Beaches Tourism

The Best beaches in Porto, Portugal that you must visit in 2024

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

· 7 min read

From secluded shoreline oases to festive waterfronts teeming with activity, Porto beaches have something for every taste. Whether you seek family-friendly waves, crave dramatic scenery, or want to relax amidst Old World charm and fresh seafood, you’ll find your perfect paradise amongst Porto’s sandy gems.

Porto offers excellent facilities on douro district in its northern edge

Which are the Top 10 beaches in Porto?

The top 10 beaches in Porto are listed below.

1. Praia da Granja

Praia da Granja is a small beach that sits beneath granite cliffs. It has clear waters and soft golden sand that stretches for half a mile. Beachgoers can rent lounge chairs and umbrellas during the summer months. There are also several beachside restaurants that serve fresh seafood dishes and cold beer.

2. Praia de Miramar

Praia de Miramar is located just north of the mouth of the Douro River. It has a wooden boardwalk that runs behind the sandy beach. Families with small children favor this beach for its very gentle waves and playgrounds. There are also volleyball courts visitors can use for free.

3. Praia dos Ingleses

Praia dos Ingleses got its name from the English workers who once shipped port wine from the nearby cellars. It is tucked within a cove and has tan, grainy sand and water safe for swimming. Beachgoers can rent paddleboards and kayaks on the beach as well.

4. Praia de Matosinhos

Praia de Matosinhos, often called Matosinhos Beach, stretches over four miles from the fishing harbor to Castelo do Queijo. It has certified Blue Flag status for its environmental standards and cleanliness. The seafood served at its beachside cafés comes straight from the fishing boats in the harbor. 

5. Praia da Sereia

Praia da Sereia is named after and known for its statue of a mermaid perched on rocks facing the ocean. It has unique off-white sand made from shell fragments and crystals. There are also natural tidal pools that form amongst its rocky coves.

6. Praia do Carneiro

Praia do Carneiro, also called Pennywinkles Beach, sits tucked within 100-foot tall cliffs. Beachgoers must take more than a hundred steps down from the clifftops above. It earns its name from the tiny snails that dot the sand.

7. Praia da aguda

Praia da Aguda, also known as Cheese Castle Beach, is a hidden gem with its soft sand and rocky outcrops. It's the perfect spot for those seeking a serene escape away from the bustle of central Porto.

8. São Francisco Xavier Beach

Just a little distance away from the cheese castle beach, lies São Francisco Xavier Beach which entices visitors with its inviting rock pools and a tranquil ambiance, making it an ideal destination for families.

9. Matosinhos beach

Praia de Matosinhos, often called Matosinhos Beach, stretches over four miles from the fishing harbor to Castelo do Queijo. It has certified Blue Flag status for its environmental standards and cleanliness. The seafood served at its beachside cafés comes straight from the fishing boats in the harbor. 

10. Senhor da Pedra

For a touch of history and spirituality, Senhor da Pedra stands as an iconic landmark on the shoreline. This beach features a picturesque chapel atop a rocky outcrop, creating a truly magical setting.

Where to go for a beach trip in Porto, Portugal?

When it comes to exploring the picturesque beaches near Porto, Portugal, one can't help but be captivated by the sheer beauty of the Atlantic ocean coastline. From Vila Nova de Gaia to São Félix da Marinha, each destination offers a unique coastal experience. Most beaches sit less than thirty minutes drive from downtown.

Porto has great beaches for taking day trips.

  1. Praia dos Ingleses: This beach offers convenient beach access right in Porto. It sits tucked within a cove just a fifteen-minute walk from Ribeira Square. Its tan, grainy sand and emerald waters remain protected by rocky headlands on either side. Beachgoers can rent paddleboards and kayaks right on the beach.

  2. Praia de Matosinhos: Further north in the Municipality of Matosinhos sits Praia de Matosinhos, often called Matosinhos Beach. This four-mile-long stretch of soft golden sand regularly flies Blue Flag status. Its gentle surf makes it ideal for families with small children. And the seafood served at its dozen beachfront restaurants is some of the city’s freshest, coming right from the active fishing harbor.

  3. São Francisco Xavier: This Beach is a serene haven with its soft sands and inviting waters, perfect for a day of relaxation. Just a short distance away, you'll find the captivating Carneiro Beach, known for its picturesque rocky outcrops that provide both beauty and intrigue to the shoreline.

  4. Praia da Granja: Those seeking a more isolated beach experience can head south to Praia da Granja or Praia de Miramar. Both sit undeveloped with just a few small parking areas. Praia de Miramar does have a nice wooden boardwalk behind its beach with free volleyball courts visitors are welcome to use.

What is the best time to go for beach trips in Porto?

