For many, the best beaches in Portugal are in the Algarve. But the country's coast stretches for 1,700km. And beautiful beaches exist in less touristy areas.
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 guide for visiting Portugal.
1 - Praia de Tavira, Algarve - easy to reach island beach
Praia de Tavira is on Ilha de Tavira. This sandbar island runs from Tavira towards Fuseta. And there's a ferry from the mainland.
- Acres of sand and no hotels.
- Umbrellas and pedalos to rent on main beach.
- A few beach restaurants.
- Summer crowds on main beach.
- Visit off-season for deserted sands.
Where to stay
Stay nearby at Pousada Convento de Tavira in Tavira old town.
- Converted 16th century convent.
- Lovely cloisters and own church.
- Rooms overlook old town or countryside.
- Swimming pool within old town walls.
- Only 15 minutes from Ilha de Tavira beaches.
What to do
Take a tuk tuk tour of Santa Luzia and Fuseta villages. See octopus traps on the jetty. Discover Tavira's salt pans. And marvel at wild, watery Ria Formosa.
Praia da Tavira is one of the best beaches in Portugal © Henry Oude Egberink/Shutterstock
2 - Praia da Marinha and Benagil in Algarve
Discover the coast between Armação de Pêra and Centianes. This is the undeveloped stretch for Praia da Marinha and Benagil.
- Praia da Marinha's a warren of coves.
- No development, seasonal fish restaurant
- Clifftop path from Praia da Marinhas to Benegal.
- Benegal beach sits below cliffs.
- Sail from Benegal to visit sea caves.
Where to stay near Praia da Marinha
Stay at Holiday Inn Algarve in Armacão de Pêra.
- Right on the seafront.
- Modern hotel with pool and gym.
- Terrace overlooking the beach.
- Two restaurants, two bars.
What to do in Benagil
Want to really explore Benagil? Take a speed boat tour boat tour to visit the sea caves and spot dolphins.
Praia da Marinha, a classic of Portugal beaches © Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock
3 - Nazaré, Ribatejo - the record breaking surf beach
Nazaré is one of Portugal's top surf towns. And it has all the trimmings that come with that. But it also has a great beach.
- Expansive, clean sands.
- Can be busy in summer.
- It's the Atlantic, think before you swim.
- World class surfing in autumn and winter.
- Nazaré North Beach waves regularly break surf records.
Where to stay in Nazaré
The Hotel Mar Bravo overlooks Nazaré beach.
- Bright, airy rooms with ocean views.
- Rooms with private balconies.
- Beachfront Mar Bravo restaurant.
- Covered terrace for outdoor dining.
What to do in Nazaré
Discover what's under the waves at Nazaré. Book a two hour diving session with expert local guides.
Nazaré is one of the best beaches in Portugal for Atlantic surf © Solianova Margarita/Shutterstock
4 - Praia de Odeceixe, Algarve - great beach for swimming
The village of Odeceixe comes alive in summer. It attracts streams of surfers and visitors. And the biggest draw is Praia de Odeceixe.
- Four kilometres west of village.
- Summer road train from village to beach.
- Or a pretty walk through river valley.
- Most sheltered beach on this coast.
- Good for surfing and swimming.
Where to stay in Odeceixe
Choose Residencia do Parque for good value and a central village location.
- Friendly backpackers' hotel.
- Range of en-suite rooms.
- Top floor rooms with balconies.
- Close to cafés, bars and restaurants,
What to do in Odeceixe
Rent stand up paddle boards and explore Odeceixe beyond the beach.
Take the cute road train down to Praia de Odeceixe © CroMary/Shutterstock
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5 - Foz de Minho, Minho - Portugal's most northerly beach
Foz de Minho is Portugal's most northern beach. Find it just southwest of Caminha town.
- Atlantic beach close to Rio Minho estuary.
- Sheltered by pine forest.
- Fortified island offshore.
- Distant views of Spain from beach.
Where to stay in Caminha
Stay at Caminha’s biggest resort, Hotel Porta do Sol.
- Right on the Rio Minho.
- Close to the Foz beaches' boardwalk.
- All rooms have balconies.
- Some rooms have sea views.
- Two pools, restaurant, sauna and spa.
