15 beaches in Portugal that will blow your mind (+ map)

Portugal is by far our favorite beach destination in Europe. We’ve visited this stunning country on several occasions and actually just returned from our most recent trip. And again, we’ve been blown away by the many natural delights we’ve encountered. This collection of best beaches in Portugal is entirely based on our personal exploration, which means that we’ve actually visited, tried and tested every single gem on this list. So, are you ready for a tour around the finest beaches in Portugal?

Portuguese beaches on the map

Our selection consists of 7 Algarve beaches, 5 beaches along the Costa Vicentina and 3 beaches along the Lisbon coast. For your convenience, we’ve put together this map indicating every Portuguese beach mentioned in this article.

Our selection of the finest beaches in Portugal

– Falesia Beach (Praia da Falésia)

View from the water over Praia da Falésia beach, one of the most popular Portugal beaches

Praia da Falésia is one of the most popular Algarve beaches. This Blue Flag beach is over 4 miles (almost 7 kilometres) long and characterized by its dramatic red and ochre colored sandstone cliffs. The water is more shallow and the beach is wider at the east side than at west side, making the Vilamoura side perfect for families with kids. The sand is soft and clean, the water crystal-clear. It’s an excellent beach for swimming (especially in the morning) and boogie-boarding (in the afternoon) and for long beach walks.

  • Facilities: Parking, restrooms, restaurant.
  • Nearest city / town: Vilamoura to the East and Albufeira to the West.
  • Where to stay near Falesia beach: Epic Sana Algarve or Anantara Vilamoura.

– Ponta Grande Beach (Praia da Ponta Grande)

View from the water over Praia da Ponta Grande, a hidden beach in Portugal

Ponta Grande beach is a secluded beach, which can only be reached by boat. You’ll find soft sand, clear waters and plenty of privacy in this gorgeous bay.

  • Facilities: Parking.
  • Nearest city / town: Albufeira.
  • Where to stay near Ponta Grande beach: Vila Joya.

– Marinha Beach (Praia da Marinha)

Praia da Marinha beach is one of the most beautiful Algarve beaches in Portugal

Praia da Marinha is one of the most spectacular beaches in Portugal. It’s located close to the Benagil cave and offers some dramatic coastline views. The beach can be accessed by a wooden staircase, located on the left side of the panoramic viewpoint. You’ll then need to make your way from that left side of the beach to the right side, which is where you’ll want to be, hidden behind a massive rock. When it’s high tide, you’ll probably get your feet wet but that’s part of the charm.

The viewpoint of this Portuguese beach is also the starting point for the 3.5 mile (or 5.7 km) Seven Hanging Valleys trail, the Percurso dos Sete Vales Suspensos in Portuguese. Beautiful beach scenery guaranteed!

– Carvalho Beach (Praia do Carvalho)

Praia do Carvalho is probably the coolest beach in Portugal. Tucked away in a residential area, it’s a popular hang-out for locals. The beach is named after a certain captain Carvalho who used to own the beach.

The access is pretty unusual, to say the least… When you’ve descended the steep staircase from the parking lot, you’ll arrive in the middle of nowhere: no beach in sight. But when you look closely, you’ll see a small pathway on your left. That’s where the fun begins! The beach can only be accessed via a tunnel in the rocks and the steps are uneven and slippery. But the reward is in sight: golden sand, high cliffs and turquoise waters. It’s one of the best Algarve beaches for snorkeling.

In the sandstone cliffs, next to the staircase, there’s even a bar, carved-out by hand. According to one of the locals, it has been in use until about 10 years ago when the license was revoked. It’s easy to see why Praia do Carvalho is the coolest Portuguese beach we’ve come across.

– Vale de Centeanes Beach (Praia do Vale de Centeanes)

Just a stone’s throw away from the charming fishing village of Cavoeiro, you’ll find Praia do Vale de Centeanes. It’s one of the most accessible Algarve beaches in this list. At first sight, the beach looks like a lively Algarve beach. But on the left side, just behind the limestone rocks, you’ll find a more secluded area of the beach. The rock formations create a sense of privacy and you might even have the beach to yourself, like we did.

