Seducing even the hardest-to-please sand-seeker, there's unlikely a soul on earth that can resist the sound of rolling waves. Nature's ultimate white noise, it'll send you into a soothed state within seconds… Spoilt for choice with over 1700km of coastline, there's not much that can beat a Portugal Beach holiday.
Do you reserve your visits for Blue Flags only? Are soaring cliffs and majestic mountains a must for your wanderlust? How about getting wet and wild with some wonderful watersports? Whatever floats your boat, there's countless sandy sweet spots to enjoy all over Portugal's pinch-me perfect coastline…
Holiday heavyweight and leader of the pack, the Algarve and its archetypal golden shores need little introduction. If sun, sea and splash are the way to your heart – then you've come to the right place. Beaches are southern Portugal's claim to fame, setting the bar sky-high for 'best of' battles across Europe and beyond. Over 80 Blue Flags fly proudly on pristine coves, while more than 100 beaches are sprinkled beneath rugged cliffs that characterise the region. Boasting 13 hours of sunshine a day in the summer – the beaches here are beyond your wildest dreams!
Teeming with natural treasures, time-honoured fishing towns and modern resorts, beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. From the likes of luxurious Vilamoura and its taste of the holiday high-life to laidback Lagos and its traditional Old Town, the Algarve is a 'something for everyone' slice of paradise.
A stone's throw from quiet Carvoeiro lies the bucket list must-see of Benagil. Only accessible by boat, the sea caves are one of the most recognised spots in the south. Feast your eyes on the beautiful scene as light floods in through the collapsed roof. It'll be a beach holiday highlight for sure! It goes without saying that the Algarve's golden shores are widely adored, but lovely Lagos is the biggest 'looker' of the lot. This is the landscape that singlehandedly steals the most hearts, thanks to its collection of iconic limestone caves and grottoes that grace the covers of travel brochures.
Things get wilder the further west you travel, so if you like your scenery as nature intended make your way along the craggy coast towards Sagres. The land spills into the sea with spellbinding sharpness, while a patchwork of perfect beaches lie beneath wind-battered cliffs. Just in this little corner alone you'll find small sandy stretches, sweeping shores and hidden coves nestled among rocky outcrops. Not to mention the swathes of surfers waiting in the wings to catch the best ride in the Algarve!
If Portugal's coastline were a novel, the Algarve would be the brooding protagonist that everyone wants a piece of. A tale as old as time, the holiday classic knows a thing or two about pleasing the masses. Trademark plot twists of stunning sea stacks and hidden grottoes keep you guessing, while facility-packed favourites make plenty of appearances too. Here's a proverbial book you'll never want to put down…
Trading one precious metal for the next, the Silver Coast is sure to spark your wanderlust. Stretching out for a colossal 150km between Porto and Lisbon, this beach-based escape means business! Far removed from the southern buzz, take your favourite swimsuit and sunnies back to basics for a taste of life before purpose-built resorts.
If you liked the sound of western Algarve, then you're going to love spending time on the Silver Coast. Beaches extend as far as the eye can see with barely a trace of tourism to taint the natural landscapes. Rolling dunes, wild waves, raging surf and never-ending views across the pounding Atlantic are all part of the charm – this is the place to blow the cobwebs away!
Hidden gems and lesser-known treasures are the name of the beach holiday game, with cream of the crop hot spots mingling magnificently with virtually unheard of hideaways. Praia da Almagreira sets the tone with its untouched swathes of powder-white sands. Wild and raw being the norm in the northern regions of Portugal, where peaceful shores and rugged rock formations welcome visitors to their private little cove-like corners. Nazaré is another name to watch out for and considered one of the most iconic scenes on the Silver Coast. Backed by dramatic cliffs and fronted by roaring waves, it's a wonderland for watersports enthusiasts and sunbathers alike.
Obidos Lagoon is a 'have your cake and eat it' kind of affair. A stone's throw from the magnificent medieval village of the same name, choose between peace and quiet on secluded sands or adrenaline-pumping action on windswept waters. Another under-the-radar addition to the Silver Coast, beautiful Obidos is happily off of the regular tourist trail. The largest salt water lagoon system in all of Portugal, there's a whole host of holiday fun to be had! Praia do Foz de Arelho is the most popular beach and a great place to set up camp for the day. Avid wildlife watchers will relish the chance to spot endangered birds as they fly overhead and make their home in the lagoon.
Silver might be thought of as second to gold, but this coast has more than proved its metallic prowess is just as impressive as the Algarve's own glow. For the days you want a break from the beach, there's a whole other world to get stuck into! Mesmerising mountains, sweet-scented forests, vineyard laden hills and old-world cities are just part of the indisputable proof that Portugal beach holidays are made to cater for travellers the world over…
Forget Gold and silver, there's a new kid on the coastal block! Costa Verde, literally translating to 'green coast', is tucked away in Portugal's northwest corner. Nature lovers will have a field day in this emerald utopia, where luscious forests and rolling hills rule the roost. Trade in tourist-riddled resorts for something a little more authentic, and discover locals still going about their daily life in traditional fishing villages and verdant vineyards. Low-key living at its finest, Costa Verde has peace and tranquillity hard wired into its DNA – not to mention the endless string of sweeping sands that line its borders.
Just like the Silver Coast, Costa Verde and its spellbinding stretch of shoreline acts as one long beach. Rolling out your towel here is all about life's simple pleasures. Lay back and listen to the soothing sound of the ocean or take a barefoot stroll, where the only set of footprints are likely to be your own. With tourism taking such a backseat, you're sure to have first dibs on the easy to reach powder-white sands… Things get even more remote the further north you head, where you'll be pinching yourself in disbelief that such beautiful beaches could be so deserted!
Picking up where the Silver Coast left off, the cinematic scenes run from picturesque Porto all the way to the Spanish border. From captivating coves to sheltered bays, these hidden havens have it all! Quaint, old villages of Afife and Esposende are bordered by blissful beaches and the perfect base for days spent on the sand. If you're after tried and tested local treasures, look no further than Praia do Cabedelo. Backed by wild dunes and sweet-smelling pine forests, there's a whole host of adventures to be had from splash-tastic shenanigans to marvelling at the medieval town itself. A beach holiday in Costa Verde is sure to have your friends back home seeing green with envy…
There's no doubt about it, the Portuguese coastline is the place for plaudits! From family-focused beaches with all the bells and whistles to secret sandy sweet spots, perfect for couples looking to steal some alone time together – you're sure to find a getaway with your name on it. Whether you opt for 24-carat coves in the Algarve or the soft, uninterrupted sands of Costa Verde, there's a limitless supply of stunning shores to spice up your itinerary! So what will it be – gold, silver or green…?
Not wanting to leave anyone out, Portugal brings more to its prestigious table than world-famous sands. For those of you that crave majestic mountain peaks and back-to-nature bliss, mix things up with a holiday in Madeira. A Floating paradise that lies just 600km off the African coast, this idyllic island doles out dramatic landscapes and outdoor adventures in abundance. Sure, a day at the beach might be far from the activity agenda, but trying to squeeze in time on the sand would be near enough impossible with everything else on offer! From dolphin watching to skywalk strolling on Europe's highest cape – there's no shortage of things to do in Madeira.
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