Portugal beach holidays

Explore the golden sands of the Algarve and beyond...

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Ronnie McCluskey

Ronnie McCluskey
HomeAway travel expert

BeachYou probably don’t need too much of an excuse to choose Portugal as your next holiday destination. In fact, if this was your plan all along, chances are you already fully intended to jet off to one of the several fine coastal areas that boast some of Europe’s most spectacular beaches. Nonetheless, it can be far too easy to fall into the usual routine of idly choosing the path most readily trodden: the locations that adorn the covers of every holiday brochure in the travel agent’s. Not that there’s anything wrong with the Algarve et al, but the rest of the country has much to offer.

With a spectacular Atlantic visage, tropical climates and some truly mesmeric scenery in its armoury, Portugal should never be dismissed when browsing for that perfect beach holiday location. And with almost 600 miles of Atlantic coastline, there are plenty to choose from.


Top destinations for a beach holiday in Portugal


Portugal beach holidays: Porto Portugal beach holidays: Porto

Porto is a notable city for several reasons, not least the cultural goldmine that is the historic centre. Head for the shores, though, and you can while away the hours on some beautiful beaches; the 15km stretch of Vila Nova de Gaia a particular recommendation. This area has the highest concentration of Blue Flag beaches in the country, with a naturally diverse landscape that ranges from glistening golden sand to luscious greenery. The relatively recent addition of a wooden esplanade running the entire length of the Gaia coastline, meanwhile, renders it perfect for a sunny bike ride by the sea.

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Portugal beach holidays: Costa Verde Portugal beach holidays: Costa Verde

“Green Coast” to you and I: a name which is fairly self-explanatory when you see the region with your own eyes. The oddity of this northern terrain is that the weather can be notoriously unpredictable, a dream for the plentiful vegetation that grows here but a factor that can often leave the beaches all but deserted. This is by no means a negative though; when you catch them on a good day, the hot sands provide a respite from the overcrowded frenzy of others. Despite its craggy landscape, the beach at São Bartolomeu do Mar is perhaps the most charming of all.

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Portugal beach holidays: Lisbon Portugal beach holidays: Lisbon

Good combinations of city and beach are all too rare – Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona being two obvious standouts in an otherwise sparse list. Add Lisbon to the mix. As summer descends over this fairytale city, cries of “a praia” can be heard as locals flock along the shore to Cascais. Guincho is among the finer beaches in the resort, but for a truly awe-inspiring sight, take a brisk walk by the water along to the breathtaking Mouth of Hell. The thunderous roar of the waves crashing into the cliffs is an example of Mother Nature at her finest.

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Portugal beach holidays: Madeira Portugal beach holidays: Madeira

Although it lies closer to the coast of Morocco, Madeira is in every way a Portuguese territory. That’s Portugal’s gain, though; the island offers unique scenery all along its coast. The beaches around Porto Santo are arguably the best, even if they are a touch tourist-heavy; the sand, in addition to being a luminous golden, allegedly holds therapeutic qualities. Ribeira Brava is a little different due to its unusual black sand, but the invitingly warm water makes it ideal for swimmers. Jardim do Mar – translated as Garden by the Sea – is an aptly named picturesque plateau, boasting several beaches popular with surfers.

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Portugal beach holidays: Sagres Portugal beach holidays: Sagres

OK, so the Algarve may not be the most original holiday destination. Nonetheless, it has one or two areas that are too prominent not to mention. Sagres is one such example, a relatively small fishing port blessed with southern Portugal’s most aesthetically pleasing beaches. Praia do Beliche is a favourite, flanked by dramatic high cliffs that provide sun worshippers with just the right quantity of shade, not to mention an eye-catching backdrop for surfers congregating just offshore. Closer to the town centre is Praia Mareta, a tranquil family-orientated spot.

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Image 1 © lilivanili
Image 2 © Giorgio Violino
Image 3 © Natalia
Image 5 © Javier Habladorcito

Holiday Rentals


Portugal-Algarve-Sao Bras de Alportel-Villa-10 Bedrooms-10 Bathrooms-24 until 32 Persons-Sat Tv-German Television-Air conditioning-Wifi-Privat Pool-Privat Garden-Sauna-Steambath-Garage-Parking spaces-Bar-Stereo Music-Children-Weddings-Family-Busin...

Luxury townhouse in 5 star resort

Two bedroom, two bathroom townhouse situated on the private & gated community of Vila dos Principes, in the five star resort of Praia D’El Rey. The house shares three large heated swimming pools and beautiful landscaped gardens. The master bedroom...

Detached Villa -peaceful , private , stunning sea views, close beach,

Stay in our delightful detached cottage, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean from the warm 'banana belt' micro-climate of lower Arco da Calheta. Set in our own grounds within the walls of our home, Quinta das Ondas, it offers complete peace & quiet in...

