Summer is here! The 10 best beaches in Portugal

With over 800 km of coastline, Portugal is known for its beautiful beaches along the Atlantic coast and the Algarve. The choice of the “best” beaches is subjective, as it depends on individual tastes and preferences. However, here are some of the most renowned and stunning beaches in different regions of Portugal:

  1. Praia da Rocha, Algarve
  2. Marinha Beach, Algarve
  3. Comporta Beach, Setúbal
  4. Guincho Beach, Cascais
  5. Benagil Beach, Algarve
  6. Carvoeiro Beach, Algarve
  7. Camilo Beach, Algarve
  8. Sao Rafael Beach, Algarve
  9. Miramar Beach, Porto
  10. Ursa Beach, Sintra

01. Praia da Rocha, Algarve

Praia da Rocha, located in the south of Portugal, is famous for its towering cliffs, crystal clear waters, and golden sands. It’s a lively beach with a variety of bars, restaurants, and water activities.

Situated in the city of Portimão, it is easily accessible from the city centre, within walking distance.

Praia da Rocha is known for its extensive stretch of golden sand, which stretches for several kilometers along the coast, offering plenty of space for sunbathers and allowing the beach to accommodate a large number of visitors even during the busiest months.

Praia da Rocha

A distinctive feature of Praia da Rocha is the stunning cliffs that tower along the coast. These rock formations provide a unique landscape, making the beach even more enjoyable.

The beach also offers a variety of water activities, from boat trips to water sports such as jet skiing and parasailing. There are also designated areas for beach volleyball and soccer.

Praia da Rocha has excellent infrastructure, which includes parking areas, showers, sunbed rental and umbrellas. There are also restaurants and cafes along the avenue, providing visitors with more amenities.

In addition to being a beach destination, during the day, Praia da Rocha is famous for its lively nightlife. There are several bars, nightclubs, and restaurants along Avenida Tomás Cabreira, which runs along the beach, offering a vibrant atmosphere until the wee hours of the night.

The combination of natural beauty, extensive activities, and the vibrant atmosphere makes Praia da Rocha a popular choice for tourists and locals looking to enjoy the sun and sea in the Algarve.

02. Marinha Beach

Praia da Marinha is located in the municipality of Lagoa, in the Algarve, easily accessible from nearby cities such as Portimão and Albufeira. It is one of the most emblematic beaches because of its unique rock formations and sea caves.

Known for its crystal clear waters and quality of its sand, it is an excellent place for swimming and snorkeling due to the visibility of the water and the presence of interesting underwater rock formations. The golden and ochre cliffs create a striking contrast to the intense blue of the ocean, providing a spectacular backdrop.

In addition to enjoying the beach itself, visitors can explore trails around the beach, gifting visitors with panoramic views of the cliffs and the Atlantic ocean. There are also boat tours available to explore the caves and rock formations along the coast, taking visitors to these natural wonders, providing a unique and unforgettable experience.

Marinha Beach

Praia da Marinha offers parking for visitors, making access convenient. Although the infrastructure is more limited compared to some more developed beaches, this contributes to the more natural and preserved atmosphere of the place.

The beach and the surrounding area are protected, aiming to preserve the natural beauty and biodiversity. Visitors are encouraged to abide by environmental guidelines to ensure the conservation of this natural treasure.

Praia da Marinha is a popular choice for those looking for a quieter beach experience, surrounded by stunning nature and unique coastal scenery. It is an ideal location for those who appreciate the natural beauty and serenity of the marine environment.

03. Comporta Beach

Praia da Comporta is located on the Tróia Peninsula, in the region of Setúbal, south of Lisbon. It is accessible by car, boat, or ferry, giving you different options to get to this secluded area. It is known for its natural beauty: the white sand dunes and turquoise waters. The sea here is generally calm, making it an excellent option for swimming and relaxing.

Unlike some busier beaches, Praia da Comporta offers a calmer, more rustic atmosphere. The lack of overdevelopment contributes to a more authentic and close-to-nature experience.

Comporta Beach | Source:

Despite being less developed compared to some of the busier tourist beaches, Praia da Comporta has a few beach bars and restaurants offering fresh and delicious food, often highlighting local products such as rice from the region.

Visitors can also explore the surrounding areas through hiking and biking. The region is known for its extensive rice fields and the diversity of birds that inhabit the area, which is why the area around Comporta Beach is protected to preserve biodiversity and natural beauty. Visitors are encouraged to respect the environment and follow sustainable practices during their visit.

