13 Best Beach Towns in Portugal

Are you looking for the best beach towns in Portugal?

Look no further! From stunning cliffside views and crystal-clear waters to vibrant nightlife and delicious seafood, Portugal’s coast is a paradise waiting to be explored. Whether you’re searching for an idyllic spot to relax or a lively place to go sightseeing, each of these destinations offers something truly special.

So pack your bags, grab your sunscreen and hop in your car rental to explore the best beach towns in Portugal!

Best Beach Towns around PortoRibiera district in Porto, Portugal, seen from an aerial perspective.

1. Viana do CasteloViano do Castelo, one of the best day trips from Porto, Portugal.

Viana do Castelo, located about 45 minutes north of Porto, is a stunning beach town with plenty to offer visitors. From its breathtaking golden beaches and rolling dunes, this historic city full of architecture and interesting attractions has something for everyone. It is known as one of the most beautiful towns in Portugal and has its own forte and cathedral.

Take the funicular up to Monte de Santa Luzia Sanctuary to see the biggest rose window in the Iberian peninsula, or visit the Gil Eannes hospital ship for an interesting afternoon. There are plenty of activities to keep you busy while in town, so don’t miss out on exploring the stunning medieval architecture or the delicious regional cuisine.

Nearest airport: Porto

Best beach: Praia do Cabedelo

Best place to stay: Casa Manuel Espregueira e Oliveira is a great option with lots of character and is right downtown!

What and Where to eat: Try the pescada à Vianense which is a local cod dish, as well as the famous caldo verde soup. This is where the iconic potato, kale, and chouriço soup was born! Try Tasquinha da Linda right downtown for lunch or dinner.

2. MatosinhosSandy Atlantic beach with vertical sign that says 'Matosinhos' in the small fishing village near Porto, Portugal.

Matosinhos is a seaside town in Portugal, located just on the outskirts of Porto. It’s a popular destination for surfers looking to ride the waves, and its beaches are known for their stunning views. Here, you can also visit the largest aquarium in Portugal and explore the impressive 83-hectare Parque da Cidade do Porto.

If you’re feeling artsy, don’t miss the chance to visit the Serralves Art Deco villa and its spectacular park and contemporary art museum. Finally, if you get hungry, head to one of the many restaurants in Matousinhos for a delicious seafood feast!

Nearest airport: Porto

Best beach: Matosinhos Beach

Best place to stay: Ocean Porto – Beach House is a small house 500 m from the beach with a beautiful modern design and its own pool in the yard. Not to be missed!

Where to eat: Fish and seafood are king here, and if you’re here during the summer months, try the grilled sardines! Meia-Nau Matosinhos has some of the best dishes in town right in front of the marina!

Best Beach Towns between Porto and Lisbon

3. AveiroIconic red, green, and blue striped houses of Aveiro, Portugal, one of the best day trips from Porto.

Aveiro, known as the “Venice of Portugal” for its picturesque canals winding through the city, is a great destination for tourists wanting to see something different in this charming coastal town.

You can take a boat trip down the canals, rent a bike to explore the city or take an organized tour to visit one of the nearby lagoons and experience its salt production. Don’t miss the salt spa at the lagoon, it’s a great way to pamper yourself for a few hours.

A few kilometers toward the ocean you can visit Costa Nova and its iconic striped cottages – a lovely spot for an afternoon stroll right on the beach.

Aveiro is also known for its ceramic art. Keep your eyes peeled for the murals on the train station and many other buildings around town. Don’t forget to try sweet Ovos Moles, they’re a local favorite!

Nearest airport: Porto

Best beach: Praia da Costa Nova

Best place to stay: Saber Amar Charme is the ideal place to stay if you’re looking for an authentic Portuguese home with nice design and a convenient location. The view over the canal is unbeatable!

Where to eat: Try the fish stew at restaurant O Bairro for an exceptional dinner out and excellent service!

4. Sao Martinho do PortoSao Martinho do Porto

Sao Martinho do Porto is a beautiful coastal town in Portugal, located on the Silver Coast with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s an ideal destination for tourists looking to relax and enjoy some time away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

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The beautiful stretch of fine golden sand is unique because it is protected by a thin strip of land with a small opening to the sea. This produces a naturally calm shell-shaped lagoon where tourists and locals can spend their days relaxing by the beach.

