Best beaches in Portugal to visit in 2021 (+ 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. That’s right, we’ve actually visited, tried and tested every single gem on this list, from the golden Algarve beaches between Lagos and Faro to the wild Costa Vicentina beaches and beyond. What an epic Portugal road trip it was. Plus, we got to stay at some amazing Portuguese Airbnbs along the way. So, are you ready for a tour around the finest beaches in Portugal?


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Best beaches in Portugal map

For your convenience, we’ve put together a map indicating every Portuguese beach mentioned in this article.

Our selection consists of 7 Algarve beaches, 5 Costa Vicentina beaches and 3 beaches along the Lisbon coast. We hope to include more beaches in the future, such as the remote Ria Formosa beaches that we’re yet to discover.

You’ll need a car to reach most of these beaches in Portugal. We tend to find the best deals on Rentalcars.com.

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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 South Portugal beaches

Praia da Falésia, located just west of Faro, 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 an Algarve stay with kids. The sand is soft and clean, the water crystal-clear. It’s an excellent beach for for long beach walks, swimming (especially in the morning) and boogie-boarding (in the afternoon). Have a look at our packing list for a beach vacation to find which other items to bring.

  • Facilities: Parking, restrooms, restaurant.
  • Nearest city / town: Vilamoura to the East and Albufeira to the West.

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, which is why you won’t find it in most Portugal travel guides. You’ll find soft sand, clear waters and plenty of privacy in this gorgeous bay.

  • Facilities: Parking.
  • Nearest city / town: Albufeira.
Terrace with white furniture overlooking one of the top beaches in Portugal
Image courtesy of VRBO Sandra Lazaro

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!

  • Facilities: Parking, restroom, restaurant.
  • Nearest city / town: Carvoeiro.
Pool and garden overlooking Benagil
Image courtesy of VRBO Wilson Lopes

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 sands, 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.

  • Facilities: Parking with a food truck and a fruit stall.
  • Nearest city / town: Carvoeiro.
Table at a terrace overlooking Benagil
Image courtesy of VRBO Villa Benagil

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 thanks to the many water sports and activities on offer. But a more secluded area of the beach lies on the left side, just behind the limestone rocks. You can easily reach it at low tide. 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. Check out the 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.
White villa and pool near one of the best Portugal beaches
Image courtesy of VRBO Villa Koster

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 this one of the best beaches in Portugal for swimming.

  • Facilities: Parking, restroom, restaurant.
  • Nearest city / town: Lagos.
Modern villa with pool near one of the best beaches in Europe
Image courtesy of VRBO Villa Camilo

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 best Portugal beaches. 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?

  • Facilities: Parking.
  • Nearest city / town: Lagos.
Modern villa with pool in one of the best beach towns in Portugal
Image courtesy of VRBO Villa Camilo
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Amado Beach (Praia do Amado)

This Portuguese beach is located along the Costa Vicentina, away from the busy beach resorts and one of the recommended places to stay in the Algarve for hikers and outdoor enthousiasts. 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.

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 Ocean. 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. Bordeira beach truly is one of the most beautiful places in Portugal.

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

  • Facilities: Parking.
  • Nearest city / town: Carrapateira.

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. This results in calm water pools at the river mouth, making it one of the best beaches in Portugal for families. 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.
Modern white villa with pool near Arrifana beach, one of the best beaches in the world for surfing
Image courtesy of Viagem Hospitality Group a Neptune Luxury Brand

Buizinhos Beach (Praia dos Buizinhos)

This beach is much more secluded than the other ones we’ve explored along the wild Vicentine Coast of Portugal. 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.
Authentic white and blue house in Porto Covo
Image courtesy of VRBO Paulo Pinheiro

Comporta Beach (Praia da Comporta)

Praia da Comporta is located at the base of the Tróia 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).

  • Facilities: Parking, restroom, restaurants.
  • Nearest city / town: Comporta.
Authentic lodging near the most beautiful beach Portugal
Image courtesy of @almadacomporta

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.
Table on a stone terrace in a mountain setting
Image courtesy of VRBO Quinta de Arrábida
  • Hotel suggestions near Creiro beach: Hotel Casa Palmela.
  • Rental suggestions near this amazing white-sand beach in Portugal: This wonderful quinta with swimming pool set amidst a mountainous landscape.

Guincho beach (Praia do Guincho)

The Cascais beach Praia do Guincho is one of the best Lisbon beaches for surfing

Where the Sintra – Cascais National Park meets the Atlantic, you’ll find Praia do Guincho, one of the best beaches in Portugal near Lisbon for surfers. The water is pretty cold so a wetsuit is recommended if you plan ons spending time in the water.

Whether you spent the day visiting the Sintra castles nearby or exploring Cascais, this is the perfect place to spend a lazy, late afternoon with the wind in your hair. You can easily reach this beach by car but where’s the fun in that? Renting a bike from Cascais and cycling the gorgeous bike path that hugs the coastline is so much more enchanting.

  • Facilities: Showers. We didn’t see restrooms here but there’s a bar that gives out to the beach and which will have restrooms available.
  • Nearest city / town: Cascais.
Praia do Guincho is the best beach portugal near Lisbon
Image courtesy of Wanted Surf Club

Adraga beach (Praia da Adraga)

Last but certainly not least in this list of Portugal beaches is Praia da Andraga, located near Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of Europe. This gorgeous beach is 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).

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 this post would be much appreciated!

Aquamarine waters and golden cliffs near the Algarve beaches
Drone view of a golden Algarve beach in Portugal
Drone view of a gorgeous Portugal beach in Algarve


As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. In addition, we have sprinkled other affiliate links throughout the site content as well. Clicking on such a hyperlink and/or making a purchase to the website it refers to, may result in a commission for CosmopoliClan at no additional cost to you. It allows us to dedicate enough personal time and energy to this blog. For more information, visit the Disclaimer page.

One comment

  1. I popped over to read this post after you posted on my article about Adraga Beach. I couldn’t remember the old-style toilet facilities but now I remember them, thank to your photo. They were closed when we visited but thankfully the café had some facilities.
    Portugal really does do beaches well!

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