The best time to go for beach trips in Porto is between June and September when air and water temperatures are warmest. Swimming in the cold Atlantic waters before June or after September is only for the hardy.

Peak crowds flock the beaches from July to mid-August. So, May, early June or September makes great times to visit.

Which are the Best Beaches to Experience Traditional Portuguese Culture?

Praia dos Ingleses and Portinho da Arrabida are the best beaches to experience traditional Portuguese culture.

Praia dos Ingleses: Praia dos Ingleses offers visitors the best opportunity to experience traditional Portuguese beach culture in Porto. Its prime location within the city makes it very popular with locals. The beach also sits surrounded by traditional Portuguese architecture and cuisine.  Beachgoers can access Praia dos Ingleses right off of Avenida Diogo Leite. The entire walk down to the beach passes characteristic multi-colored row houses and cobbled lanes. And the beach itself lies tucked within the shadow of the Ponte da Arrabida bridge. Both the iron bridge and the stone cellars that line the cove exemplify traditional Portuguese design. 

Those looking to sample authentic Portuguese cuisine need not wander far from Praia dos Ingleses either. A dozen small restaurants and cafés surround the cove. Their menus brim with classic Portuguese fare like grilled sardines, beef steaks, salt cod fritters, and freshly baked pastries. And they all also stock a variety of native wines, ports and beers.

Portinho da Arrabida: Portinho da Arrabida offers another excellent opportunity to experience true Portuguese culture, albeit further south along the coast. It sits tucked beneath the imposing limestone cliffs of Arrabida Natural Park. Beachgoers can dine on the catch of the day at its thatched roof restaurant while listening to traditional Fado music. The turquoise waters also make for excellent snorkeling and diving.

How is the weather at Porto's beaches?

Porto enjoys a warm temperate climate with hot summers and mild, rainy winters.

Spring and fall offer the most moderate beach weather with highs in the 60s. But the Atlantic waters remain too cold for swimming below 65°, limiting beach visits to sunbathing and walks. Winds also frequently whip all Porto area beaches.

From June through August daytime highs average 75°F with lows around 60°F. Winter daytime highs hover in the 50s with increased rainfall. While Porto’s beaches remain open year round, winter draws just hardy locals walking the empty sands.

September still sees warm temps in the low 70s. So, beaches can be enjoyed May through mid-October.

Which beaches enjoy the most sunlight in Porto?

Amongst Porto’s dozen beaches, Praia de Matosinhos and Praia da Granja receive the most sunlight and least wind thanks to their sheltered locations. Praia dos Ingleses and Miramar Beach sit more exposed. So while picturesque, expect blustery conditions.

No matter the season, visitors not acclimated to Portugal’s ocean breezes need to come prepared with layers of clothing. Chilly winds can spring up any time, especially in the evenings. So be sure to pack windbreakers, pants, hats and beach towels. Those planning on swimming need wetsuits through late June when even coastal air temperatures can dip into the 60s.

Praia da Marinha near Albufeira is the most popular beach in Portugal. Over a million tourists flock here each summer. Yet despite the crowds, Praia da Marinha frequently tops lists ranking Europe’s best beaches for its picturesque scenery and emerald, green waters.

Is Praia da Marinha beautiful?

Praia da Marinha is really very beautiful. Steep, ochre cliffs frame this half-moon cove beach which sits along the Algarve coastline in southern Portugal. Bright white limestone stacks dot the transparent turquoise waters that have earned Praia da Marinha the nickname “The Beach of the Navy” for its distinctive blue coloring.

Praia da Marinha stretches just under a half mile long, allowing visitors ample space to spread out towels on the soft beige sand during low tide. Though arrive early in the day to claim lounge chairs beneath one of its straw umbrella sunshades. Lines can form by mid-morning. Food and drinks are available from the seasonal beachside cafés.

What is Praia Dona Ana?

About a twenty-minute walk west of the beautiful beach Praia da Marinha lies the equally stunning and great beach Praia Dona Ana. Its iconic high cliffs resemble waves about to crash down onto its golden sand beach. Though smaller than its popular neighbor, it too fills up fast in summer. So early risers also have the best chance to relax here without their neighbors’ towels encroaching.

Both beautiful beaches stay open year-round. But only the summer months see crowds flocking their shores to tan in the Algarve’s reliably hot southern Portugal sun. By October, even these popular beaches empty out save for a few locals walking the sands.

Other beautiful beaches

Another spectacle worth visiting is the costa verde coastline. Costa Verde, a tranquil paradise along Porto's coastline, beckons with its beautiful beaches adorned with charming beach huts and inviting beach bars. As you stroll along the coast, you'll feel the soft touch of coarse sand underfoot, creating an idyllic setting for a day of relaxation and coastal exploration.