For all these reasons, Praia da Comporta is an ideal choice for those seeking a quieter beach experience, away from the crowds and in a stunning natural environment. The combination of golden sands, calm waters, and a serene atmosphere make this beach an enchanting getaway on the Portuguese coast.

04. Guincho Beach

Praia do Guinho is an emblematic beach, located about 8 km northwest of Cascais and approximately 30 km west of Lisbon. Easily accessible by car from these locations, it is famous for its strong waves, making it a popular spot for surfers. In addition, the surrounding landscape of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park adds a special touch to the experience.

Guincho Beach

The beach is known for its wild natural beauty. The wide expanses of golden sand are surrounded by dunes and rugged coastal scenery, creating a stunning environment.

Famous for its ideal conditions for surfing. The strong and consistent waves attract local and international surfers. There are surf schools in the area for those who wish to learn or hone their skills. In addition to surfing, Guincho is known for its strong winds that make the area conducive to windsurfing and kitesurfing. The beach has hosted several international competitions of these sports.

Guincho Beach is part of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, a protected area with a great diversity of flora and fauna. The natural surroundings around the beach are perfect for hiking and nature observation, making it a popular spot for nature lovers and photographers.

In the area near the beach, there are restaurants and bars where visitors can enjoy local food, including fresh fish and seafood dishes. Amenities on the beach include showers and parking areas.

Guincho Beach has been the setting for movies and television shows, contributing to its international fame. The James Bond film, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” included scenes filmed on this beach.

The combination of ideal water sports conditions, natural beauty, and a relaxed atmosphere make Guincho Beach a unique and attractive destination for anyone visiting the Lisbon region.

05. Benagil Beach

Benagil Beach is located in the Algarve region, near the village of Benagil, which belongs to the municipality of Lagoa. It is known not only for its golden sands and crystal clear waters, but mainly for the famous Benagil Cave, a naturally formed sea cave, with an opening at the top, allowing sunlight to create spectacular effects inside the cave. The Benagil Cave is often referred to as the “Cathedral of the Algarve” due to its unique beauty.

Benagil Beach

The best way to explore the Benagil Cave is by boat. There are boat trips available from the beach or nearby areas, taking visitors inside the cave to take in the impressive rock formations, making it one of the most photographed sites in Portugal.

In addition to the cave, Benagil beach itself is beautifully framed by high golden cliffs. The sand is soft and the waters are generally calm, making the beach a pleasant place to relax and swim.

The area around Benagil Beach offers opportunities for coastal walks. Visitors can explore the cliffs and take in panoramic views of the ocean and the surrounding countryside.

The village of Benagil is a small fishing community with an authentic charm. In addition to boat rides and beach activities, visitors can explore the village, enjoy meals at local restaurants, and interact with locals.

Very popular during the tourist season, especially due to the demand to visit the Benagil Cave, it is recommended to check the sea conditions and the availability of boat trips in advance before visiting, especially outside the high season.

Benagil Beach is a must-see destination for those looking for unique experiences amidst stunning landscapes. The combination of a picturesque beach, a spectacular cave and the authenticity of the village of Benagil makes this place a jewel on the Algarve coast.

06. Carvoeiro Beach

Praia do Carvoeiro is located in the centre of the village of Carvoeiro, in the municipality of Lagoa. It is one of the most iconic beaches in the region and is known for its natural beauty and enchanting atmosphere.

It is a medium-sized beach with golden sands and crystal clear waters. The atmosphere is lively during high season, but retains a cozy, family-friendly feel.

The beach is surrounded by high cliffs, creating an impressive backdrop. Over the years, natural erosion has formed a natural arc in the rock, adding a unique feature to the beach landscape.

The cliffs around Praia do Carvoeiro offer spectacular panoramic vantage points of the ocean. There is a viewpoint in the area that provides incredible views of the Algarve coast.

For those who wish to explore the marine area, it is possible to rent kayaks or embark on boat tours that explore the marine caves of the region, including the famous Benagil Cave.

In addition to the beach, the village of Carvoeiro is known for its narrow streets, local shops, seaside restaurants, and lively nightlife. Strolling through the village center is a charming part of the experience.

During the high season, Praia do Carvoeiro and the village itself can play host to local events, festivals, and concerts, providing additional entertainment for visitors.

Praia do Carvoeiro is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, offering a combination of natural beauty, water activities, local culture, and a laid-back atmosphere. The village and beach capture the authentic charm of the Algarve.

07. Camilo Beach

Praia do Camilo is located a few kilometres south of the centre of Lagos, accessible by car or a scenic walk from the city centre.