The cobbled streets are lined with cafes, restaurants, and bars, while the beachfront offers plenty of activities such as swimming, sailing, and fishing. The Portuguese love to come here for a day by the beach, and it is especially popular with families.

Nearest airport: Lisbon

Best beach: Praia de Sao Martinho do Porto

Best place to stay: Paradise Bay T3 is a really nice newly renovated flat with an incredible view of the lagoon, a pool, and an exceptional design. Not to be missed!

Where to eat: Nova Caravela is the place to be for excellent fish, shellfish, and seafood! Try the octopus salad, it is divine!

5. PenichePeniche

Peniche is a beach town located about 1.5 hours north of Lisbon along the coast. It is known for its stunning beaches, surfing, and other water sports. It is one of the most interesting coastal towns in Portugal due to its diversity of activities and boasts clear blue waters with medicinal properties due to the high iodine content.

Don’t miss an excursion to the Berlenga islands! This archipelago makes for a great boat excursion to check out the colony of puffins and other marine life in the natural reserve. If you’re feeling adventurous you can go kayaking, diving, or hiking around these islands.

Right off the town’s center, Fortaleza de Peniche is a cliff-top fortress with a great view over the Atlantic. This centuries-old fort has been restored and now houses an interesting museum, with exhibits about its history and artifacts from the Age of Discoveries.

On the other side of town, you can find Praia do Baleal, a former whaling station that has now become a hip surf hub with lots of cool surf shops and schools. The beach also offers breathtaking sunsets over the horizon, it’s a must-see for any visitor to Peniche.

Nearest airport: Lisbon

Best beach: Praia da Consolaçao

Best place to stay: This Deluxe Flat in Historic Center is an excellent option with fantastic design, modern amenities and excellent reception by the owners.

Where to eat: Os Americano’s is an incredible spot for delectable dishes and although it is a wine bar, I’d go there for the fabulous food, especially the Polvo a Lagareiro.

6. NazareLooking at the coastal town of Nazare from atop the mountain with small nets hanging in the foreground.

Nazare is a stunning coastal town on the Silver Coast of Portugal. With its beautiful beaches, charming cobblestone streets and dramatic red-roofed buildings, it’s a popular destination for tourists wanting to explore the breathtaking Portuguese coastline. The main beach in Nazare is Praia da Nazare, which has golden sand and crystal-clear waters. This beach is perfect for swimming, surfing and sunbathing.

The old town of Nazare is a must-visit for those looking to explore the culture and history of the region. Wander through its narrow streets lined and take the funicular up to the convent at Sitio. Here you can enjoy breathtaking views of the coastline, as well as visit the lighthouse and Forte de Sao Miguel Arcanjo. You’ll also want to keep your eye out for its famous monster waves which can reach up to 25 meters!

Nearest airport: Lisbon

Best beach: Praia da Nazare

Best place to stay: Nazare Marisol Praia offers a great location in the center of the village and right in front of the beach. It’s modern, clean and the view is spectacular.

Where to eat: Arimar is an excellent choice since it’s right next to the funicular on arriving in O Sitio, and has amazing views of the fabulous stretch of sand and village below.

Best Beach Towns around Lisbon (Central Portugal)

7. Ericeira

Ericeira is a beautiful beach town located just outside of Lisbon along the coast. With its stunning ocean views and charming streets, Ericeira is the perfect destination for a relaxing getaway. As the only World Surf Reserve in Europe, it is also THE spot for surfers looking to catch some waves.

Nearby, you can visit the stunning Palácio de Mafra, a Unesco site and one of the best palaces to visit in Portugal. Ericeira itself offers plenty to do – from strolling the narrow cobblestone streets and people-watching in the quaint village square to biking, hiking, and enjoying the local surf vibe in the restaurants and shops.

Plus, you can’t miss out on trying some of the delicious seafood dishes here – Ericeira is the place of choice for LIsbonites looking for excellent fish and seafood!

