No holiday is complete without a trip to the beach. There's something about where the coast meets the sea that's perfect for relaxation. With the sun basking you in warmth, fine soft sand between your toes and the cool sea lapping at your feet, Portugal has no end of stunning beaches to enjoy. From the ever popular Algarve to the gorgeous Silver Coast, there's a beach waiting for you to discover it.
Nazaré beach is one of a kind. This beach is world famous for being the go to for big wave surfing. Those looking for watersports and adventure will find everything they could ask for! Underwater Nazaré canyon propels the swell upwards creating gigantic waves, with many a world record broken here for surfing and watersports. Of course, it's not just for the hardcore adrenaline seekers. Nazaré is a beautiful beach with pristine golden sand and lots of amenities and activities to suit everyone. Only a 30 minute drive north of Foz de Arelho, you'll be enchanted simply by the journey as you pass picturesque villages and stunning coastal vistas.
Óbidos Lagoon is removed from the typical tourists radar meaning you're offered stunning scenery combined with a traditional Portuguese atmosphere. Óbidos Lagoon is famous with the locals but most tourists have never really heard of it. The fine crystalline white sand is perfectly contrasted against the startling blue of the lagoon's waters. The deeper the water, the darker the hue. Óbidos itself has several beaches encompassing its border, all of them beautiful in their own way. The lagoon is a pick your own adventure story with a host of options. Calm waters for a gentle paddle or exhilarating waves to surf? A day laying on the ivory white sand or exploring the history of a beautiful walled city? Foz de Arelho beach is a popular destination as the sand juts out into the water giving you lagoon on one side and Atlantic on the other. No matter which you choose - fun and relaxation are sure to be had!
Praia do Cabedelo rests just opposite the stunning medieval town of Viana do Castelo. As with a lot of beaches it's all about location, location, location. This gorgeous crescent shaped beach is popular with tourists thanks to its golden sand sheltered by pine tree and grassy dunes. The beach is on the edge of a nature reserve, but is cordoned off to protect the delicate ecosystem. The beach shelves very gently, so even though there are rolling waves there's a big shallow area that kids can play in quite safely. It's a hit with surfers and body boarders thanks to the on-shore winds that allow for a mix of waves perfect for novices and experienced surfers alike. The town and area maintains its traditional charm and roots, a perfect destination for those looking to immerse themselves in Portuguese culture.
No 'Best Beaches' list would be complete without mentioning the breath-taking Praia do Benagil. The mesmerising natural beauty of this beach and cave has been captured in countless photographs, but nothing can match witnessing it for yourself. Hidden away, the only access is by boat, kayak or paddle board (the ocean is strong so we don't recommend swimming). A small beach waits inside, with sunlight streaming through the cavern roof. The cave entrance orchestrates a stunning uninterrupted view of the ocean guarding you from the harsh currents. There are several caves to explore and discover. If that all sounds like too much, you can always enjoy the simplicity of lying on the beach soaking up the warmth of the sun, never venturing towards the caves.
For those looking for seclusion and natural beauty, there's Praia da Marinha. Tucked away, hidden by the steep cliffs of the Algarve, the beauty of this beach cannot be overstated! It's one of the most photographed beaches in the Algarve. An arresting mix of sapphire blue waters, rugged cliffs broken into the sea and fine golden sand makes it one of the most captivating sights in Portugal. The beach itself is small and unspoiled. This means the areas natural beauty has been perfectly maintained with no facilities, amenities or even easy access. The perfect beach for those looking to relax in peace and comfort. Sheltered by the steep cliffs there is little wind and the water here is generally calm, letting it be perfect for families as well.
Portugal is so much more than its beaches. There's the friendly nature of the locals, rich history, first class golf courses and so much more. Explore more with our guide on the top things to do in Portugal.