With an average of 300 days of sunshine per year and a gorgeous coastline on the western fringes of Europe, Portugal is home to some of the world’s most spectacular beaches.
In the country’s northwest region of Costa Verde, where the picturesque Douro River meets the Atlantic Ocean, lies the city of Porto, which offers an abundance of culture, gastronomy, and gloriously golden beaches. From top surf spots to discreet coves, don’t miss Porto’s gleaming stretches on your next European vacation.
Read on to uncover the 17 best beaches in Porto, Portugal.
Praia de Espinho, Espinho
Praia de Espinho offers a gorgeous expanse of creamy-colored soft sand in the Porto town of Espinho, roughly 20-minutes south of the city. Espinho is a former fishing village and you’ll still spot traditional fishing boats gathering an array of anchovies and sardines that will later be preserved and canned in olive oil.
Today, Espinho is a relaxed resort town with plenty of facilities, including bars, restaurants, and surf shacks lining the beach promenade. You’ll find beach huts on the sand and Green Coast Surf School offering board and wetsuits for rent, plus surf lessons and a surf camp.
There’s even a heated public saltwater swimming pool with a three-tier diving board behind the beach if you find the wild northern Portuguese waters too brash.
Praia da Sereia, Vila Nova de Gaia
The stunning magnolia-hued section of the coastline at Sereia Beach is an effortless fifteen-minute drive south of Porto city center. A laid-back haunt with pretty seagrass-sprouting dunes, Sereia is one of Porto’s best beaches for its pretty panoramas. Look in both directions and all you’ll see is sea and sand with blissful blue on the horizon and traditional timber-framed boats bobbing not far from the shore.
You’ll find beach huts for shelter from the sun, a cluster of bars and restaurants for refreshments, and a surf school—should you want to learn to ride the waves. Otherwise, kick back on the sand, cool off in the ocean, and soak up the views.
Praia dos Ingleses
This pin-up Porto beach is popular for its large sandy swath, central location, and beach bar and restaurant, which offers outside seating and takeaway service. Its people-spotting credentials are also high. Sip a cocktail or chilled beer on the deck as you enjoy the neverending ocean views.
Take a walk on the beach and feel the sand between your toes or kick back and sun yourself surrounded by locals on lunch breaks while also enjoying this scenic city beach.
Located on the northern edge of the upmarket Foz do Douro neighborhood, you’ll find a blue flag gently swaying at the entrance to Gondarém, which proudly announces its status as one of the best beaches in Porto, Portugal.
Gondarém Beach is bookended by two rocky outcrops that sandwich a sunbathing stretch of honey sand. Go on a swim in the Atlantic Ocean, though you may want to keep insulated with a wetsuit, given the ocean’s notoriously chilly temperature. Alternatively, explore the rock pools, top up your tan, or relax in one of the nearby cafes or bars.
Factor in some time to stop by Mercado da Foz. Just a half-mile walk from the beach, the market is packed with stalls piled high with delicious produce, a colorful array of canned fish, and one of the region’s specialties: an ultra-tender suckling pig from the Bairrada region of Portugal. You’ll also find locally-made olive oil, cheeses, cured meats, and wines that would make a delicious gourmet picnic.
Praia Cabedelo do Douro, Vila Nova de Gaia
The crescent-shaped Cabedelo do Douro is one of the best beaches in Porto, Portugal. An unspoiled 1km strip next to the Douro Estuary Nature Reserve, here the usually deep-blue ocean is a clearer, turquoise hue making it perfect for swimming. The north side of the beach is also protected by a stone seawall, offering some respite from the unrelenting Atlantic Ocean.
The Douro Estuary Nature Reserve is one of the best places to spot birdlife in Porto. Take a walk around the reserve to discover some of the many species found here, including bathing kingfishers, white herons, grey herons, bluethroats, common knots, sandpipers, and various gulls, among many others.
There are no facilities directly on Cabedelo do Douro, so you’ll want to pack everything that you’ll need for your beach day, including plenty of water and a picnic of Portuguese nibbles.
Sandwiched between the Porto Cruise Terminal—a modernist building with a strong resemblance to New York’s Guggenheim Museum—and the 17th-century Fort of Saint Francis Xavier, Matosinhos is one of the best beaches in Porto, Portugal.
Home to a vast caramel-colored sandy shore with sun loungers and parasols for sunbathing, Matosinhos Beach is also one of the largest beaches in the city. Pack your swimsuit and take a dip in the ocean while gazing at the pretty horizon, punctuated with passing ships and surfers lapping up the waves.
A trip to Matosinhos Beach also allows for some shopping and dining in Porto, since the beach is close to many of the city’s top boutiques, wine bars, and tapas restaurants.
Praia do Molhe
The perfect nook of Praia do Molhe is home to a neoclassical stone Pergola, a romantic sun-dappled spot built in the 1930s on Avenue do Brazil. Pack a towel to lie back on the soft sand or take a walk on the weather-beaten seawall that separates Molhe from Praia do Homem do Leme for some superb views of the Costa Verde coastline.
This popular sandy beach features a cafe for refreshments and beach huts for hire. Due to a scattering of rocks in the shallow water, you won’t see as many surfers on Praia do Molhe as other beaches.
Praia de Leça da Palmeira
Located on the north side of the mouth of the River Leça, this fabulous Porto beach is celebrated for its two tidal saltwater swimming pools that were designed by famed Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira. Built into the rocks on the shore’s edge, the pools were completed in 1973.
