The easiest beach escape from Porto is to Foz do Douro (tram, or bus #500) – really, if all you want is a paddle in the rock pools, a lie on the sand and a beachside beer, there’s no need to go anywhere else. Matosinhos (metro Line A), further north, is where the locals go to eat seafood and for a night’s clubbing, and there are beaches and more restaurants across the Rio Leça at Leça da Palmeira (an easy walk from Matosinhos or bus #507 from Senhora da Hora or Matosinhos metros). The Vila Nova de Gaia beaches (buses #902 or #906), across the Douro to the south, have extensive sands and big campsites. Further south still is the resort of Espinho, which is 18km from Porto (frequent local trains from São Bento; 35min). Once the darling of northern Portugal’s monied classes, the resort is now largely ruined by unchecked construction that has taken place since the 1970s. A better day-trip option is by metro (Line B) to the north of the city: the old seafaring town of Vila do Conde is easily the best target, though the brash resort of Póvoa de Varzim just beyond (at the end of Line B; 1hr from Porto) might tempt you with its 8km of sands.

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