Portugal may conjure visions of blue tiles, Port wine, and stunning architecture, but the best beaches in Portugal, or praias, are truly some of the most spectacular in Europe. Turquoise waters, bracing cliffs, and rosy red rocks that jut from the sea, make the landscape particularly unique, stunning, and worth a trip.

The country’s beaches are visited by Europeans, but less frequented by Americans (though it has changed a bit over the years), which gives these areas of coastline the feeling of being raw and undiscovered. So many of the best beaches in Portugal are in the southern Algarve and Lagos regions (as you’ll see in our list), though we always recommend you do some exploring up north on your own – or tavel to the islands of Madeira and the Azores. With over 586 miles of coastline just on the mainland, there’s so much discover. This is our pick for some of the best beaches in Portugal.

Praia do Portinho da Arrábida

Portinho da Arrábida beach Portugal

If Lisbon is your main destination, you can still get in some beach time! Portinho da Arrábida beach is less than an hour’s drive south from the city and it’s worth every kilometer. Not only can you lounge in the soft white sand and wade in the most stunningly blue waters, but the beach is surrounded by lush green hills in a national park. Additionally, it’s a calm beach, making it a great place for swimming or paddle boarding, and an excellent natural escape from the city.

Praia da Arrifana

Praia da Arrifana Aljezur

Arrifana is a small fishing village in the stunning Aljezur region. Enclosed in high cliffs and elegantly-eroding boulders, the powerful waves make it an ideal surf spot too. You’re bound to stumble upon surf groups and camper vans as you make your descent down the rocky path onto the beach. It’s a lively beach, and yet still has a certain serenity about it that makes you feel like you’ve stumbled across a secret gem.

Praia de Três Irmãos

Praia tres irmaos protugal

At the end of the popular and long stretch of Alvor beach in Portimão is the magnificent “three brother’s beach.” Towering rusty-colored rock formations surge out of the waters and secret caves become accessible at low tides. It’s characteristically Algarve and one of the most distinctive parts of the region. And when you’re not exploring the rock formations, the clean blue waters and roomy shores are the cherry on top of the picturesque praia.

Praia de Benagil & Benagil Sea Caves

Benagil caves portugal

Benagil is a small but busy beach in the Algarve region, surrounded by ochre limestone cliffs. Though a day on the sand is idyllic on its own, the real attraction here is the proximity to the Benagil Sea Caves. Accessible only by boat, kayak, or paddle board, the caves and their tiny coves are wildly impressive natural formations people come from all over to discover. The most emblematic amber cave has a huge hole in the top where the sunlight streams in and illuminates the beach. Some actually refer to this cave as a the cathedral cave!

Praia da Marinha

Praia Marinha portugal

A steep climb is the only way to get you down to this secluded beach in the south of Portugal, which makes it all the more desirable. The golden sand and especially unique arched rock formations (the path down gets you an even better view) are especially breathtaking. Though it may be trickier to get access, the water is calm and ideal for families looking to spend the day swimming, lounging, and taking in the privileged views.

Praia da Nazaré

praia Nazare Portugal

Lush rolling hills and a traditional Portuguese fishing village open up into one of the most photographed beaches in the country for a number of reasons. Women still don the traditional dress as they dry fish on the long stretches of sand. You’ll also still find old fisherman’s houses tucked along the village shores. In the summer, the beach is calm and sheltered from harsh winds, but the colder months produce some of the biggest waves in the world, drawing in daring surfers from all over.

Berlengas Archipelago


The only way to get to this area is by ferry. So take off from the Peniche coast to these islands just 6-9 miles away, and check out the movie-like 16th-century fortress balancing on the rocks. You can get to the fortress via the stone bridge or even take a swim up to the tiny island. There are, of course, small and calm beaches in the area as well, along with impressive caves you can swim to or explore in a kayak.

Praia da Ilha de Tavira

beach sunset boat

A sprawling beach with clear waters and endless miles of white sand, is the ideal place for those long sunset walks and midday swims. For a little adventure, you can hit up the windsurf school on the island as well. A short 10-minute ferry ride from the town of Tavira will get you there, and you can stay at the summer-only campground overnight if you choose.

No matter where you travel in Portugal, you’re never far from some of country’s most spectacular beaches, islands, and coves. Want more ideas for your Portuguese travels? Contact us and we’ll give you insider tips on some of the best beaches in Portugal and how to enjoy them to the fullest.