Porto Covo: Portugal's Beach Destination
If sun, sand, and sea sound like the makings of a perfect holiday, then Porto Covo should be your holiday destination.
This small, former fishing village is home to four spectacular beaches and some of the best seafood in the country. It's laid back atmosphere and authentic vibe makes Porto Covo an ideal weekend getaway for Portuguese locals and tourists alike.
Porto Covo, which translates to "port of fishing nets", is a true hidden gem. Rebuilt after the earthquake in 1755, at the center of the village is the main square know as the Praca Marques de Pombal. It is here that you will find beautiful whitewashed buildings with bright red doors and bright blue accents.
All roads in the old village lead to a small fishing harbor where visitors can hop on a boat to the small, uninhabited, Pessegueiro island. 300 meters offshore, this island is home to a 15th century fort as well as some Roman ruins.
But, far and away, Porto Covo's biggest attraction is the beaches. Here is everything you need to know to help you plan your trip to what can easily be called Portugal's top beach destination.
How to Get to Porto Covo
Located near Sines on the Western Alentejo coast, Porto Covo is, fortunately, very easy to get to.
About 170km south of Lisbon, the fastest and easiest way to get to Porto Covo is by car. All you have to do is follow the A2 from Lisbon to the IP8. If driving north from the Algarve region, take the main N120 north from Lagos.
It is also possible to take a bus from Lisbon and Lagos. This is the most cost-effective way to get to Porto Covo but it does take a little longer to arrive. If planning to take the bus, make sure to account for an additional hour of travel time, at least.
Hiring a taxi is also a possibility but doing so can get rather pricey. If choosing this option, try to negotiate a flat rate before you get in.
Porto Covo Beaches
Some of the best beaches in Portugal can be found in Porto Covo. Head for the cliffs on the coastal edge of town and it will be impossible to miss these sandy paradises.
Praia Grande is the biggest beach in Porto Covo. This beach is characterized by fine golden sand and towering yellow cliffs. From this location, the water appears the most incredible blue.
The Atlantic ocean swells make Praia Grande a great beach for surfing and bodyboarding. This blue flag beach has all the facilities you need for a comfortable day, including a seasonal lifeguard and a nearby restaurant.
This beach can get crowded in the high season so be sure to arrive early to stake out your own spot to spend the day.
Praia dos Buizinhos
You do not need to travel far to find Praia dos Buizinhos, as it is located within walking distance of the town square. This beach is named for the many seashells (mainly whelk) that dot the sand.
This small beach is located in a south-facing cove backed by a semi-circle of cliffs, making it one of the most sheltered beaches in the area. There are no facilities here but the waters are clean and relatively safe so this should not negatively impact your visit.
Because there is not a lot of sand, and it is located so close to town, it can get a little crowded here. And at high tide, the sand all but disappears. But do not let that deter you from making a visit. If you get sick of the crowds or are forced out by the tides, head for the stairway at the western end of the beach. At the top is a gazebo that provides spectacular views of the Atlantic coast. Pay a visit at sunset, you will not regret it.
Praia do Banho
Praia do Banho is another small beach located in the town center. It is named for the traditional baths in the ocean that take place each year on August 29th. This tradition can be found all over the Portuguese coast. The exact origins of the tradition are unknown but it involves villagers entering the water on this specific date to experience the ocean's regenerative powers.
This beach is popular with parents and small children as it is mostly sheltered from the wind and crashing surf. It, more or less, faces in the opposite direction of Praia dos Buizinhos so if you find it too exposed or windy there, Praia do Banho is likely to be more comfortable.
The area of this beach nearly doubles at low tide so if you are looking for space to spread out and relax, a low tide visit is your best bet.
Praia do Salto
Praia do Salto will not be for everyone. This beach is located alongside Praia Grande and provides a sense of peacefulness and privacy. Since 2002 this beach has been officially recognized as one of the few naturist beaches in Portugal.
The beach is a little hard to find, it is located near the large curve that takes you into Porto Covo. The sand is accessible via a staircase on the south side of the cliffs.
Praia do Salto is quiet and clean with refreshing blue waters. If you are looking for a place to truly relax in all your glory, this is the spot for you.
Where to Eat in Porto Covo
As a village with a rich fishing tradition, there are, unsurprisingly, some incredibly fine restaurants. Here are our top picks for where to eat in Porto Covo:
Restaurant Ze Inacio
This place is probably one of the best restaurants in Porto Covo with a mix of Mediterranean and Portuguese dishes. The wait staff is friendly and the atmosphere is inviting and warm.
The grilled octopus is a must-try and the porco preto (Iberian pork) is beyond compare. Be sure to save room for the wonderful chocolate mousse.
Praia Grande Bar and Restaurant
After a day playing in the water at Praia Grande, you are sure to work up an appetite. Fortunately, Praia Grande Bar e Restaurante is located right on the beach!
The food is simple and delicious. There is something so special about eating fresh fish while breathing in the salty sea air. The staff is friendly and are always ready with a stellar wine recommendation. If you love simplicity and flavor, you're in the right spot.
Do not fill up on the garlic shrimp because you will definitely want to try one of the lovingly hand-crafted desserts!
Where to Stay in Porto Covo
Many people will travel to Porto Covo on a day trip from Lisbon or the Algarve. Others will come through while following the Rota Vicentina hiking trail. Others still, will come for a beach vacation. No matter what brings you to town, you need to know the best options for staying the night.
Porto Covo Hotel
Just 500 meters from the center of the village, Porto Covo Hotel offers comfortable apartments and rooms in a convenient location.
The hotel is a 10-minute walk from the beaches and has all the amenities you will need like an outdoor swimming pool, free wifi, and air conditioning.
The rooms are clean and beautifully decorated with terra cotta floors and wood finishings.
Casao Porto Covo
Located 2 minutes from the beach, Casao Porto Covo has a great view of Pessegueiro Island. This holiday house is located inside an old coal factory, its interior is charmingly unique and rustic.
Perfect for a group, with 4 rooms, this house can sleep up to 8 people. It has a fully equipped kitchen, free wifi, a flat-screen table tv, and everything you will need for a quiet, private getaway with just you and your chosen travel companions.
Porto Covo is the perfect destination for anyone looking to take a
break from the typical tourist activities and unwind by the sea. The
stunning cliffs, golden sand, and crystal clear waters of the nearby
beaches make any visitor feel calm and at one with their natural
For help booking your beach getaway in Porto Covo, reach out to us. We would love to help you build your dream vacation!