Access to the beach is via a steep staircase carved into the golden cliffs that surround the beach. Despite the steep descent, the panoramic view of the coast during the hike is spectacular.

It’s relatively small, creating a more intimate atmosphere compared to some larger beaches, making for a quieter experience.

The beach is known for its golden sand and crystal clear waters. The calm and clear waters make it suitable for swimming and snorkeling.

Camilo Beach

The coastline around Praia do Camilo is marked by impressive rock formations, including natural arches and caves. Visitors can explore these formations during low tide or through local boat tours.

In the upper beach area, there are bars and restaurants offering meals and drinks, often with panoramic views of the ocean.

Boat trips are available to explore the rock formations and caves along the coast. These tours offer a unique and breathtaking perspective of Praia do Camilo and the surrounding areas.

Like many beaches in the Algarve, Praia do Camilo is most popular during the summer months. The beach can get busier during this time, so visiting during the early morning or late afternoon can provide a quieter experience.

Praia do Camilo is appreciated mainly for its natural beauty, tranquil environment and exclusive access. The combination of clear waters, golden sands, and unique rock formations makes it a popular choice among visitors exploring the Lagos region.

08. Sao Rafael Beach

São Rafael Beach is situated about 3 km west of the city of Albufeira, one of the most popular tourist areas in the Algarve. The beach is easily accessible by car and offers parking.

Access to the beach is via a steep descent, but the walk is worth it for the panoramic views of the coast and sea. The staircase leading to the beach is carved into the golden cliffs, providing a unique experience.

Sao Rafael Beach

The normally calm waters make the beach an excellent choice for swimming and relaxing.

São Rafael Beach also offers the opportunity to explore caves and underwater passages during low tide. Local boat tours can take visitors to these unique rock formations.

There are beachfront restaurants and bars on Sao Rafael Beach, where visitors can enjoy meals and drinks overlooking the ocean.

Like many beaches in the Algarve, São Rafael is especially popular during the summer months. Arriving early can be a good idea to ensure a quieter spot on the beach.

São Rafael Beach is a treasure on the Algarve coast, offering a combination of natural beauty, serene surroundings, and nearby amenities. Its convenient location and unique features of the rock formations make it a popular choice among visitors to the region.

09. Miramar Beach

Miramar Beach is located on the Atlantic coast of Portugal, near the city of Porto. This coastal getaway is much more than just a beach; It’s an experience that blends historical charm with natural beauty.

While exploring Miramar Beach, we are confronted with a magical sight: the Chapel of the Lord of the Stone. Rising majestically on the golden sands, this centuries-old chapel is a living testament to the fusion between religious devotion and harmony with nature. The waves of the Atlantic gently hug the beach, providing an unparalleled backdrop for this architectural masterpiece.

Miramar Beach

The soft, golden sand invites relaxing walks along the shoreline, while the ocean horizon stretches as far as the eye can see. It’s a place where time seems to slow down, and visitors can get lost in contemplating the vastness of the Atlantic.

Miramar is also an invitation to serenity, perfect for relaxing and recharging. Whether enjoying a picnic in the shade of the pine trees that line the beach or simply feeling the sea breeze caress your skin, this is a place that invites contemplation and tranquility.

As the sun sets over the Atlantic horizon, painting the sky with shades of orange and pink, Miramar Beach reveals its most romantic facet. It is an idyllic setting for a memorable end to the day, where the sound of the waves mixes with the murmur of history and the promise of a new tomorrow by the sea.

10. Ursa Beach

Praia da Ursa is a hidden gem on the west coast of Portugal, near Sintra. This beach is a natural masterpiece, a place where nature manifests itself in its wildest and most dramatic form.

Ursa Beach

Upon arriving at Praia da Ursa, we are confronted with a breathtaking scenery. Gigantic rock formations sculpted by wind and waves seem to emerge from the golden sand, creating a landscape that is both imposing and serene. It’s as if nature itself has carved out a work of art over the centuries.

Known for the two prominent rocks, affectionately named “Ursa” and “Cub”, which resemble a bear and her cub. These rock formations add a unique touch to the landscape and are an icon of the region.

Access to Praia da Ursa can become a challenge, due to the steep trail that winds between the cliffs, but it is worth it. Once down there, we’ll find an unspoiled haven away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Praia da Ursa is an invitation to contemplation and connection with nature. Whether it’s for a solitary stroll along the coast, to enjoy the sunset painting the sky in vibrant colors, or simply to feel the raw energy of the Atlantic ocean, this beach provides a unique and memorable experience. It is one of those special places that are engraved in the memory, where the grandeur of nature leaves an indelible mark on those who visit it.