On the main beach, you can join a boat or kayak tour to explore the Algar de Benagil, one of the most magical cave beaches in Portugal. We decided to opt for a kayak tour because a boat tour doesn’t allow to actually spend some time at the hidden beach inside the cave. The kayak tour does (so does a SUP tour) and we had a wonderful time. It’s pretty intensive but certainly worth the effort. We’ll soon publish an article on our kayaking adventure from
Praia do Vale de Centeanes to the captivating Benagil cave in Portugal.

  • Facilities: Parking, restroom, restaurant.
  • Nearest city / town: Carvoeiro.
  • Where to stay near Vale de Centeanes beach: Tivoli Carvoeiro.

– Dona Ana Beach (Praia da Dona Ana)

Since Praia da Dona Ana had once been voted the ‘best beach in the world‘ by the Spanish readers of the Condé Nast Traveller magazine, we had high expectations. The views from the top of the cliff were promising. A reconstruction was completed here a few years back: The beach was so narrow that visitors tended to relax too close to the crumbling cliffs. For public safety reasons, the beach was levelled up to make to make more space for visitors. In the process, this little gem may have lost some of its shine but it’s still a gorgeous Algarve beach. We especially loved the north side of the beach (right side of the stairs).

Praia da Dona Ana is also a dream for shell aficionados. The sand is much more coarse here than at the other beaches but our kids sure found some treasures on this beach. Plus, the proximity of the Ponta da Piedade rock formations shelters the beach from currents and tides making it ideal for swimming, even for little ones.

– Camilo Beach (Praia do Camilo)

That special something we were hoping to find at the previous Algarve beach? Well, we found it a few miles down the road at Praia do Camilo. This is hands down one of the most amazing beaches in Portugal. Prepare for a dramatic entrance with no less than 200 steps on the wooden staircase. The views are out of this world.

Camilo beach is actually pretty small and therefore, it gets packed during the summer months. But, hidden in a limestone cliff, there’s a man-made opening that allows you to visit a second part of the beach. This extra touch just adds to its dazzling charm.

The sand is golden and soft and the water crystal-clear. This beach is located even closer to the Ponta da Piedade rock formations so the weak current creates the perfect swimming and snorkeling conditions. Could this be the best beach in Portugal?

– Amado Beach (Praia do Amado)

This Portuguese beach is located along the Costa Vicentina, away from the busy beach resorts of the Algarve. Praia do Amado is a popular hotspot for surfers and local surfing schools offer courses to both adults and kids. The viewpoint, which can be reached via a wooden pathway amidst a field of wildflowers, offers some amazing views over the wild Atlantic coastline.

  • Facilities: Parking, restrooms, food stalls.
  • Nearest city / town: Carrapateira.
  • Where to stay near Amado beach: Monte Da Vilarinha.

– Bordeira Beach (Praia da Bordeira)

Praia da Bordeira is known to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal. Its setting is truly spectacular, behind the sand dunes between the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina and the Atlantic. The mouth of the Bordeira river makes its way along the dunes and forms a warm water lagoon that attracts migrating birds.

Kite surfers know their way to this beach very well thanks to the excellent wind conditions. While the strong ocean waves and rip currents make it unsuited for swimming, the lagoon offers a valid option for families with kids. We enjoyed an idyllic picnic here amidst the wildflowers and couldn’t have picked a better setting.

Pathways leading around the hills take visitors to the best viewpoints along this vast beach.

  • Facilities: Parking.
  • Nearest city / town: Carrapateira.
  • Where to stay near Bordeira beach: Monte Da Vilarinha.

– Odeceixe Beach (Praia de Odeceixe Mar)

To reach Praia de Odeceixe, you’ll pass the picturesque village with the same name. Then, when you arrive at parking and manage to find a spot – which proved tobe very challenging by the end of May, already – you can finally take in the bay views from the top of the cliff.

This Blue Flag beach is hugged by the river Seixe, which creates the perfect environment for families to enjoy the calm waters at the river mouth. The ocean is popular with bodyboarders and surfers. But also hikers find their way to this beautiful bay since it’s one of the stops on the Fishermen’s Trail, part of the Rota Vicentana hiking circuit.

  • Facilities: Parking, restroom, restaurant.
  • Nearest city / town: Odeceixe.
  • Where to stay near Odeceixe beach: Monte do Cardal.

