Portugal is known for its outstanding beaches from North to South.
With more than 850 km of coast and bathed by Atlantic Ocean, the diversity is endless! From white sand to rocky beaches, some with warm “like soup” (as Portuguese say) calm waters and others with super waves in freezing cold water, some with great conditions for surfing or kite-surfing pending on the wind and most of them optimum for relaxing and tanning. Good for a book or a lovely walk, full of people or hidden, almost unreachable, Portugal has beaches suiting all personalities and preferences. There’s however one thing that all of us, Portuguese, love doing after a day at the beach – going for a snack!
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PRAIA DE MOLEDO, Viana do Castelo
Just one hour drive from Porto, this is a very common Summer holiday destination for Porto families. Here, the weather is the driver: when the sun is out it´s magical, but when it’s not (more often than one would expect) it can be very windy and even rainy. From the beach you can see the Ínsua fort on a small sand island, 200 m away – it is documented that every 50 years approximately it is possible to walk all the way there; last time was in 2001, so do your maths : ). It´s a good Surf and Kite Surf spot and, besides the month of August, it´s quite peaceful. The local advice: always have both swim suit and warm sweater with you, just in case.
“Pra lá Caminha” is a snack-bar you can´t miss while around Moledo. It has delicious tasty sandwiches, all with strange names and quite unique. Cachorro “Carlos Meireles” (hot dog in puff pastry) is a must try.
PRAIA RIBEIRA D'ILHAS, Ericeira
Ericeira is a fishing village with a picturesque feel, and one of the main surfing areas in Portugal, being the only world surf reserve in Europe. Ribeira D’ilhas beach, just a few kms driving from the centre, is the main surfing spot in the surrounding area, hosting the world championship stages every year, while also having a beautiful setting. Now there are some path walks on the cliffs near it.
To grab a bite after a day here, head to “Pizza Mobile” at São Lourenço beach, 3 kms north of Ribeira D’Ilhas. Here you will have a relaxing amazing view.
PRAIA DO PORTINHO D'ARRÁBIDA, Setúbal
Recently considered the most beautiful in Europe, by the European Best Destinations organization, this is an idyllic beach with an atypical scenery when compared to the rest of the Portuguese coast. Crystal clear blue water, a white sand bay surrounded by a green lush vegetation all around, this beach is inside the Serra D’Arrábida Natural Park. It is only a 50 minutes’ drive from Lisbon.
The restaurant “O Farol” is a great choice to try some of the portuguese seafood specialties or gilled fresh fish just near the beach.
PRAIA DA COMPORTA, Grândola
One and a half hour driving from Lisbon towards the south, you will find the paradisiacal beach of Comporta. The beach itself is part of a nature reserve located at the beginning of Tróia´s peninsula, south of the Sado River, composed of rice fields, sand dunes and an immense diversity of bird species: grey herons, storks and the fabulous flamingos. There aren´t really words that make justice to this beach and surrounding area. You must come and see it for yourself.
“Restaurante Sal”, in Praia do Pego, was elected one of the 10th best Beach restaurants in the world by Condé Nast Traveller. It’s known for successfully preserving nature and its environment. Famous for its grilled fish, fish soup and Choco rice, as well as octopus’ and codfish with chickpeas’ salads. This beach is equally gorgeous.
PRAIA DA ARRIFANA, Aljezur
One of our favourites in the Algarve West coast, located in a lovely fishing village called by the same name, Arrifana. Surrounded by high like-a-painting cliffs that not only make the landscape itself stunning, but also protect the beach from the wind making the sea less wavy. Arrifana serves as an excellent base location to enjoy the entire Costa Vicentina´s area. Monte Clerigo and Amoreira are two other nearby beaches you should visit, 4 km and 5 km away.
“Restaurante da Praia” is impossible to miss, as you must pass by it when walking down to enter the beach. It is a great and healthy tasty option. From the breakfast with granola and fruit juices to the fresh seafood and red fruits sangria, you have plenty of variety to try, while enjoying the breathtaking view.
PRAIA DO CAMILO, Lagos
Anyone can recognize this landscape from the Algarve postcards and many Portuguese advertising images all around. This corner of Portugal still holds some of the most stunning beaches, with golden coloured sand and cliffs that make grottos through the sea and crystal water. This beach is in Lagos and therefore not advisable to go in August, as it is full of tourists. The neighbour Praia Dona Ana is equally beautiful and has a more extensive sand area – in 2013 it was considered, by the Condé Nast Traveller Magazine, the most beautiful in the world.
There is a restaurant with a terrace overlooking the Camilo beach that you can choose for a drink or some food. But for a real authentic experience and seafood head to "O Comidinhas" and let the owner help you with what you should eat. This is the best in town.
PRAIA DAS CABANAS, Tavira
Praia das Cabanas is part of the Ria Formosa Reserve, in the East coast of Algarve, closer to Spain. This wild beach is only reachable by a small boat that crosses the Ria (canal). You will then find this 7km long beach, perfect for relaxing days and walks. There is also a 500m path through the sand dunes. Driving towards east for around 20 minutes is Praia Verde, another incredible beach.
Cacela Velha is a surprising little beachside village, 15 minutes away, where there is a traditional restaurant just by the church. You can sit outside and marvellous yourself with oysters, clams, shrimps… basically all type of seafood petiscos you can think of, for a very reasonable price.