overview of the best resorts and beaches in Portugal. Where and when is the best time to vacation at sea in 2022? Let’s find out!
A relaxed vacation, rich cultural activities and lack of crowds attracts millions of tourists to Portugal every year. As a rule, these are well-to-do Britons and Germans, satiated with “olinclusivity” and expecting a new and vivid experience. Portugal has many wonderful places for seaside holidays and leisure activities. Learn about the best places in this review.
The best places for seaside holidays in Portugal
The most popular resorts in Portugal for beach holidays are the Lisbon Riviera, the province of Algarve, Madeira and the Azores. All beaches in the country are public. The continental beaches have yellow sand, while Madeira and the Azores have pebbles, black volcanic or imported sand.
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This is the southern province of the country which is famous for its landscapes and rich architectural heritage. In the western part of the province predominantly rocky beaches, in the east – sandy. Holidays in the Algarve can be year-round: in the spring here +20. +25 ° C in the spring, +27 . +30 ° C in the summer, and +14 ° C in winter. Beach holidays at sea in this region of Portugal are most comfortable in August and September on the coast from Albufeira to Lagos. During this time the water is the warmest (+21. +23 ° C), although the temperature will not be pleasant for everyone.
A large part of the coast of the province is occupied by nature reserves, there is a unique nature park, where you can see the pink flamingos. For lovers of outdoor activities organized golf courses, surfing and diving schools.
The center of the province is the city of Faro. It is a beautiful town with medieval buildings and ruins of Roman settlements. The airport is situated here. The most popular seaside resorts in the province are Villamoura, Albufeira and Portimão.
Villamoura is a large resort complex, according to reviews, the best place for an active holiday at sea in Portugal. There are centers for parachuting, diving and surfing schools. Many activities for children: a zoo, water park and amusement parks. The best beaches – a shallow beach Falesia, popular with holidaymakers with young children, as well as the town’s beach Marina, located near the marina.
Seafood lovers come to Albufeira for a holiday, because the local restaurants offer the most exquisite dishes from them. The city has three sandy beaches, the most popular of which is Peneku, located in the historic part of town. Not far from the city there is a zoo with a dolphinarium.
The resort of Portimão is famous for its Praia da Rocha beach. This is one of the most picturesque beaches on the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by low rocks and medieval buildings. Along it are built a lot of hotels of various levels, as well as cafes and restaurants. The resort is not considered expensive, here like to relax with children, and youth companies, only when booking a hotel is desirable to specify the presence of nearby nightlife.
Albufeira is a coastal town in the Algarve region of southern Portugal. Photo: @danielcgold / unsplash.com.
All the resort towns in this area – Estoril, Cascais, Carcavelos and others – are within a half-hour drive of Lisbon. The water in the sea is usually cool, even in summer, only +17. +19 ° C, so rest here prefer those who want to combine beach holidays in Portugal with cultural and educational.
Respectable Estoril with its historical center has long been known among wealthy tourists. The first line of the town is full of expensive hotels and luxury villas. Cascais and Carcavelos are typical youth resorts, windsurfing centers and nightlife.
The most famous beach and a real paradise for windsurfers is Guincho beach. The shallow, warm shell beach of Salir do Porto near São Martinho do Porto is ideal for young children. Not far from Cascais are the famous natural attractions – the cliff of Boca de Inferno and Cape Cabo de Roca. From a sightseeing point of view it is interesting to visit the capital, Lisbon, with its mosaic square and the Old Quarter.
Cascais. Photo: CALIN STAN / unsplash.com.
The Azores are always moderately warm: +25°C in summer, +15°C in winter. According to tourists’ reviews, the Portuguese islands are best visited from June to September, when the weather is usually dry and sunny. With the advent of autumn the rains and fogs become more frequent. Sandy beaches are few, most of them located on the islands of Faial and San Miguel, the rest of the beaches are volcanic. Almost every hotel has a pool.
The main must see for all tourists is Furnas with its lake and geysers, the islands of Terseira, Florish and San Miguel with their relict forests, museums and temples. The island of Pico has well-preserved reefs, and in its vicinity lies the whale migration route, which attracts crowds of tourists every year.
In general, holidays in the Azores are more of a contemplative nature, rather than beach passive. Prices for services please its affordability. Perhaps this is why European and Canadian retirees are so fond of vacationing here.
Island of San Miguel, the Azores. Photo: Angela Compagnone / unsplash.com.
The island of Madeira is of volcanic origin, famous for its mild climate and natural beauty. The climate is subtropical, and due to the action of the Gulf Stream the temperature varies slightly during the year: +17°C in winter and +27°C in summer. The water temperature is kept at an annual average of +19 ° C.
There are few cultural attractions, so the main entertainment for tourists are hiking trails and Levada, a cable car and a botanical garden in Funchal, the exploration of rocks, caves and waterfalls. Many opportunities for outdoor activities: yachting, water skiing, fishing, surfing, diving, horseback riding, tennis and golf.
Many beaches are rocky by nature, so filled with imported sand. According to feedback from tourists, the best places for a beach holiday at sea in Portugal is on Madeira – the water is warmest here. The best beach is considered Calheta, covered with sand from the desert and closed by a breakwater. A nice sandy beach is on the island of Ponto Santo, you can get there by ferry from Madeira.
Madeira. Photo: Justas Samalius / unsplash.com.
When to go on holiday in Portugal
The climate in Portugal is mild and comfortable: with mild summer and warm rainy winter. There are no sudden temperature fluctuations here, although in the mountains it is a little colder than on the coast. The north of the country receives the most rainfall, the warmest regions are the archipelago of Madeira and the Azores. Holidays on the islands can be year round, though in the winter and spring holidays are only cultural, educational and health-improving.
A full beach holiday in Portugal is possible from early June. In early summer the fishing season starts and there are comfortable conditions for windsurfing. In June in Lisbon, Algarve and Faro during the day +25 ° C, the water temperature +17. +19°С. The water is best warmed off the coast of Madeira at +21 ° C.
All temperatures rise in July and August: +27 . +29 ° C in Lisbon and the Algarve, not so hot in Porto and Madeira +25 ° C. In Portugal during these months it is best to relax in Madeira, where the water near the coast reaches +23 ° C.
Holidays in Portugal at sea in September are still quite possible. The Atlantic coast is moderately warm: +26 ° C during the day, the water +20. +23°С. In October, the beach season in Portugal ends, and in spite of the relatively high air temperature of +22. Despite the relatively high air temperature of +22° C and +24° C, the cooling effect of the ocean is evident – it rains more often and there are fogs.
From November to April is the low season in Portugal (except for Christmas and New Year holidays). During this time the wind blows from the ocean, the water temperature does not exceed +15 ° C, relatively warm except on the islands. In the south, the Algarve +17 ° C, Lisbon +15 ° C, Madeira +19 ° C. The coldest in the northern part of the country, but without frosts during the day +5. +9°С.
At the end of February in Portugal is already noticeably warmer. Precipitation is not uncommon, but sunny days are increasing too. In March in Lisbon and the Algarve +17. +18 ° C in Lisbon, +19 ° C in Madeira. The water in the ocean is still cold +14. +16 ° C, much warmer off the coast of Madeira +19 ° C.
In April in Portugal it gets a couple of degrees warmer, is already comfortable for sunbathing and long walks. In May the rainfall decreases smoothly, the air warms up to +22 ° C. The water is cold +16. +18 ° C everywhere except off the coast of Madeira – there +19 ° C.
Lagos. Photo: Jade Stephens / unsplash.com.