10 Best Beaches in Portugal

Offering the best coastline in all of mainland Europe, it is no surprise that Portugal is teeming with beautiful beaches.

From secluded coves to wide, expansive stretches of sand, Portugal has the perfect beach for any holiday. Whether you are looking for a relaxing day by the ocean, adventurous water sports, or a naturist experience, you can find it in Portugal.

To help you plan your trip and get the most out of your visit, here are our picks for the 10 best beaches in Portugal.

Praia da Rocha

Located near Portimao in the Algarve, Praia da Rocha is a large, beautiful beach situated a convenient distance from hotels, resorts, and cafes.

Praia da Rocha is surrounded by stunning red cliffs and offers an expanse of golden sand with more than enough room for the thousands of daily visitors that flock to this section of the Algarve coast every summer.

This beach is perfect for lounging in the sun but if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, you’ll have no trouble finding it. Not only are there beach chairs and umbrellas for rent, but you can also rent jet skis or take a banana boat ride.

The water entrance is shallow so the beach is safe for children while still providing waves big enough for some incredible bodyboarding.

And when night falls in Praia da Rocha, things really come to life with a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs lining “the strip!”

Praia da Adraga

Near the town of Sintra and only 27 miles from Lisbon, Praia da Adraga is a quiet little slice of heaven.

Surrounded by high cliffs, this cove feels secluded and rugged but is actually quite lovely and accessible.

This quiet beach emerges at the end of a long and winding road, is a favorite of the locals, and boasts some of the most magnificent sunsets in the world. With a stunning rock archway on the shore and a number of rock formations protruding from the ocean, Praia da Agraga feels as though it is a from another world.

This beach is not necessarily ideal for swimming as water can get a little rough. But, if you are interested in surfing or bodyboarding, the waves here can be just right.

Praia da Adraga is a beach that will please your inner explorer. Low tide provides access to many caves, grottos, and corridors to investigate.

There is also a great opportunity to hike here, using the many rocks as a perfect vantage point to take in the sea views. You can hike all the way to Praia das Macas to the north and Cabo da Roca to the south.

But, if you would rather stay put, that’s okay too as this beach has a number of amenities. Right along the beach, you will find the Restaurante D’Adraga serving up delicious fresh fish and meat dishes that are sure to satisfy even the pickiest of diners. Word of warning, unless you have made a lunch or dinner reservation, expect to wait for a table. Fortunately, the beach is right there to help you pass the time!

Praia da Arrifana

Praia da Arrifana is located 6 miles outside the town of Aljezur in the Algarve region. If you are interested in surfing and getting up close and personal with nature, Praia da Arrifana is for you!

This blue flag beach spans for nearly half a mile in a seashell shape, providing a bit of protection from the north swell. Looking south, you will see the iconic Needle Stone and towards the north end of the beach, near the fishing port, you will find excellent conditions for scuba diving.

To get to the beach, you will have to make your way down a fairly long road from the parking area located at the top of the cliff. This means that Praia da Arrifana may be difficult to access for people with mobility issues. There is, however, a buggy system in place that may help.

Once you have arrived and are situated on the sand, you can rent boards and wetsuits if you didn’t bring your own. There’s also a surf school here if you are looking to learn or shake off the rust before hitting the waves. There are also restrooms on the beach and a lifeguard on duty during the high season.

After braving the waves on your surf or bodyboard, pop into Restaurante da Praia located on the beach for some fresh seafood and a glorious view. Or, head up to the town nestled among the cliff tops. You will find several cafes and restaurants offering fresh and delicious Portuguese cuisine.

In the evening, as the sun dips into the Atlantic, the orange and black sandstone cliffs are set ablaze, laying the groundwork for a little romance. 

History buffs should pay a visit to the ruins of the Arrifana Fortress that sits atop the northern cliff or take a trip back in time by visiting the nearby Ponta da Atalaia. These locations provide unparalleled views of the Atlantic and can be accessed as part of a day trip or by hiking the Fisherman’s Trail section of the Rota Vicentina. 

Praia da Rainha

Praia da Rainha is a beach located in a small cove near the oldest part of Cascais. While this beach is tiny  (only 50 meters long!), it makes up for its lack of size with a central location and picturesque views.

Dona Amelia, the last Queen of Portugal, once claimed this spot as her own private beach. Given the beach’s sheltered and secluded feel, it isn’t hard to see why. This location has calm sea waters and clean, golden sand, making it ideal for family visits or for people hoping to avoid strong surf.

This beach can get crowded but there are lots of things to do nearby. Just above the beach is Largo da Praia da Rainha, a square where you can sit, enjoy a meal or cold drink while breathing in the sea air and looking out over the Atlantic Ocean.

Praia da Rainha is a short walk from the train station and the nearby shops, bars, and cafes making it a great spot for any tourist in Cascais looking to unwind while still having time to explore the area.

Praia de Benagil

Praia de Benagil is one of the most popular beaches in the Algarve. With soft sand, golden cliffs, and turquoise waters, Praia de Benagil’s charm will be immediately obvious.

This beach, and the must-see Algar de Benagil or, Benagil Sea Cave, is found about 15 minutes from Lagoa and 25 minutes from Portimao, making it a convenient stop for any visitor to the region.

Visitors to Benagil will not be disappointed. Park your car at the top of the great cliffs and make your way down to the beach from there. Surrounded by coves, caves, and hiking trails, this beach is perfect for the more adventurous tourist.