– Buzuinhos Beach (Praia dos Buzuinhos)

This beach is much more secluded than the other ones we’ve explored along the Costa Vicentina. The rock formations are irregular and the cliffs are very much eroded, giving this beach a raw look. The sand is coarse and the current strong but the water is crystal-clear.

From the beach, you have a view of Ilha do Pessegueiro (Peachtree Island) with its 16th century fort.

  • Facilities: Parking.
  • Nearest city / town: Porto Covo.
  • Where to stay near Buzuinhos beach: Herdade da Matinha.

– Comporta Beach (Praia da Comporta)

Praia da Comporta is located at the base of the Troia Peninsula, an ancient fish-salting settlement from the Roman era. It has become the playground for the rich and famous ever since Troia Golf was established on the peninsula, member of the exclusive European Tour Properties network. The pine forests are dotted with glamorous, secluded homes. Yet, the vibe is very casual and relaxed.

The enviable location of Comporta and Troia by the Sado estuary creates a unique environment. As a result, nature here is very different from the rest of Portugal. The area is also home to acres of rice fields. The contrast of the pearl-white sand, the turquoise water, the green pine forest and an occasional wildflower creates an exclusive beach setting. Comporta beach really is picture-perfect, so are nearby Troia beach and Pego beach.

Since this is the first beach on this list that isn’t sheltered by cliffs, it’s advised to bring a sun umbrella or to rent a cabana or beach chair. The sand is super-soft and the water super-clear. At the beach and in the shallow ocean waters, you’ll find many razor shells (ensis).

– Creiro beach (Praia do Creiro)

Across the Sado estuary, you’ll find the Parque Natural da Arrábida (Arrabida Natural Park), an oasis of green just south of Lisbon, in the Setúbal region. The Costa Azul (Blue Coast) along the Serra da Arrábida is blessed with several white beaches, of which the Praia do Creiro is our favorite. Neigbouring Galapinhos Beach (Praia dos Galapinhos) is said to be just as magical but, unfortunately, it proved to be much less accessible.

  • Facilities: Parking, restroom, restaurant.
  • Nearest city / town: Setúbal.
  • Where to stay near Creiro beach: Hotel Casa Palmela.

– Ursa beach (Praia da Ursa)

Praia da Ursa is one of the most well-hidden beaches in Portugal

Praia da Ursa is a beach north of Lisbon, near Sintra, and hidden in plain sight. Just follow all the tour buses that head to Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of Europe. Then, about 300 ft (100 m) before the end of the road, you’ll see this gravel path on your right. That’s how you’ll reach the beach. Eventually, that is, because it’ll take you up to 1 hour to reach this gorgeous Portuguese beach. Ursa beach gets its name from the rock formation that resembles a bear (ursa in Portuguese).

We arrived about an hour or two before sunset after our visit to the Sintra castles and were traveling with kids in tow, so we decided against the ambitious descent. And unfortunately, the beach isn’t visible from the side of the road. So, full disclosure: this is the only photo in this article that we didn’t take ourselves.

  • Facilities: None (parking nearby at Cabo da Roca).
  • Nearest city / town: Colares (Sintra).
  • Where to stay near Ursa beach: Meet the Artist’s Retreat.

– Adraga beach (Praia da Adraga)

Last but certainly not least in this list of Portugal beaches is Praia da Andraga, located just north of the previous one and easily accessible. You can just hop out of the car and just need to take a few steps before your toes will hit the soft sand.

The current is quite strong at this side of the Atlantic yet the first waves sprawl gently over the beach, creating some space for kids to splash around. Praia da Andraga is also surprisingly wide so it’s easy to find a quiet spot.

At the entrance of the beach, you’ll find these classically styled changing facilities that add a touch of old-time charm.

  • Facilities: Parking, restroom, changing facilities, restaurant.
  • Nearest city / town: Colares (Sintra).
  • Where to stay near Andraga beach: Meet the Artist’s Retreat.

Which of these gorgeous beaches in Portugal is your favorite?

Are you a beach bum just like we are? Then we want to hear from you… Which of these gorgeous beaches in Portugal makes your heart beat faster? Share your favorite in the comments! And know that, whatever beach you end up exploring on your next trip, you’re guaranteed to have a great time in Portugal!

Pinning one of these images would be much appreciated!

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. For more information, visit the Disclaimer page.

More beach inspiration:

Liked this article? Spread the love!
Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.