Nearest airport: Lisbon

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Best beach: Praia de Foz de Lizandro

Nearest airport: Lisbon

Best place to stay: Casa das Aguarelas offers modern comforts with a historic flare that is ideally located downtown.

Where and What to eat: Try the famous caldeirada de peixe (fish stew), octopus rice, or the delicious seafood plater at Ribas. It was recently renovated and now has a stunning aquarium as a centerpiece!

8. Azenhas do MarAzenhas do Mar

Azenhas do Mar is a charming seaside village just outside of Lisbon. Its picturesque location along the coast, with traditional Portuguese homes perched atop a craggy cliff and overlooking the pounding surf, is an unforgettable sight. The cobblestone streets are lined with beautiful traditional houses and there’s a small sandy beach for swimming and sunbathing.

The village is also known for its excellent fish and seafood served in restaurants built into the cliffs – the giant windows up on the cliffs are the perfect way to enjoy the stunning views. Don’t miss the mill stones scattered around the village alleys. They are remnants of the original sea-powered water mills which gave the village its name. A great day trip from Lisbon!

Nearest airport: Lisbon

Best beach: Praia das Maças

Best place to stay: Casa Nas Arribas is a cute cottage in a fabulous location right on the sea. It offers a very authentic experience in a traditional house which has been well kept.

Where to eat: The Azenhas do Mar restaurant is a classic, built right into the cliffs above the crashing waves. Here try the fish and seafood, but you’ll find it fairly expensive. If you’d like something better priced, and just as delicious, try Cafe das Patricias – you won’t regret it!

9. Cascais

Cascais is an idyllic coastal paradise located minutes from Lisbon’s grand hotels and urban feel. With its beautiful beaches, stunning views, and charming cobblestone streets, it’s no wonder Cascais is a popular tourist destination.

 And it’s only 40 minutes from the Lisbon Airport for those who choose Cascais as a base to explore the surrounding area. Whether you’re looking to surf in the ocean, explore ancient fortresses, or just relax in the sun, Cascais is the perfect spot for your holiday.

The beaches near Cascais are particularly stunning, with Praia da Duquesa and Guincho being two of the most popular spots. Guincho’s wild coastline and strong winds make it a great destination for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing, while Praia da Duquesa’s gently rolling waves make it ideal for swimming and sunbathing.

Beyond the beaches, Cascais also has a wealth of attractions for tourists to explore. The Estoril Casino is a popular spot where you can try your luck in the card tables or just enjoy its wonderful atmosphere. You can also take a stroll around the center of Cascais and explore the quaint shops, cafes, restaurants and bars. Don’t miss the Fortress of Santa Marta, which is a beautifully preserved 16th-century Portuguese fort.

Nearest airport: Lisbon

Best beaches: Praia da Duquesa and Guinchos

Best place to stay: Luna House is such a lovely place to stay right next to the historical center. It is well priced modern, has a beautiful garden and pool, and is very convenient.

Where to eat: A Nova Estrela is a great traditional Portuguese Restaurant with excellent dishes and truly fabulous service! The owner is always there receiving diners and makes sure you’ll have an excellent dining experience. This puts it far above all other places with great food in Cascais.

Best Beach Towns in Algarve and South of Lisbon

10. Sagres

Situated on the southernmost tip of Portugal’s Algarve coast, Sagres is a stunningly beautiful destination that offers a unique and captivating experience for tourists looking for something off the beaten path.

With its wild and windy beaches, rugged terrain, and spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, it’s no wonder this simple town has become so popular with visitors.

The beaches of Sagres are beautiful long sandy beaches and the privileged location makes for excellent surf spots nearby. Visitors can enjoy a number of watersports and activities, such as surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, diving and much more.

Also worth visiting is the fifteenth-century fort that stands guard over the town and coastline. With its sweeping views and salty air, it’s easy to understand why people refer to Sagres as ‘the end of the world’.

Nearest airport: Faro

Best beach: Praia da Mareta

Best place to stay: Sagres Time Apartamentos are a great option for a well priced flat located between the main beaches. Although not the most stylish, it does offer a nice pool and is very well rated.

Where to eat: A Seriea is a restaurant located on top of the fish market which serves the freshest fish in Sagres. If you arrive after lunch, you’ll get to see the fish auction from the market!

