Wednesday, June 12, 2024

There are lots of beaches in central Portugal, we have picked out 10 of our favourites. They are a mix of sea beaches (praia) and river beaches (praia fluvial).

We have chosen 5 of each type and they are listed in north to south order, they are all worth visiting. The river beaches offer a different ‘day at the beach’ many have cafes, swimming pools, and beautiful riversides surrounded by trees.

The ones marked with * were been nominated for the 7 Marvels of Portugal 2012 – Best Beaches award.   tocha beach

1.    Praia da Tocha, Cantanhede.      

This is a well kept secret, a beautiful wide sandy beach with a panoramic restaurant, parking, showers and childrens playground. GPS 40o19’44”N 08o50’37”W

2.    *Praia de Cabedelo, Figueira da Foz.

This is a favourite with surfers and stretches for kilometres, to the south of Figueira da Foz. GPS 40o08’25”N 08o51’45”W

3.    Sao Martinho do Porto

This is a lovely calm bay on the coast that is formed by natural cliffs. The water is warm as the water is kept in the semi-enclosed bay so warms up during the day. It is a really nice town and a safe beach because it is protected from the big waves. Great for families, but it does get very busy in summertime due to it's popularity. If possible travel there by train in the summer as parking can be difficult.
Sao Martinho do Porto Town Focus.

4.    *Nazaré main beach

Very popular surfing beach with many International surf competitions taking place here throughout the year.  The beach is clean and has plenty of cafes/restaurants where you can try out local fish dishes. There is a busy fishing harbour and a funicular railway. There is parking in the centre at GPS 39o35’51”N 09o04’10”W.Foz beachNazaré Town Focus

5.    Foz do Arelho, Caldas da Rainha.

In the council of Caldas da Rainha, on the edge of Obidos Lagoon, the beach goes all round the headland so you can have surfing on the west side or quite, lapping waves on the south, lagoon side. Beach bars and cafes overlook the beach, with parking on the road. There is a great car park and campervan park on the edge of the beach on the lagoon side. Take J18 or J19 off the A8/IC1 motorway and follow signs to Foz do Arelho.  

6.    Louçainha river beach, near Penela

Follow signs from IC3 for Praia Fluival Louçainha. You will find a café/restaurant and picnic areas overlooking an enclosed swimming area, as well as toilets, showers and changing rooms. The council have also added more parking recently.

7.    Cascalheira river beach near Secarias, Arganil.

Cascalheira river beach is located on the banks of the River Alva, 500 metres from the town of Secarias, which in turn is only 3.5 km from the village of Arganil.  This beach, which also has a picnic area, is set in an area with lots of trees that provide pleasant shade and make it a pleasant leisure space on hot summer days. It is a BLue Flag beach and has showers and a Bar.

8.    Praia das Rocas at Castanheira De Pera

There are new roads around here so using a GPS is not a good idea, drive down the IC8 and follow signposts for Castanheira de Pera and then Praias das Rocas praia fluvial. There is a small entry charge, but worth it. It is run by the local council. It is the only inland 'beach' with waves and they have great evening entertainment and music throughout the summer.

9.    Aldeia do Mato river beach, Abrantes

This is on the east side of Castelo de Bode lake, there is a water sports centre here and enclosed floating swimming pools. GPS 39o32’ 40”N 08o16’ 37”W

10.    *Fragas de São Simão river beach, Figueiró dos Vinhos  

Steep access road but parking is available at the top as you drive off the main road, some limited parking at the bottom of the road. It gets very busy on summer weekends. A shaded central island with river flowing down both sides, and idyllic spot.

More river beaches