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Portugal - Beaches

Sun-worshipping, solitude, and surfing the waves

A stunning coastline makes Portugal a paradise for sun-worshippers, families with small children, and surfers. And the 943 km long coastline offers some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe.

Portugal has beaches to suit every taste: long, unbroken sand dunes, ideal for swimming and sunbathing, cliff beaches for those who like to explore, isolated small bays where you can enjoy the solitude, and beaches with waves that attract surfers from all over Europe.

The Algarve coast is the best known, and this is where the tourists come to enjoy the sun and sea on golden beaches. Porto de Mos, Meia Praia, Alvor and Praia da Rocha are some of the most popular beaches along this part of the coast. Slightly further to the east, lie such pearls as Vilamoura, Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago.

Near Lisbon in northern Portugal, you’ll find Praia do Guincho, which is particularly popular with wind and kite surfers. Praia do Guincho hosts numerous surfing competitions and there are also several schools where you can learn the art of surfing.  

 

Tips and advice for Portuguese beaches

  • Be careful of the sun if you’re just visiting. Use plenty of sun tan lotion and make sure it has a high SP factor.
  • Bear in mind that the sun is very strong in the middle of the day. Protect yourself with a beach parasol and drink plenty of water if you’re spending a long day on the beach.
  • There are lots of restaurants, all offering more or less the same menus, along most of the beaches. If you want something that’s slightly less touristy, check out the restaurants a few streets inland from the beach.
  • Remember that pickpockets often like operating where there are large crowds of people. Make sure you keep an eye on your possessions when you go for a swim, or alternatively, ask someone lying beside you to keep an eye on them.
  • Try out some new beach activities! The companies that organise them are used to dealing with beginners and will be happy to show you what to do. Or maybe take a trip to one of the many Algarve coast’s caves that offer experiences to remember.
  • Enjoy the sea but respect the waves.