Forget what you know about the beaches in the south of Portugal. Sure, they’re pretty awesome, but Portugal has so much more to offer. With Portugal fast becoming known for some of the best surfing beaches in Europe, it’s time to look past the likes of the Algarve region in the south.
Here’s our round-up of the best hidden beaches in Portugal that you need to visit.
Travel to: Portugal
The Best Hidden Beaches in Portugal
Praia do Norte
Take note of Praia do Norte just outside the fishing village of Nazaré in central Portugal as one of the top surf spots in Portugal. If you’re a fan of mammoth waves, this is the perfect beach for you. If not, steer clear. Like we said, Praia do Norte is home to some of the largest waves in the world thanks to the huge channel of deep water just offshore pointing directly to the coast which in turn, directs the Atlantic swells straight onto Praia do Norte where the waves arrive in full force. The small village of Nazaré makes for the perfect place to sample fresh seafood.
Praia da Ursa
Accessible only by climbing down a steep rock path, this beach is home to two giant rocks that resemble a large bear and it’s cub. You can catch a bus to Cabo da Roca and make your way down the path to the beach. While it is not strictly a nudist beach, this is spot is favoured given its secluded location.
Praia da Ursa is one of the most beautiful beaches in the area, then there are the white-washed coastal villages overlooking the Atlantic like Azenhas Do Mar, fairytale-like Sintra and the most western point of continental Europe, Cabo da Roca, for some of the most awe-inspiring backdrops. The possibilities to explore and enjoy the views are endless.
The landscape is incredible to explore but the beache might be hard to reach and as you’ll also be doing lots of walking in the cities around, bring good walking shoes . Oh, and a cozy sweater, too! The Atlantic breeze can be more of a harsh wind, even in the summer! – Lara, Your Passport
Senhor da Pedra Beach
In the heart of this stretch of sandy beach lies a unique attraction in the form of the Senhor da Pedra chapel from the 17th century built on some rocks overlooking the sea. With its generous shoreline make for a popular place to catch a gentle wave or body surf in the shallows. If time allows, we’d highly recommend that you get acquainted with the medieval lanes architecture of Porto.
Stop past the Bolsa Palace, San Francisco Church and the Porto Cathedral in all its Romanesque beauty.
Praia de Carcavelos
A lovely, somewhat isolated beach with golden sand. For anyone just visiting Lisbon, the location of this beach is easily accessible by public transport and is just a short journey from Cais do Sodré railway station. While it’s not exactly a hidden beach, Praia de Carcavelos it serves visitors well with a wide selection of restaurants nearby.
While the waves are more-so on the gentle side, it’s still a great place to escape from Lisbon.
Praia da Franquia
For families seeking a more sheltered or protected beach, this is a great option given its location at the mouth of the Mira River. As for water sports, you can opt for a session of stand up paddleboarding or kayaking.
See Also: Why You Need To Visit Portugal Right Now
Praia do Guincho
Just outside the town of Cascais, Praia do Guincho was used in the opening sequence of the Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. This beach is famed for the impressive waves where windsurfers make the most of the Atlantic waves.
Praia do Guincho is one of the wilder and more rugged beaches on our list but is definitely worthy of a visit.
Very close Sintra is a sandy beach where Portuguese locals beat the heat. It may be hard to convince yourself to step away from Sintra’s many castles, but it is completely worthwhile to cut your day short and grab a cab out to Praia do Guincho. This area is as equally stunning as the castles. The beach is very busy, but not in an overcrowded way – it just feels full life. To me, being part of this action was the best part. Foodies should dine at the nearby Hotel Fortaleza do Guincho. This Michelin starred restaurant has an exquisite menu and impressive views. – Madeleine, The Gal-Ivanter
Praia do Guincho is understandably popular with surfers thanks to its steady supply of dramatic waves. While I have no intention of donning a wetsuit, there are other reasons to love this beach, particularly the surroundings. It’s backed by the greenery of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park with the Cabo da Roca cliffs to one side and a mixture of dunes and rocks to the other. If you appreciate natural beauty, there’s always something to look at besides the surf.
The strong waves and riptides mean that Praia do Guincho is not safe for swimming. There are two restaurants either side of the beach with swimming pools if you fancy a dip. – Julie, Julie Dawn Fox in Portugal
Praia de Moledo
By now, we’re sure you’ve figured out that there is more to Portugal than the beaches of the south. Praia de Moledo is just another example of why you should divert your attention to the north.
Yes, the waters are colder, but you will find that the beaches are much less populated than those of the south. You will also find that this beach is frequently visited by locals.
The best thing about Praia de Moledo is the vibe. The beach is dotted with the traditional Portuguese wind breaking tents and surrounded by dunes, trees and a small town where surfers and businessmen mix in a relaxed atmosphere. But that isn’t just it, there are no touristic spots in Moledo, so like it or not, you will end up doing what locals do, which made us end up having ice cream next to a real professional Fado singer.
Praia de Moledo is a great spot to learn to surf and windsurf if you haven’t tried already. But also a great spot to bring a bike or great walking shoes. The beach is connected by the Ecopista and St James Way (El Camino) to Caminha, Vila Praia de Ancora, Afife, Vilanova de Cerveira and even Viana do Castelo.
When in summer, you can hire a boat to take you to the fortified island of Ínsua. The island doesn’t have much to offer but has a unique view of the estuary of Minho river, the natural border between Spain and Portugal. -Leticia, Trucosviajeros
Foz do Lizandro
Walking distance from Ericeira, Foz do Lizandro is the perfect place for beginners to either grab a board and catch a wave.
Praia do Baleal
Found approximately 100 kilometres north of Lisbon, the walled town of Peniche is popular as a starting point to hop over to the Berlengas Archipelago (a nature reserve full of wildlife) or to catch some rays on the beach. The Baleal beach itself offers a long sandy stretch of beach where restaurants are just nearby.
A note on the Berlengas Archipelago: If your travels take you to the Peniche coast, you can visit the Berlengas Archipelago that sits just 10-15 kilometres offshore by ferry. Boats leave multiple times throughout the day from Peniche harbour.