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11. Odiceixe

Odiceixe is one of the prettiest coastal towns in Portugal. Located on the Silver Coast, Odiceixe has much to offer its visitors.

The main attraction is Odiceixe Mar with its lovely beach, a narrow river-formed beach with a small lagoon perfect for swimming and paddleboarding. It’s also an ideal spot for surfing thanks to the strong waves coming off the Atlantic on the main beach.

The small hamlet on the sea is small but charming with several restaurants, surf shops and cafes – although most are only open in summer months. A must-see when visiting is the breathtaking sunset from the beach.

Odiceixe is also on the Rota Vicentina, a network of trails for hikers – so why not combine some beach time with some beautiful views of nature?

Nearest airport: Faro

Best beach: Praia de Odiceixe

Best place to stay: If you’d like to be right downtown, try Bohemian Antique Guesthouse for its beautiful design and great location. If you’ve got a car, Odiceixe is definitely the place for rural tourism. Monte Joao Roupeiro is a traditional Alentejano family country house with acres of property, beautiful views, a gorgeous pool and pond, and more.

Where to eat: Ao Largo Odeceixe offers beautiful Portuguese food, as well as excellent vegetarian and vegan options right in the central square of the town.

12. Ferrugado

Ferragudo is a charming fishing town located on the other side of the Arade river from Portimao. It’s a great destination for those looking to escape the bustle of city life, as it offers a peaceful atmosphere with plenty of cultural and historical sites to explore. The old town center is filled with traditional white-washed buildings and cobblestone streets, making it a romantic spot for an evening stroll.

Ferragudo offers a lot of outdoor activities, from hiking to the fort just across the river in Portimao, cycling to the lighthouse, or snorkeling amongst Atlantic marine life – all of which can be done without having to navigate too far from the shore.

Additionally, visitors can visit the Silves Castle considered the best preserved Moorish castle in Portugal, and its archeological museum, or take a ride to Slide & Splash – one of the biggest water parks in Algarve. For those wanting to venture a little further, 30 minutes north you’ll find Parque da Mina – an interesting historical theme park centered on an iron ore mine, distillery and 18th-century manor house.

Nearest airport: Faro

Best beach: Praia Grande

Best place to stay: Hotel Rural Brícia Du Mar is one of the best hotel options in the area for nice large modern rooms with gorgeous pool views and great amenities for a very low price.

Where to eat: Fim do Mundo is a lovely taverna with funky decor and absolutely fantastic food. Try the rib eye and be blown away!

13. TaviraTavira

Tavira is a delightful and charming town located on the Mediterranean coast of Portugal. Right on the Gilão River, it offers a beautiful setting for relaxing and exploring. For those looking for a bit of fun, Praia do Barril can be accessed by taxi boat and then mini train and is one of the most gorgeous beaches in the area.

The town also has many cultural attractions, including Tavira Castle which is a restored remnant of the town’s Moorish era. For something truly unique, visitors should pay a visit to Tavira’s camera obscure, set up in a converted water tower from 1931.

Top it all off with some entertainment at Fado com História for an evening of Portuguese music, dancing and storytelling.

Nearest airport: Faro

Best beach: Praia do Barril

Best place to stay: Staying at Colégio Charm House is an experience in itself since the property is a fabulously renovated schoolhouse. The design is truly stunning and the exceptional service and attention to detail puts this place above the rest.

Where to eat: O Barril has excellent Portuguese food with great house wine! The duck breast here is divine!

Map of the Best Beach Towns in Portugal (Mainland)Best Beach Towns in Portugal

Best Beach Towns in Portugal: The Wrap Up

Portugal is a beautiful country with an abundance of stunning coastal towns and beaches. From the Silver Coast to Madeira, there are plenty of places to explore for those seeking adventure or relaxation on their travels. Whether you’re looking for golden sand, crystal-clear waters or monster waves, these best beach towns in Portugal have something special that will captivate your heart and soul.

Guest Author: A beachcomber, an avid bookworm, and a teacher. Michelle is a Canadian travel blogger who writes about Ericeira. She lives between Mallorca and Ericeira, with her family. Follow her adventures on Ericeirafamilyadventures.com.

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