The Top Ten Rated Beaches in Portugal
From beautiful hidden coves on the west coast of Portugal to peaceful and picturesque bays in the Algarve, here are the top 10 beaches to be found in Portugal:
Praia Forte do Paço, Viana do Castelo
This beach is 800-metres of soft sand; its name derives from the ruined 18th-century fort close by. It is really peaceful even in the summer. Waves crash into shallow pools hidden under granite boulders which make it just perfect for children to paddle and play. Unfortunately, the beach has no bar or cafe, so you will need to bring a picnic.
Dunas de São Jacinto, Aveiro
This is a wild but beautiful beach with 8km of soft white sand. It is surrounded by pine forest, and is a protected nature reserve where you will see sandpipers, gannets and osprey. Do be aware there is no lifeguard or cafe, however there are boardwalks making it easier to reach.
Praia do Baleal, Peniche
This is an idyllic spot with 4km of sandy curves. It is quite secluded with sea-worn rocks and little pools with plenty of small crabs and shells – superb for little ones wanting to explore! It is also ideal for surfers later on in the day. In Peniche you will find plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants selling delicious fresh seafood.
Praia da Adraga, Sintra-Cascais Natural Park
Praia da Adraga has beautiful coves and a sandy beach with rocks providing a good shade on hot days. At low tide you will see a tiny cave, for little ones to explore! The beach is popular with surfers later on in the day but it seldom becomes busy.
Praia da Amália, Brejão
From Azenha do Mar village, follow a path through thick growth and down the steps to Praia da Amália beach. A freshwater cascade travels to a little cove, providing a natural shower. Also, there is a fantastic restaurant in Brejão that serve charcoal-grilled fish.
Praia da Santa, Salema
The Alentejo natural park is where you will find secret coves. About 10 minutes away are Praia da Santa and Praia da Figueira, underneath the ruins of an ancient fort. You will even see tracks in the stone left by dinosaurs! For any history buffs – there is the Fortaleza de Almádena, a yellow stone ruin and a 17th century castle which faces the sea, some three miles east of Salema.
Benagil Sea Cave, West Algarve
From this beautiful beach you can swim or kayak to reach this impressive sea cave. The best time to visit is in the early hours of the morning as a stunning golden light pours into the cave. The beach can get busy in high season. However, for ‘people watching’ there are several cafes and restaurants nearby.
Praia da Senhora da Rocha, West Algarve
A quaint chapel overlooks this pretty beach of Senhora da Rocha; it is also overlooked by sheer sandstone cliffs, sheltering the beach from the hot sun. Do be aware the beach quickly sinks to deep water, making it a ‘blue flag beach’ There is a lifeguard during summer and a few cafe bars close to the steps.
Praia do Barril, Ilha da Tavira
Praia do Barril is actually a naturist-friendly beach and very peaceful with beautiful soft white sands and calm waters making it just perfect for relaxing and enjoying lazy days in the glorious sun.
Caneiros and Ponta da Ferraria, São Miguel
At Caneiros, you will see unusual rock formations that have crystallised from the cooling lava and formed deep tidal pools where they reach the sea. You can enjoy a gentle dip at low tide and experience crashing waves at high tide. There is a hand-rope for swimmers to hold on to as the water swells can become intense. There is also a fabulous restaurant by the rocks (Termas da Ferraria) serving traditional dishes and delicious local wines.