Be sure to also explore beyond Portugal’s beautiful beaches to its equally dramatic adjacent cliff trails like Praia da Ursa’s Seven Hanging Valleys Trail. Then refuel with a beachfront meal of grilled sardines paired with local wine or sangria while watching the ocean waves continue their endless rhythm.

What are some must-do things at Portugal's beaches

Portugal beaches are great for swimming, sunbathing and water sports.

Sunbathing, swimming, beachcombing and water sports rank as the most popular must-do activities along Portugal’s over 500 miles of coastline. Many beaches also offer options for beachside dining, exploring dramatic cliffs and coves, and even nightlife. 

Beachgoers looking to work on their tan flock to Portugal’s southern Algarve region to enjoy over 3,000 annual hours of sunshine. Light winds also make Algarve beaches like Praia da Marinha ideal for sunbathing into the warm evenings.

Swimming draws crowds to the more sheltered beaches north of Lisbon like Cascais and Estoril despite cooler Atlantic waters. Their gentle waves make them favorites with families. These northern beaches also shine for beachcombing and hunting the sand for shells or sea glass debris smoothened by the sea. Early morning walks may reveal shorebird tracks or small creatures caught in tide pools. 

Water sports outfitters set up shop on popular beaches from the Algarve to Porto offering rentals of kayaks, sailboats, stand up paddleboards and surfboards. Lagos and Peniche peninsulas on the south and west coasts offer particularly excellent surfing and windsurfing conditions for both beginners and advanced wave riders. Lessons are readily available as well.

Packing List to visit Portugal's beaches

For a beach day, beachgoers visiting Portugal need to pack clothes for both warm sunny days as well as windy evenings with the possibility of rain. Layering pieces makes it easy to adjust to the ever-changing coastal weather.

Pack quick-drying swimwear, rash guards, hats and sunglasses to protect from the bright southern rays on Praia da Marinha and other Algarve beaches. But also toss in a couple sweaters, windbreakers and pants that work for the evenings or trips to Atlantic-facing beaches in Cascais or Porto where winds average over 10 mph.

Beach essentials like lightweight coverups, water shoes, and beach towels take up little luggage space but add comfort for long days enjoying the sand and surf. Those planning to swim for more than a quick dip need wetsuits through at least mid June when ocean temperatures remain under 65 degrees. 

And don’t forget the sunscreen. Portugal lies at around the 36th parallel putting it on level with hot desert locations in California and Africa.Sun-seekers planning to hike to dramatic cliffside beaches like Praia do Camilo need sturdy shoes for the trails as well as water.

A small beach bag or backpack comes in handy for carrying essentials down to the sand. Keep valuables in hotel safes and leave jewelry behind that could get lost in the waves. Beyond beachwear, pack light layers, hats and sunglasses for exploring Lisbon, Porto and other cities. Streets wind narrow between colorful buildings so bulky bags prove difficult.

Frequently Asked Questions about Porto, Portugal Beaches

  1. Are Porto's beaches suitable for swimming?

Yes, Porto's beaches are generally safe and ideal for swimming, with clear waters and well-maintained facilities.

  1. What is the best time to visit Porto's beaches?

The best time to visit is during the summer months, from June to September, when the weather is warm and the sea is inviting.

  1. Are there any famous landmarks near Porto's beaches?

Yes, Senhor da Pedra is an iconic chapel located on the beach, making it a must-visit spot for tourists.

  1. Can I find rocky outcrops on Porto's beaches?

Absolutely, some beaches, like Carneiro Beach, feature stunning rocky outcrops that add to their natural beauty.

  1. Are there water sports activities available on these beaches?

Yes, you can enjoy various water sports such as surfing, windsurfing, and paddleboarding at many of Porto's beaches.

  1. Is there a family-friendly beach in Porto?

São Francisco Xavier Beach is a family-friendly destination with calm waters and a relaxed atmosphere.

  1. Do Porto's beaches have facilities like beach bars and restaurants?

Yes, you'll find charming beach bars and restaurants along the coastline, offering delicious local cuisine and refreshing beverages.

  1. Are Porto's beaches crowded during the summer season?

Some beaches can get crowded during peak summer months, but there are quieter options like Praia da Aguda for those seeking a more tranquil experience.

  1. Is it possible to explore rock pools near Porto's beaches?

Absolutely, some beaches offer rock pools that are perfect for exploring marine life and unique geological formations.

  1. Can I visit Porto's beaches during the off-season?

Yes, Porto's beaches can be enjoyed year-round, but the water might be colder during the winter months.

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

I am a globe-trotter with a passion for exploration. From the sun-kissed coasts of Portugal to the snow-capped peaks of Switzerland, my travels are as diverse as they are inspiring. My journeys through Spain, Finland, Austria, and Germany have fueled my soul and shaped my writing.