Blessed with over 1,000 miles of picturesque coastline, Portugal is home to an array of charming seaside towns. It’s a paradise for beach lovers. The good news is that most of the country’s towns are located near the coastline around Lisbon and the region of the Algarve. From charming fishing villages to seaside regional capitals, these destinations offer spectacular scenery around every corner.
Travelers can look forward to dining on succulent seafood, exploring historic landmarks, and enjoying gold sand beaches with turquoise waters in this southern European country on the Iberian Peninsula.
Whether you are looking for a coastal town with buzzing nightlife or you wish to spend your vacation in a small seaside village where you can escape from crowds of fellow tourists, this guide to the best beach towns in Portugal has got you covered.
Located about a 40-minute drive from Lisbon, Cascais is a lovely beach resort town well known for its architectural features, cobblestone streets, and a dramatic coastline dotted with magnificent rock formations. This off-the-beaten-track destination is an ideal place to stay for travelers who wish to escape the hustle and bustle of Lisbon.
Explore the charming old town dotted with quaint boutiques, cute cafes, and family-owned restaurants that offer fresh seafood delicacies. We recommend Flecha Azul for grilled meat dishes, fish, and seafood. Stop by Palacio da Cidadela, the town’s 17th-century waterfront fortress. Culture vultures can visit cool museums like Casas das Historias Paula Rego and the Santa Marta Lighthouse Museum. If you wish to enjoy nature, go for a stroll in Marechal Carmona Park. Foodies can look forward to visiting Casa da Guia.
However, the main reason why most tourists come to Cascais are the fabulous beaches. Pay a visit to Praia dos Pescadores, Praia da Rainha, or Praia da Duquesa and enjoy swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. How to get to Cascais from Lisbon? You can catch a train from Cais do Sodre train station. There is also the option of taking a taxi from Lisbon to Cascais, but it’s a bit on the expensive side (€80).
Welcome to Tavira, a beautiful coastal town nestled along the country’s picturesque Algarve coast. Unlike many of the resort-filled towns in this region, Tavira attracts relatively fewer tourists and has more of a laid-back vibe. Life here is slow-paced, which allows you have a more authentic holiday experience.
Explore the beautiful cobblestone streets, admire the beauty of white-stone buildings with Moorish-influenced architecture, and see popular attractions such as the Roman Bridge and a medieval castle. This seaside town has retained much of its ancient heritage. You will have an opportunity to see many buildings and churches that date back to the Moorish era.
Once you get tired from exploring all the historical landmarks, make your way to the town’s unspoiled beaches such as Praia do Barril and Praia da Ilha de Tavira.
Located in the Oeste Subregion, Peniche is one of the best beach towns in Portugal for surfing. Once a busy fishing port, this tourist hub is known for its world-class beaches, beautiful fishing port, and a bunch of historical attractions. An impressive fortress, Fortaleza de Peniche is nowadays a museum of history fitted with fascinating artifacts.
For a glimpse of Portuguese history, make your way to the former prisoner detention center. Travelers can also see the statue of a lacemaker, Monumento à Rendilheira. If you wish to one of the first nature reserves in the world, hop on a ferry from the town marina to the nearby Berlengas Islands.
The long beaches in Peniche form powerful waves and offer ideal conditions for watersports such as bodyboarding and surfing. To see surfers in action, visit Praia dos Supertubos or Praia de Dunas. For more information about other surf destinations in the country, check out this guide to the best spots for surfing in Portugal. How to get from Lisbon to Peniche? Unfortunately, there are no direct trains at this time. You can take a taxi or catch a bus from Sete Rios station in northern Lisbon.
Azenhas do Mar
If you wish to get away from it all, we recommend spending a few days in the sleepy fishing town of Azenhas do Mar. Located close to Sintra, this beautiful Cliffside destination offers jaw-to-the-floor vistas and delicious seafood.
You won’t find many attractions here. Instead, you will have all the time in the world to enjoy the magnificent views, sample fresh seafood platters, and visit a sandy beach along the Atlantic Ocean. It’s one of those places where life is unhurried and time seems to stand still.
One of the must-stop places is the local cliffside dining establishments, also called Azenhas do Mar. The restaurant offers fresh fish and seafood and beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean. Do you wish to know more about the local cuisine? Check out “Portuguese Food Culture: 9 Popular Dishes You Must Try”.
Wish to experience the region of Algarve without all the crowds? Spend your vacation days in Ferragudo, a small fishing village with whitewashed buildings, narrow streets, quaint cafes and seafood restaurants.
Some of the must-see landmarks here include Fort of São João de Arade (former watchtower) and Homenagem às Tripulações Salva-Vidas de Ferragudo.
Ferragudo is minutes away from some of the most amazing beaches in the region. However, instead of spending your days in a resort full of tourists, you will be staying in a small fishing village well-known for its laid-back atmosphere. Praia da Angrinha and Praia da Infanta are without a doubt the most beautiful beaches you will find near Ferragudo.
No list of the best beach towns in Portugal would be complete without mentioning Ponta Delgada. The capital of the Azores archipelago is one of the most picturesque destinations in Portugal. Surrounded by the mountainside and the sea, this seaside city is packed with a charming collection of attractions.
See the Sao Bra Fortress and the main city square lined with cozy cafes and restaurants that offer fish and seafood delicacies. You can also check out the fabulous Portas da Cidade, 18th-century gates with ornate archways.
Although there are no beaches in Ponta Delgada, travelers won’t have to drive far to find a beautiful beach. Visit the charming town of Sao Roque where you will find swimming areas and small beaches. Pay a visit to the tiny volcanic sand beach that faces Miradouro Do Ilheu. Protected from the wind, this beach offers excellent conditions for swimming.
The charming west Algarvan village of Aljezur is one of the countries’ best-kept secrets. This coastal village remains largely unspoiled by endless tourist crowds and is mostly frequented by locals. Aljezur is also a popular surfing destination.
If you wish to avoid the more crowded places in the Algarve such as Albufeira, make sure to spend a few days in Aljezur. The rustic appearance of Aljezur is what makes it so special and unique. Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina, a natural park is a great place to visit for nature lovers. You will also find a variety of historical remains.
The beaches in Aljezur are spectacular in every way. Spend a day at Praia de Monte Clérigo, Praia do Medo da Fonte Santa, and Praia da Arrifana. Keep in mind that due to the strong winds, sometimes it is impossible to swim in the area.
A relatively small village in Algarve, Carvoeiro is a great coastal destination that offers a laid-back ambiance. Don’t expect to find many attractions here. However, if you are looking for a quiet place that is close to some of the best beaches in all of Portugal, you’ve definitely come to the right place.
Climb to the higher points of the village and you will have an opportunity to enjoy breathtaking views of the entire region. Travelers looking for adrenaline-packed adventures can visit Benagil Caves.
Spend your summer vacation days at Praia de Carvoeiro, one of the most popular beaches in the region. If you wish to visit a less crowded beach, we recommend going to Praia do Paraiso. The name of the beach translates to “paradise beach”! How to get from Faro to Carvoeiro? Hop on a bus from Faro to Lagoa for just €6. Then, take the bus that goes from Lagoa to Carvoeiro.