Rent a stand-up paddleboard or kayak to do a self-guided tour of the Benagil Cave, or, if you are feeling ambitious and have the skills to back it up, swim the 200 meters from the beach to the cave.

When you’re down hanging out on the beach, an authentic Portuguese seafood restaurant is not far away! Within walking distance, you can find some of the best, and freshest, seafood the Algarve has to offer.

If you don’t mind crowds, Praia de Benagil is an absolute must.

Praia da Luz

Praia da Luz is a beach located in a small resort town just outside of Lagos in the Algarve. The “beach of light” is shallow, clean, and covered in soft, fine sand making it a perfect destination for folks with children or those just looking to relax and take in the views.

This beach can be crowded in the summer months but the eastern end, towards the black rockface, is a little quieter. On the western side of the beach, you will find a little rocky area with a small cove. Within that cove is a small beach known as Prainha. This little beach is often pretty quiet and it is surrounded by calm, crystal clear, waters. This level of water visibility is significant as the shoreline is full of rocks that can really injure a swimmer if they aren’t paying attention.

Behind Praia da Luz is a promenade full of cafes, bars, and restaurants. If you are looking for a little adventure (and have the proper footwear!) you can hike to the top of the black rock. The ocean views are incredible and is an ideal spot for taking in a sunset. 

Praia do Carvalho

If the idea of cliff jumping fills you with excitement, Praia do Carvalho near Lagoa is for you.

This is a small beach surrounded and sheltered by high cliffs. When compared to the rest of the best beaches in Portugal found on the list, Praia do Carvalho is less crowded than most of the others.

The only way to access this beach is by a man-made tunnel through the cliffs. But this isn’t just any ol’ tunnel, be sure to look for some of the fossils nestled in the walls as you pass through! It is important to note that this tunnel has steep and uneven steps that can make it hard to access for individuals with mobility concerns.

The water visibility here is incredible, making it a good spot for snorkelling. It is best, however, not to swim out too far from the shore as the currents can be strong in this area.

There are two different places to jump into the water from the surrounding cliffs. On the right-hand side of the beach, there is an opening in the cliff that brings you to a ledge about 7 meters above the water. On the left-hand side, you can climb up higher and perform a more spectacular jump. The water is quite deep on both sides so there is little risk of underwater injury here.

Once the shade hits the beach, or once you’ve had enough swimming, you can hike west along the tops of the cliffs towards Praia do Vale de Centeanes in Carvoeiro. Every step of the way, you will be greeted with spectacular views and fresh ocean air.

Praia da Marinha

Getting to Praia da Marinha can be a bit of a challenge, it is a short drive from the main road and sits at the bottom a long, steep, staircase, but it is more than worth the effort.

At the base of the stairs, you will find a small restaurant and a tiny sandy beach. To get to the main beach, you will have to walk around the big rock. Once you are on the other side, the beach will open up before you and you’ll see all the coves, caves, and arches that have been carved by the ocean waves. Perhaps the most famous rock formation in the region is the “M rock,” so named because it’s dual arches create an “M” shape. At low tide, you can walk along the beach for a closer look.

The sand here is golden soft, and the waters are calm and clear. This is another great beach for swimming and snorkelling, or just lounging in the sand. If you want to add more activity to your beach visit, you can hike the trail that runs along the top of the cliffs. If you head west, you’ll be headed towards Praia de Benagil and going east will take you to Senhora da Rocha. Not matter which direction you take, you will be treated to some of the best views in the Algarve.

Praia da Falesia

Widely considered to be one of the best beaches in the world, there is only one word for Praia da Falesia: stunning.

This beach is broken down into two parts. In the west, near Olhos de Agua, you will find the famous red cliffs. On the eastern side of the beach near Vilamoura, the cliffs become lower and the beach becomes wider. If you are interested in water sports like paragliding, scuba diving, snorkeling or surfing, the east end of the beach is where you will want to be.

Because this beach is so well-known, it can get crowded during the day but it is less so in the evening. But, with a 6km-long stretch of soft golden sand, you won’t have any trouble finding your own slice of paradise.

There are plenty of incredible places to eat along the beach and at the western end near the car park, you will find a snack bar.

The hiking trail that runs along the clifftops is a great way to take in the awe-inspiring beauty of this beach. If you want to stay closer to the water, you can stroll through the sand, covering the entire beach in around 2 hours.

For a special treat, try to take in a sunrise or sunset at this location. Both are incredible and worth making that extra effort.

Porto Covo

Porto Covo is a small town with a wealth of beautiful beaches. Located near Sines on the Western Alentejo coast, there is a perfect beach for just about everyone. Below the cliffs, you will find a number of sandy coves that you can explore.

Praia dos Buizinhos and Praia do Banho are two coves that can be found fairly close to town but the most popular beach in the area is probably the Praia Grande.

Praia Grande is a great place for surfing and bodyboarding or just relaxing in the sun. At the north end of the beach, you will find one of the largest saltwater pools in Europe while on the beach’s southern cliffs you can check out dinosaur fossils. This is a blue flag beach complete with all the amenities you’d need for a truly blissful day in the sun.

Beside Praia Grande, you can find Prais do Salto, one of only a few naturist beaches in Portugal. So, if you are looking to strip things down, this is where you need to be. Private, serene, and gorgeous, this is a truly great beach. 

Choosing the best beaches in Portugal is no easy task but each beach on this list offers an incredible, unique, and pleasurable beach-going experience. For help planning your trip to the Algarve region of Portugal, contact us today to get started!