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Portugal’s Best Beaches

Portugal is a country that has been blessed with beautiful coastlines and stunning beaches, which extends around the entire sea facing sides of the country. The most popular tourist beaches tend to be along the southern Algarve coastline, while the western coast is ideal for surfing with massive waves. There are excellent beaches close to both of the main cities of Portugal (Lisbon and Porto), and any town near the coast will have a decent beach close by. This guide will detail our favourite beaches found in Portugal.

Praia Dona Ana Beach, Lagos

The Praia Dona Ana is regarded as one of the finest beaches of Portugal and is easily accessible from the charming resort town of Lagos. The beach is set amidst the golden coloured sandstone cliffs that extend along the western Algarve. The relatively small beach of soft sands extends out into the crystal clear waters of submerged rocks and small sea life.

Lagos beaches

The Dona Ana beach near Lagos

The beach setting is simply magical and slightly further along the coastline is the Ponta da Piedade cliffs with their unique weathered formations. The Dona Ana beach is less than a 15 minute walk from central Lagos and is one of the most accessible of Portugal’s best beaches.

Praia de Carcavelos, Lisbon Portugal

The Praia de Carcavelos is the best and most popular beach within the vicinity of Lisbon. The beach stands in the shadow of an imposing fort and offers a good mixture of facilities for families, waves for surfers and sand for sun bathers.

Praia Carcavelos

The Praia de Carcavelos before the crowds arrive

The beach is extremely popular at the weekends when it feels as if the whole of Lisbon has descended to the beach. Carcavelos beach is only 15minutes by train from central Lisbon and is a great beach to head to if based in Lisbon.

Praia do Barril Beach, Tavira

Barril beach is a fascinating alternative beach that is close to the resort town of Tavira, on the eastern side of the Algarve. Praia do Barril was the location of a former tuna fishing community and the abandoned huts have been converted into charming buildings that house restaurants and shops. The former fishing fleet’s rusting anchors have been placed in the sand dunes as a permanent memorial, known locally as the anchor cemetery.

Cemetery of Anchor

The Barril beach and the Cemetery of Anchors

The beach is reached via a mini train that once used to transport supplies and goods from the small community. The beach itself has a remote and tranquil ambience, as it is significantly quieter than the beaches to the west of the Algarve. The long sand dunes extend for 10km to the main beach of Tavira and are backed by the lagoons of the Ria Formosa national park.

The Portinho da Arrábida, Sesimbra

The coastline of the Arrábida national park is simply stunning, with lush forest covered hills falling away to the small sandy beaches and the turquoise waters of the bay. The area is by far the most stunning of all of the beaches, but not really designed for a typical day on the beach.

The beaches are too small, can only be accessed by car and there are no facilities, but for sheer beauty nothing can beat the Portinho da Arrábida.

Arrábida National Park coastline

The stunning Arrábida National Park coastline

Nazaré Beach

Nazaré is a traditional Portuguese resort town that is located part way between Lisbon and Porto. The charming resort is a great holiday destination that offers a wide and golden beach, but the main draw are the massive surfing waves.

Nazaré beach

The vast beach at Nazaré

The Nazaré coastline is famed for producing the largest wave that has ever been surfed, a colossal 30m high tower of water that was surfed in 2013. Even during the summer, the waves are not for the weak or inexperienced.

Comporta Beach, Tróia Peninsula

Comporta Beach is the closest Portugal’s beaches get to paradise; the expansive sands are set in an idyllic, remote location and are gently lapped by the turquoise seas. These beautiful colours of the waters are famed by the Portuguese, who often compared them to the Caribbean. This enchanting location is slowly attracting Europe’s super rich, but the area still retains a traditional and relaxed atmosphere, in part due to the difficulty to reach the beach. Comporta is situated on the Tróia Peninsula (south of Setubal) and is unfortunately served by almost no public transport.

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