Most visitors think the best beaches Portugal has are always in the Algarve. But the country's coast stretches for 1,700km and there are plenty of beautiful beaches in less touristy areas. In fact, beaches are one of the reasons Portugal is a new entry in our list of most beautiful countries in the world – voted by you in 2022.
But which beaches really are the best in Portugal? Here's our pick of 10 top beaches in the Algarve and beyond. The information in this article is taken from The Rough Guide to Portugal, your essential travel guide for Portugal.
Praia de Tavira is on Ilha de Tavira a sandbar island which runs from Tavira towards Fuseta and is reached by a ferry from the mainland. Don't expect hotels here, but come for acres of sand and a few beachy restaurants.
You can rent pedalos, umbrellas and sun loungers on the main beach in summer, although you should factor in a few crowds in July and August. Visit off season and you'll have the deserted shores almost entirely to yourself.
Nearby Tavira is a good base for exploring this part of the Algarve and it's also home to one of 9 of the best pousadas in Portugal, if you want some tradition with your stay.
Take a tuk tuk tour of Tavira and see octopus traps on the jetty, discover Tavira's ethereal salt pans and marvel at untamed Ria Formosa.
Discover the coast between Armação de Pêra and Centianes, the largely undeveloped stretch where you'll find lovely beaches like Praia da Marinha and Benagil as well as seasonal fish restaurants and places where you can sail to visit spectacular sea caves.
Praia da Marinha is a warren of coves and not much else, apart from a few restaurants in summer. If you want to explore a little, follow the clifftop path from Marinha to Benegal. The beach sits just below the cliffs and it's from here you can catch boat tours to see those caves.
A speed boat tour boat tour from Benegal is the best way to explore the dramatic, sculptural sea caves and quite probably spot dolphins, if you're lucky.
Nazaré is one of Portugal's top surf towns and has all the trimmings that come with that reputation. It also has a great beach with clean and expansive sands, although expect it to be busy in July and August as Portugal is one of the best places to visit in Europe in summer 2022.
Even in summer treat the Atlantic here with caution when it comes to swimming. Autumn and winter are the best times for surfing, waves are world class and the ones at Nazaré North Beach regularly break records in wild January and February.
Discover the area beyond its iconic surfing beaches on a 4 x 4 buggy tour of Nazaré with local guides.
The village of Odeceixe features in our Undiscovered Portugal: best places to get off the tourist trail guide, but it comes alive in summer, attracting streams of surfers and visitors to nearby Praia de Odeceixe.
Just four kilometres west of the village, this remarkable beach is one of the most sheltered on the coast and good for swimming or surfing. From May to September you can ride a little road train from Odeceixe to Praia de Odeceixe. Alternatively, walk the pretty path to the beach, it's worth some legwork.
To explore Praia de Odeciexe beyond the sands think about renting stand up paddle boards for a couple of hours.
Foz de Minho, just southwest of Caminha town, is Portugal's most northerly beach and even gives you views of Spain in the distance. It's close to the Rio Minho estuary, sheltered by pine forest and has a fortified island not far from the shore.
Choosing less travelled coasts in Portugal for a less touristy experience is just one of the inspired ideas in our 20 essential Portugal travel tips for year round trips guide.
If you want to make the most of your time in this area, book a day trip from Porto to discover Minho with local guides.
Prefer to leave planning and booking to experts? Have a look at the Portugal itineraries by our local travel agents in Portugal. All Tailor Made Trips can be modified together with your local expert, and then booked for a stress-free holiday.
If you're in any doubt as to why the Algarve is one of the most beautiful places in Portugal to visit, take a walk to Praia da Figueira. It's worth the effort, only takes 25 minutes and the countryside all the way is gorgeous.
Start at Figueira village and follow a rough looking track which winds through some ruins. From there it's a straight route to Praia da Figueira. You can't drive to the beach, so it's often completely deserted, another reward for walking.
Go on a guided Lagos kayak tour it's one of the best ways to get to know this part of beautiful western Algarve.
The Alentejo covers almost a third of Portugal so of course it's home to one of the country's best beaches. You'll find Comporta in remote northern Alentejo, a little west of historical Alcácer do Sal.
The beach is known for endless deserted sands most of the year, although its very good seafront restaurants attract a lot of savvy Lisboetas during summer. In fact Alentejo is good for food all round, take a look at our best restaurants in Portugal right now guide to see why.
While you're in Alentejo head to Melides for horseback riding on the coast and wine tasting, it's only a 30 minute drive from Comporta.
A quick look at the Algarve Portugal: a year round guide lets you know the region's beaches are some of Europe’s finest, and also busiest in summer. So it's worth seeking out these two sandy stars close to Carrapateira village in the more remote part of the Algarve.
Wild Praia da Bordeira is the one for spectacularly tall dunes and almost perfect peace. Or if you want a little more life, head to broad and sandy Praia do Amado and pick a spot on the beach to watch surfers doing their stuff.
The Parque Natural da Arrábida has been a protected area since 1976 so unsurprisingly it's home to a lot of wildlife, including polecats, buzzards and eagles. The craggy Serra da Arrábida range is here too, which adds significant drama to the coast.
Pretty, white sand coves are the thing here and Praia Galapos is the least touristy of the lot. Close to Portinho da Arrábida, you'll find the beach sheltered by pine forest and if you want to swim, it's known for calmer than usual Atlantic waters.
Meet the more elusive locals round these parts on an Arrábida dolphin watching boat tour.
The Portuguese love the unspoiled Alentejo coast with its landscape of gentle hills and sea cliffs, scatteriing of lowkey resorts and lovely, sandy coves.
Porto Côvo town is one of the best for beaches and a popular weekend escape from the city for Lisboetas. It can get busy in August, but off season there are few if any crowds here. Head north of the town for Praia Grande and don't miss Praia da Samouqueira for its stunning rock formations.
To discover more of the Alentejo, take a day tour from Lisbon to Évora and go wine tasting in Monsaraz.
Ready for a trip to Portugal? Check out the Rough Guide to Portugal. If you travel further in Portugal read more about the best time to go and the best places to visit. For inspiration use our Portugal itineraries or speak to our local experts. A bit more hands on, learn about getting there, getting around the country and where to stay once you are there. And don't forget to buy travel insurance before you go.
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