With more than 500 miles of coastline, Portugal has no shortage of staggeringly beautiful beaches. Plus, with a temperate Mediterranean climate and more than 300 sunny days a year, it’s the ultimate beach destination. So how does one choose where to set up their umbrella? Thankfully, with so many swaths of sand from which to pick, you can enjoy several different beaches in one Portugal vacation. For surfers and sunbathers alike, here are our picks for the very best beaches in Portugal, in several country regions.

Algarve

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Praia do Camilo: Walk the 200 wooden steps down to tiny Praia do Camilo, just outside the pretty town of Lagos (be sure to spend a little time in this adorable resort town full of cobblestone alleyways and town squares surrounded by 16th-century walls). The golden sand in this cliff-lined cove leads to shallow turquoise water perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Come early to nab the best spot. Ready for lunch? Check out the small restaurant atop the cliffs, famous for its coastline views from Lagos to Albufeira.

Praia da Falesia: Another cliff-backed beach, Praia da Falesia stretches for nearly 4 miles. It’s one of the most-visited beaches in this area of Portugal, yet long enough that you’re likely to find a nice quiet spot. The cliffs are dazzling – with earthy tones of rusty red, gingerbread brown, and burnt ochre, they’re the perfect Insta-worthy shot.

Praia do Amado: If you’re a surfer visiting the Algarve coast, don’t miss Amado Beach, one of the best beaches in Portugal for big waves. The half-moon beach, within Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejana e Costa Vicentina, is backed by rolling sand dunes. Somewhat remote, the beach is a favorite for those seeking a less traditional but achingly pristine setting.

Praia da Rocha: Accessible via boardwalks and walkways along a busy seafront avenue. Praia da Rocha near Portimao is one of the best-known beaches in Portugal. It has everything a beach-goer could want, from hotels to cafes to full-service restaurants to water-sports operators. There’s some cool sightseeing to be done here as well – don’t miss the Fortaleza de Santa Catarina fortress at the east end of the beach and the Tres Castelos viewpoint at the west end.

Alentejo

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Praia do Malhao: This one’s a bit of a local secret – ideal for those seeking seclusion on the sand. Find it on the Alentejo coast between Vila Nova de Milfontes and Zambjeira do Mar. For those seeking gentle, ankle-deep water at low tide, head to the northern stretch of beach (great for families with young kids). The southern section of the beach is a picturesque scene of rocky shoreline and craggy cliffs.

Praia das Furnas: Another great family option, Praia das Furnas boasts sandbars that are perfect for kids who want to frolic in the waves. Drive here or take the Maresia Milfontes Ferry from the charming town of Vila Nova de Milfontes.

Lisbon Area

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Praia da Comporta: Drive an hour south of Lisbon to Comporta Beach on the Troia Peninsula. What you won’t find here is the crush of mass tourism and high-rise resorts. Instead, you’ll find a shabby chic beach vibe, thatched-roof cabanas, and colorful restaurants along bleached-wood boardwalks. The village of Comporta is equally enchanting, with its rice paddies, salt pans, and ubiquitous white storks.

Praia de Carcavelos: Accessible via a 20-minute train ride from central Lisbon, Carcavelos Beach is a perennial favorite of locals and visitors alike. There’s plenty of room to spread out, lots of water sports and fantastic surfing conditions. Take a walk along the esplanade for the best views and don’t miss the 16th-century Forte de São Julião da Barra, a reminder that you’re not just at the beach but in one of the country’s most historic spots. 

Ready to pack your beach bag? Let’s chat about customizing your Portugal beach vacation.