My Five Favorite Beaches in Portugal – Algarve and West Coast

After four weeks of beach hopping along the Portuguese west coast and the Algarve, I feel ready to share my five favorite beaches in Portugal! They are all a little different and each of them has something special to them … read on and get inspired for your next Portugal vacation! 

Before starting off with my five favorite beaches I  have to say that it is very very difficult to scale down to only five beaches! We’ve been to around 15 or more beaches in the past weeks and except for two or three, I loved them all. The amazing thing about Portugal is that no matter where you are it is a. super beautiful and b. looks different than the place ten kilometers further down the coast. Really, the color of the rocks, the dunes, the color of the sand, everything changes aaaaaaall the time. Down at the Algarve we often moved only ten kilometers down the coast and found ourselves at a completey different beach spot!

So these five beaches here are actually one five out of maaaany beyond beautiful beaches. Take them as an inspiration on where to start your travels through Portugal but make sure to visit at least a few beaches during your stay there; to see how diverse the coast line is!

1. West Coast: Marinha Grande – Praia das Pedras Negras

Let’s start north of Lisbon at the so called Silver Coast; here you can find endless white beaches, beautiful dunes, and kilometers or pines forests. You can go for endless walks through the pine forest (beautiful in Spring when all the small flowers are blooming) and alongside the beaches. Come here if you like it quiet and far away from the masses. Even in Summer you will be able to find a spot all for yourself here.  The beaches are far away from everything; nobody lives here at the coast. Locals come with their cars during the day, but never too many. When you travel with a van or motor home, this is your place to relax, calm down, and enjoy lonliness.

2. West Coast: Vila Nova de Milfontes – Praia das Furnas

The Praia das Furnas is a long way down the West coast; we are now south of Lisbon. I have to say though that the area all around Lisbon is beautiful too … however, you will find more people there and as I personally love it quiet, I skipped the region for my FAV FIVE. We’ve been there, we got completely parked in with our motor home in several parking spots (because there were so many cars coming), the beaches were rather crowded (and we are still in corona-crisis) and we actually loved them best on gloomy and rainy days when nobody was there and we could enjoy their beauty on rainy walks all by ourselves.

Still – this does not mean the area isn’t beyond beautiful as well!

But let’s hop down to Vila de Nova Milfontes. Even though the Praia de Furnas is only five kilometers from the town, it is a very quiet beach as well! In Vila de Nova Milfontes is a river beach as well and since it is closer to the town, most people go there. The Praia de Furnas is among my FAV TWO to be honest. I love it for several reasons; there is a river and the ocean; the river allows you to swim without being disturbed by waves, the ocean invites you to play in the waves. It’s wonderful! On low tide you can walk to the extension of the beach (on the other side of the cliffs) and find a wonderful area with small grottos, granit stones, and archs. Breathtaking!

This beach is perfect for kids; there is a natural pool (in 2020) between river and ocean where even my baby could easily crawl around in. My daughter (5) was able to practise her swimming skills here.

3. In between: Sagres

I left my heart in Sagres. Damn, it’s so beautiful! Really, I get weepy when just thinking about this place. Sagres is “the end of the world” – and you can feel the special spirit of the place when you are there. Here, nobody is just driving through, nobody comes here by accident: you can’t go further from here. You can only go back. The southern coast and the west coast meet here and you have two amazing beaches in the town; the west coast beach which is a wonderful surf spot and the south coast beach where you can swim and relax. On both beaches you can enjoy the view on the cliffs and in between beach-chilling you absolutely have to go to the most south-western point, looking at the endless masses of water and a visualizing yourself standing there at the end of the world …

4. Algarve: Budens – Praia de Boca do Rio

The Algarve is the most popular region in Portugal and loads and loads of tourists come here. We’ve been a bunch of very lucky ones because we were here when Corona hit Portugal and there was basically no tourism. However, even during corona-time the beaches were much more frequented then the ones in Sagres or at the west coast. I don’t know what it looks like under normal conditions so please keep that in mind when thinking about were to go in Portugal.

The first beach we visited when we went down the southern coast was the beach close to Budens. We found a lovely parking and I fell in love with this beach out of several reasons; again, there is a river at the beach, something I personally always like a lot. The beach itself is cozy and beautiful and in case you get tired of it you can easily hike to the next door beaches; the hikes over to Salema and to the other beach in Budens are both spectacular and something I can highly recommend. There are only about 20-40 minutes to walk and I enjoyed beach hopping during the day. Also make sure to visit the ruine of the old castle; you can climb around the ruin and our kids had so much fun there playing pirates!

5. Algarve: Praia dos Tomates

No we go down even further south the Algarve all the way to tomatoes beach. To be honest; I really don’t know what this place looks like in Summer when there is no corona but I can imagine that it is very very crowded! So I recommend coming here off season. And then go for a long walk down at the beach on the way there and walk up on the red rocks on the way back. The colors here are just amazing! The red of the rocks, the green, the blue, the white sand … seriously, it is so beautiful!

And that was it – my five favorite beaches in Portugal from North to South! Have you ever been to any of them? What is your favorite beach in Portugal? I would love to know so make sure to write me here or on instagram!

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