Here Are The 15 Best Beaches In Portugal To Chill On This Summer


Portugal is having a moment (we’ve been seeing one too many influencers posing on “hidden gem” rooftops in Lisbon and sipping vinho on tours of the Douro Valley)—and for good reason. The country occupies the perfect middle ground between history, modernity, and nature. Cue the tiny bars leaking nightly fado music, incredibly steep city streets traversed by charming funiculars, and dazzling wine-producing regions that double as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

From the cliffs of the Algarve to the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in the country’s capital, getting bored on your trip to the land of pastel de nata pastries is a nonissue. However, as we all know from places that were once under the radar but have now become spots where you’re more likely to meet an American than a local (cough cough, the Amalfi Coast and Venice), enjoying a true-blue kind of Portugal without it feeling like tourist-trap territory seems to be a “limited time only” experience.

Fortunately, there’s a loophole you can take to escape the touristy commotion and have a way more authentic (and way more chill) vacation in the nation that was once continental Europe’s most formidable power. It’s simple, really—stay away from bustling streets and hit the beach instead. Sure, your Apple Watch step goals might get wrecked, but the aquamarine waters, rolling hills, grassy dunes, and soothing sands will compensate for that.

In the spirit of this “do not disturb,” unbothered, beach bum mentality, we went ahead and did the hard work of identifying 15 of the very best Portuguese beaches for you (the country has 1,114 miles of coastline, after all, islands included). All you have to do after perusing this list and zeroing in on your faves is book accommodations and plane tickets. Might we suggest making it a one-way trip?

1) Praia do Camilo

Once you take the 200 wooden steps down to this secluded cove of a beach in Lagos, you’ll quickly understand why it’s often termed an “iconic” destination. At ELLE DECOR, we don’t throw that term around lightly; in the case of these snorkel-friendly waters, awe-inspiring rock formations, and buttery soft sands, though, the adjective feels merited.

2) Praia da Ursa

The name of this coastal oasis translates to “Bear Beach” due to it boasting a giant rock that looks like a mother bear with a cub on her lap. We personally don’t see the resemblance, but we do see the appeal in spending a whole day (or two, or three) in this precious jewel of a location.

3) Praia da Nazare

Two hours north of Lisbon, Nazare is a charming fishing town that Rick Steves describes as a “Portuguese Coney Island.” That being said, Nazare’s beach is not exactly a place where you’ll feel like the last person on earth. On the bright side, the people-watching potential here is major.

4) Praia da Falésia

This pick is on our radar thanks to its striking, terra-cotta-coloured cliffs that are dotted with lush pine trees. Walking down the beach’s sixish kilometres of sand will make you feel tiny compared to these soaring giants. Bonus points: Like so many selections on this roundup, Praia da Falesia has consistently earned the Blue Flag recognition. Per Travel Weekly, this means it meets strict criteria in areas like “accessibility, environmental management, water quality, and community involvement.”

5) Praia de Benagil


In case all of these beaches are starting to morph into one big jumble of blue skies and bluer waters, here’s a refreshing pick. This hideout on the Algarve coastline has a sea cave—called Algar de Benagil—that you seriously don’t want to miss. From inside, it almost looks like a James Turrell skylight installation, perfect for marvelling at the passing clouds accompanied by the soundtrack of soft waves.

6) Praia de Carcavelos

You’re probably noticing a trend by now: Praia means “beach” in Portuguese. This praia holds the crucial advantage of being about an hour away from Lisbon (and accessible via public transportation, FYI). Catch some waves here while admiring the Fort of São Julião da Barra—one of Portugal’s largest maritime fortifications.

7) Praia do Porto do Seixal

Waterfall on the beach? Say less. This beach on the northern coast of Madeira has black volcanic sand, ideal for snoozing on after a quick dip in the Atlantic. This pristine pleasure comes at a price, though—the Madeira archipelago is costlier to get to than Lisbon. Book flights early, and thank us later.

8) Praia de Santa Marta

This beach in the dreamy resort town of Cascais is more of a cove—providing fairytale-like views of the Santa Marta Lighthouse and a stately villa. Clearly, sunsets here are must-see events (after which you should treat yourself to a seafood feast at the waterfront Furnas do Guincho restaurant).

9) Praia de Moledo

At this beach, you’ll be getting the best of both worlds by being physically in Portugal but having a direct view of nearby Spain’s hills. The location’s winds-plus-waves combo is also every kite surfer’s dream.

10) Praia Nova

Let the multitude of brightly coloured umbrellas in this shot convince you to come to Praia Nova early and stake out prime seating. This Algarve spot has water so turquoise, you might be convinced its saturation is being toggled with in real time. Talk about an Instagrammable destination.

11) Praia do Porto Santo

This one’s for all the beach walkers out there: The Porto Santo Beach has nine kilometres of golden sand practically begging for you to walk across it (barefoot) at sunrise. What’s more, this sand is mineral-rich and has been “used for many years in the treatment of musculoskeletal diseases,” according to Vila Baleira Hotels & Resorts. For this perk and the overall incomparable vibes of the beach, it’s been named the best in Europe by European Best Destinations two years ago.

12) Praia do Paraiso

Don’t let the curvilinear, steep stairs leading to this beach intimidate you: Praia do Paraiso is well worth the hike. True to its name, the relatively isolated beach is kind of a paradise—consisting of a thin strip of sand that often disappears at high tide. There aren’t any public facilities here…but then again, everyone needs to live out their Castaway fantasies at some point.

13) Praia do Carvalho

To access Carvalho Beach in the Algarve region, you need to first navigate through a man-made tunnel. There’s light at the end of it, though—in the form of perfect-for-snorkelling conditions and the impressive rock standing solo in the waters just in front of the beach. You’ll likely see people cliff-jumping here and be tempted to join them. Word of advice: Do it.

14) Praia de Santa Bárbara

The waves in this spot—which hosts World Surf League Qualifying Series events each year, according to Fodor’s Travel—are not a joke, so you might have to skip out on swimming here. However, if you’ve made it as far as the Azores, you might as well enjoy them thoroughly. We suggest pulling a Kelly Slater and signing up for some surf lessons at the local Azores Surf Center, or else just observing the action from the safety of your beach blanket.

15) Praia da Samoqueira

This beach isn’t just the stuff of screensavers. It’s real, it’s rugged, and it magically develops natural pools at low tide. Spending a day here is a true “choose your own adventure”—you can swim, yes, but also climb rocks, discover hidden caverns, and thank your lucky stars for finding yourself in Portugal.

Check out the Original Article At ELLE Decor USA

More From

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content