When looking for an ideal holiday destination, Portugal often pops up at the top of the list. This country is often associated with golden-sand beaches and picturesque coves that it is considered a Mediterranean country, although its entire coast lies on the Atlantic Ocean. Add to it a lot of sun, amazing seafood and centuries-old cities and you get the perfect summer destination. If visiting Portugal during its warmest months, check out the best beaches for endless days of swimming and sunbathing.
Praia da Marinha
Marinha Beach or Navy Beach is one of the most popular Portuguese beaches with a Mediterranean vibe. It is located in Caramujeira, in the southernmost region of Algarve. The beach is often referred to as one of the best beaches in Europe and the world, often used in advertising campaigns. It is a small sandy beach surrounded by picturesque limestone cliffs. Access is somewhat difficult unless using the stairs and the beach itself is located off the main road. However, besides the numerous caves and rock formations to explore, there is a restaurant on the beach as the only facility. Either way, many would agree that the beach is much prettier in reality than in photos.
Praia do Barril
Barril Beach is a sandy beach located on Tavira island, right across Santa Luzia and on the same stretch of sand as Ilha de Tavira. However, the beach is flat and doesn’t have any protection from the wind. Getting to the beach is possible on foot via a path and a pontoon bridge. At the beginning of the path is a huge parking lot for the visitors of the island. If walking is not an option, there is a small train operating during the season and taking you directly to the beach. Since there is no natural shade provided, you can hide in one of the several cafes and restaurants. In the end, don’t miss the Anchor Cemetery (Cemeterio das Ancoras) a memorial to the abandoned fishing community.
Close to the famous Marinha Beach lies Praia de Benagil, best-known for the caves and extraordinary rock formations. Once a quiet fishing village, Benagil today attracts thousands of visitors who come to enjoy one of the most picturesque beaches in Portugal. This sandy beach lies beneath the limestone cliffs, it is possible to access through the area where fishing boats are. The boats are also likely to be found lying on the beach, contributing to the picturesque landscape. Since there are no parking lots nearby, Benagil Beach is never too crowded. One of the most popular sceneries, the Benagil cave with a hole in the ceiling, is accessible by boat.
Praia do Guincho
Guincho Beach is one of the most popular Lisbon beaches and a surfers’ paradise. It is located on the well-known Estoril coast, close to Cascais. This long sandy beach offers numerous water sports and activities which makes it an ideal beach for adrenaline seekers. Since there is no shade and the sea currents are strong, the beach is not the top recommendation for families with children. However, due to these several reasons, the beach is not too crowded and there are cafes and restaurants as well. Besides the tourist use, the beach was featured in a James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969 and the movie This Side of Resurrection in 2011.
Praia da Rocha
Praia da Rocha, also known as Rock Beach, is one of the first tourist places that developed in the famous Algarve. This sandy beach is long and spacious and one of the most vibrant resorts in the area. There are numerous water sports and activities as well as water parks and more. Also, there are plenty of facilities surrounding the beach. At the west end of the beach starts Praia dos Três Castelos, a beach famous for its unique limestone rock formations. The beach lies only about 5 minutes from Portimao with a frequent bus connection and about 30 minutes from Faro Airport.
Praia Dona Ana
Dona Ana Beach is among those most picturesque beaches on the Algarve coast. Surrounded by cliffs, this sandy beach is a top choice for visitors who want to spend a relaxing day swimming and sunbathing. However, the beach is easily accessible unlike some others on the coast and there are often crowds in peak season. Regardless, the beach boasts the finest sand and perfectly clear turquoise waters, as well as a good number of facilities. The historic center of Lagos is only about 20 minutes from the beach. If you don’t find enough space on Dona Ana, remarkable Praia do Camilo and Praia do Pinhao are located nearby.
Praia da Falesia or Cliff Beach is another gem of the Algarve that stretches for almost 7 km being one of the longest beaches in Portugal. The beach is recognizable for its red cliffs with a pine forest above. This award-winning beach is often on the list of top beaches in Europe, it is spacious and consists of fine sand. Besides swimming and sunbathing, visitors can enjoy long walks or relax in one of the cafes and restaurants. The beach has access via steps from the top of the cliff. After a long day at the beach, nearby towns of Albufeira and Villamoura are easily accessible by public transport.
Praia de Miramar
Miramar Beach is a serene sandy beach in Arcozelo, close to Vila Nova de Gaia and Porto. The beach features one of the main attractions, the small chapel Senhor da Pedra (Lord of the Rock). There are also promenades where visitors can take a break from the beach activities in one of many cafes and restaurants. However, although Miramar is a charming spot where many locals come to enjoy the sunny days, the area is still not that popular among tourists. Therefore, if looking for a more peaceful summer spot while visiting Porto, head to Miramar.
Nazaré is one of the most popular beach resorts on the Silver Coast in Portugal. Its huge sandy Nazare Beach is a paradise for surfers where many visitors stop by to attend the surfing championship. Moreover, this is the place where the largest wave ever was surfed. The beach is also the center of several other events such as festivals dedicated to Our Lady of Nazaré. The former fishing village of Nazaré still cherishes the fishing traditions which is why encountering fishermen in traditional clothing is very common. However, there’s space for everyone on this beach and there is a good offer of bars and restaurants nearby.
Portinho da Arrabida
Last but not least is one more stunning beach in Portugal, located within the Serra da Arrábida Natural Park. This sandy and spacious beach is sheltered from strong winds and situated beneath the green hills providing some shade but it is possible to rent sunshades as well. The calm sea makes it ideal for families with children. The beach is also great for water sports such as scuba diving and the visitors can rent equipment directly on the beach. However, besides a couple of restaurants, there are no many facilities nearby.