2 bed, 2 bathroom luxury Apartment and separate Studio.

This property is a very well furnished, comfortable apartment located at Villas do Mar, which consists of ten apartments with communal pool situated in quiet residential location on the headland near the village church and within 300m of the beach...

next to the beach, pools, sea, parking, tennis view

Located 100 meters from the sandy beach of Praia da Rocha, T1 equipped for 4-6 people in a private condominium with swimming pools (adults and children), tennis court, garden, car park, snack bar, games room, coktail bar, cafeteria , sport tv ...)...

Villa located in the last condo before arriving the beach of Meco

Villa located in a small condominium near the beach of Meco, at a distance of 1500 meters. The villa has 3 bedrooms, 2 en-suite, 1 sofa bed in the lounge for up to 2 children, porch with table and chairs for dining or lounging under the buganvílea...

Beach front penthouse apartment in coastal resort of Caniço de Baixo

A waterfront penthouse apartment at the end of the ocean front well lit and paved promenade of Caniço de Baixo about 50 metres from Reis Magos Beach. Caniço de Baixo is on the sunny southern coast overlooking the ocean. It is a beautiful sea leve...

Luxury penthouse apartment with superb ocean views, private roof terrace

A luxurious & spacious 173.6 square meter private apartment, on the sunny, dry southern coast, in the fashionable district of Garajau. Spectacular panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean from the 30ft x 40 ft south facing private roof terrace, perfe...

Comfort Self Catering in the heart of Machico Old Town, sand beach 2 mn walk

Recent and modern construction. Excellent sun exposure. Excellent location, no need car to get to supermarket, beach, coffees, and other services. Transfers from the airport available. Very quiet area, ideal to relax in the town. Marina. Sand be...

Villas with pool, barbecue, garden, wifi, relaxing holidays, up to 10 px

Our commitment is provide a pleasant and unforgettable stay during your amazing holidays in this wonderful island. Angels Inn Paradise 1 Located at Prazeres Luxury villa with sea view and private pool, exclusive use for the guests, Barbecue, pr...

Apartment/ flat - Aveiro - Barra

(Text automatically translated) Ideally situated, 4. Penthouse floor with a large balcony / terrace with barbecue and magnificent view over the Ria de Aveiro

Superb villa with private pool and South facing garden, two mins walk from beach

This modern 3 bedroom,3 bathroom villa is situated in the exclusive, picturesque Parque da Praia(Beach Park),just minutes walk from the beautiful beach in Praia da luz and the promenade, shops and restaurants. It is perfect for families. The lux...


Our portugal apt is very much Loved and cared for .Its very bright modern and very clean .Its situated on the 2nd floor of a private condominium Monte Anastacia . The apartment sleeps 4. Set in beautiful well kept mature gardens with swimming poo...

CASALAURA, home comfort, heated pool, air conditioning, and 360 ª

House located in a sloped, with stunning 360 º views in total calm, very early the sun hits the window of your room to wake you up gently Two rooms are available upstairs have a balcony or enjoy the scenery, sea and mountains, or go tanning  A wal...

Villa Marali - beach/shops 500m, restaurants 400m- *Free Car/Transfer offer*

*Free Car or Transfer offer available on next 10 bookings – see Solmar Villas site for details* This modern detached villa is conveniently located within walking distance of Lourenco beach, shops and restaurants. Gale beach is just 1.1km from the...

Beautiful 2 bedroom apartment with spacious balcony. Free WIFI and UK TV.

You will love a holiday in this beautiful 2 bedroom apartment in historic Lagos. The apartment has everything you need including WIFI, UKTV and DVD, air-conditioning, dishwasher, lift, underground car parking to keep your car cool during the hot d...

3 Luxury Villas with private pool. Sleeps 8-10. Walking distance to Beach & Golf

Comfortably accommodating families upto 10 people in Casa Bougainvillea and 8 in each Casa Hibiscus & Wisteria at Praia d'el Rey Golf & Beach Resort. All are ideal homes for a relaxing or an activity filled family holiday. They are all beautiful v...

Luxury Town House, Sleeping 4, Next To 7th Fairway, Walking Distance To Beach

Spacious modern homes in a fabulous setting with two shared swimming pools, beautiful gardens and views of the golf course. Ideal for the perfect family or group holiday, special family occasions, golfing holidays even Christmas & New Year holiday...

Luxury 3&4 bed homes. Large condo pool. Stunning sea views. Close to beach.

This new, spacious and sunny 3-bed, 2.5 bathroom home has been furnished and equipped to a very high standard. The accommodation comprises: large open plan sitting / dinning room, fully equipped modern kitchen, master double bedroom with en suite ...

PortugalLisboa Algarve Madeira Island Azores Alentejo Central Portugal World US North Portugal Europe

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