Summer’s almost here! Sun and sand, the sea disappearing into the distance, a deep blue sky and countless pleasant moments are waiting for you in Portugal.
The Portuguese coast is extensive: between the mainland and the islands combined there are more than 2,800 km of coastline where you can find 352 beaches awarded with the European Blue Flag and 214 that are considered Accessible Beaches. All are bathed by the Atlantic Ocean, yet all differ one from the other.
The most famous beaches are in the Algarve. With three thousand hours of sun per year and warm waters, there are beaches along its 200km length to suit every taste, and many dreamy resorts. Sagres, on the southwestern tip of the European continent, marks the transition. It is situated on the Vicentina Coast which, together with Southwestern Alentejo, forms one of the best-preserved stretches of the European coastline. Here are deserted beaches of wild beauty where you can enjoy unparalleled contact with nature. One stretch of sand extends for over 60km, from near Sines to end in Troia, a great challenge for trekking buffs!
Near Lisbon are many different options, such as the Costa da Caparica, the Estoril coastline, and a bit further north, Ericeira, Peniche and Nazaré, with perfect waves for surfing, bodyboarding, windsurfing or kitesurfing. In the center you’ll find very wide, sandy stretches, for example Figueira da Foz, and in the North, the beaches of Miramar and Cabedelo.
In the Madeira Archipelago, the highlight is the long, golden, sandy beach of the Island of Porto Santo, and in the Azores Islands, you will find black sand of volcanic origin, framed by every shade of green — typical of a well-preserved environment.
If you’re looking for a different holiday in the midst of nature, our river beaches are the ideal solution to cool off in settings of green forest. The concern over environmental conditions, safety, and accessibility in these locations is demonstrated by the growing number of river beaches with a Blue Flag and by the development of easier access for people with reduced mobility as well as leisure areas with diversified services. We suggest that you explore the network of river beaches in the Schist Villages or that you seek out beaches as you travel through the Historic Villages or the Nature Parks of Serra da Estrela or Gerês.
For those interested in more active holidays, the Natural Parks and Reserves, Geoparks and Biosphere Reserves recognized by UNESCO have ensured that Portugal is also a destination much appreciated for enjoying outdoor activities, whether they are more contemplative, such as bird watching, or more extreme, like canyoning, rafting or following nature trails on foot or by bike, a good choice for those who like to combine physical exercise and contact with the local culture.