The beach is popular with surfers and bodyboarders, though a rocky section of the shore breaks the waves. Facilities include sun loungers and thatched parasols, with plenty of cafes, bars, and restaurants around.
For a culture hit, explore the star-shaped 17th-century Fort of Leça da Palmeira, also known as the Castle of Matosinhos, to the south of the beach.
Praia do Carneiro
Located at the point where the Douro River—Portugal’s second-longest waterway—meets the Atlantic Ocean, Carneiro Beach is home to the 16th-century Forte de São João Baptista and the hexagonal-shaped Felgueiras Lighthouse.
There are no facilities directly on the beach, but tons of amenities surrounding it including bathrooms, mini-golf, and the nearby perfume-embellished Jardim do Passeio Alegre, a beautiful 1800s-built garden.
The lack of sun loungers and parasols means Carneiro Beach is typically crowd-free, offering plenty of space to enjoy the sweeping ocean views.
Praia de Moledo, Moledo
Embark on an hour’s drive north of Porto and you’ll find yourself within touching distance of Spain on the off-the-beaten spot of Moledo Beach, near the pine-covered National Forest of Camarido. Its scenic location with views of Spain’s Santa Tecla mountain makes Praia de Moledo one of the best beaches in Portugal and easily reached on a day trip from Porto.
Surfers and windsurfers love Moledo for its powerful waves. You’ll feel the Atlantic breeze along this section of the Iberian Peninsula, so pack a sweater and a blanket to wrap up. There are a couple of cafes, tapas, and wine bars around, but remember to pack water for the journey.
There’s a direct train from Porto that journeys up the coast in 90 minutes, or you can make the trip by car in roughly 60 minutes.
Praia do Senhor da Pedra, Vila Nova de Gaia
Twenty minutes south of central Porto lies Praia do Senhor da Pedra. Famed for its church, Senhor da Pedra Chapel, which dates back to 1686, the beach becomes the center of a three-day holy festival every June.
If you’re feeling active, rent a bike in the city and cycle down the Atlantic highway to reach Praia do Senhor da Pedra, passing several other of the best beaches in Porto along the way. When you arrive, cool off with a dip in the azure-blue ocean and visit the pretty Senhor da Pedra Chapel.
Praia de Angeiras Norte, Matosinhos
This Atlantic strip is one of the best beaches in Porto for its wild dunes, sweeping stretch of golden sand, and relaxed vibe. You’ll find the beach well-equipped with facilities, including sun umbrella rentals, showers, and bathrooms.
If you’re keen to take a dip in the ocean, consider packing a wetsuit. The water can feel cool, even in summer. Wander one street back from the beach, passing traditional colorful houses, and you’ll find some excellent seafood restaurants and tapas bars. Try fried cuttlefish, tuna carpaccio, freshly-shucked oysters, and tapas that will almost certainly consist of top-notch anchovies.
Praia da Granja, Vila Nova de Gaia
One of the best beaches in Porto, the Blue Flag Praia da Granja has been a hit with locals for generations. Its location in the town of São Félix da Marinha is just a 20-minute drive or 30-minute train journey south of Porto, meaning there are fewer tourists around and plenty of space to secure a coveted spot on the shore.
Facilities include bathrooms with showers, bars, restaurants, sun loungers, and parasols. Watch the waves whipping up on the shoreline that carries surfers back to the beach and cool off on sultry summer days with a dip in the ocean.
Praia da Memória, Matosinhos
Located less than five miles north of Porto’s cruise terminal, Praia da Memoria (which translates as “beach of memory”) is one of the best beaches on the Iberian Peninsula. The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive is the towering Obelisk of Memory, marking one of the 1832 landing sites of the Liberation Army that began Portugal’s Liberal Wars.
Today, the area is one of the most peaceful beaches in the region. As with many of the beaches here, Praia da Memoria is popular with surfers. You’ll find a scattering of traditional striped beach huts available for hire and a beach bar and cafe for soda and ice cream.
Praia Castro de São Paio, Vila Do Conde
Jump in a taxi and whizz the fifteen-minute ride along the coast to Praia Castro de São Paio, one of the best beaches in Porto for its secluded feel. Unlike most north Portugal beaches—typically long sandy swaths favored by surfers—Praia Castro de São Paio is a small but pretty cove-like section of the shoreline.
The beach is sandwiched between two jagged headlands backed by a coastal path that weaves around the rocky outcrops and bays and makes for a stunning hike trail. If you hang around long enough, you’ll catch one of the jaw-dropping sunsets that Portugal is famous for.
Pedras do Corgo Beach, Lavra
Accessed via a timber walkway, Pedras do Corgo is a superlative stretch characterized by a curvaceous sandy coastline that encapsulates Porto’s gorgeous beaches.
Kick off your flip-flops and feel your soles (and soul) instantly nourished by the warm sand beneath your feet. Gaze at the gorgeous blue-meets-blue horizon and take a walk on the driftwood-strewn shore. In wilder weather, shelter in one of the beach’s traditional windbreaker beach huts. There’s also volleyball on offer and a cafe and bar on the beach.
Labruge Beach, Vila do Conde
Just fifteen minutes or so north of Porto, this kilometer-long stretch is perfect for swimming and bathing. The excellent facilities at Labruge contribute to its Blue Flag status with beach huts, showers, a parking lot, and a handful of beach bars for when your thirst requires quenching.
Don’t be alarmed if you spot fellow bathers forgoing their swimwear. It’s perfectly acceptable on the nudist section of Labruge Beach.
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