What to do in Minho
Short on time? Take a trip from Porto to discover Minho in a day.
Prefer to leave planning and booking to experts? Have a look at some sample itineraries. Both Complete Portugal or Portugal Itineraries offer inspiration. All Tailor Made Trips can be modified together with your local expert, then booked for a stress-free holiday. Click 'Modify this itinerary' to contact a local Portugal expert.
Get to know more northerly Portugal beaches © Vita Borges/Shutterstock
6 - Praia da Figueira, the secret Algarve beach
You have to walk to Praia da Figueira. But it's worth the effort. Start at Figueira village. Follow a rough track through some ruins. Then continue on to Praia da Figueira. You can't drive to the beach, so it's often deserted. The walk takes about 25 minutes. And the countryside's lovely.
The best beaches in Portugal are often the least visited © Shutterstock
7 - Comporta, Alentejo - the beach for endless sands
The Alentejo covers almost a third of Portugal. And it's home to one of the country's best beaches.
- Comporta sits in remote northern Alentejo.
- West of historical Alcácer do Sal.
- Beach is known for endless deserted sands.
- Seafront restaurants popular with savvy Lisboetas.
Where to stay in Alcácer do Sal
Book Pousada Castelo de Alcacer do Sal, just outside Alcácer do Sal.
- Former Moorish castle.
- Part of Pousada Dom Afonso II hotel chain.
- Historic building, contemporary rooms.
- Outdoor swimming pool.
- Spa and wellness centre.
What to do in Comporta
Visit Melides for horseback riding on the coast and wine tasting. Only a 30 minute drive from Comporta.
Endless deserted sands on Comporta beach in Alentejo © mrfotos/Shutterstock
8 - Praia da Bordeira and Praia do Amado, Algarve
Algarve beaches are some of Europe’s finest. Find two sandy stars in a remote part of the region.
- Wild Praia da Bordeira.
- Broad, sandy Praia do Amado.
- Both close to low-key Carrapateira village.
- Praia da Bordeira has giant dunes.
- Praia do Amado is popular with surfers.
Where to stay in Carrapateira
- Stay at Monte da Vilarinha in Vicentine Coast Natural Park.
- Private apartments with kitchens.
- Double rooms.
- Splendid views of the valley.
- Outdoor swimming pool.
What to do near Carrapateira
Want to see more stunning beaches? Take a cruise along the Algarve's golden coast from Lagos.
Praia da Borderia comes with spectacular views © cmspic/Shutterstock
9 - Praia Galapos, Parque Natural da Arrábida
The Parque Natural da Arrábida has been a protected area since 1976. It's home to polecats, buzzards and eagles. The craggy Serra da Arrábida range is here. And the coast's very dramatic. Go for its white sand coves.
- Praia Galapos is off the tourist trail.
- Close to tiny Portinho da Arrábida.
- Gleaming white sands backed by forest.
- Sheltered cove with calm seas.
Where to stay near Praia Galapos
Charming Casa da Adoa is a lovely house in Portinho da Arrábida.
- Right on the seafront.
- Sunny patio garden.
- Fresh, bright rooms.
- Family rooms with kitchens available.
What to do in Parque Natural da Arrábida
Discover more hidden beaches. Take a guided kayak tour of Arrábida with local experts.
Galapos beach in Parque Natural da Arrábida © Nuno Carraca/Shutterstock
10 - Porto Côvo, Alentejo
The Portuguese love the unspoiled Alentejo coast. Expect gentle hills, sea cliffs and lowkey resorts. And look forward to its sandy coves.
- Porto Côvo town is best for beach access.
- Popular weekend retreat from Lisbon.
- Mostly quiet, can be busy in August.
- Visit Praia Grande north off Porto Côvo.
- Don't miss Praia da Samouqueira for its rock formations.
Where to stay in Porto Côvo
Stay at Hotel Porto Côvo close to the centre of town.
- Popular with Portuguese families.
- A few minutes walk from local markets.
- Modern, one bedroom apartments with kitchen.
- Small, outdoor swimming pool.
What to do in Porto Côvo
Want to explore Porto Côvo and Alentejo? Take a day tour from Lisbon and get to know the local area.
One of the charming coves at Porto Côvo © Cernamolisa/Shutterstock
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