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

Exclusive Villa with Heated Pool near Sandy Beach, Hiking, Golf and Wineries

Casa da Figueira is a beautiful traditional Portuguese villa with a large private heated pool, gorgeous mature tropical gardens, and a private fruit garden. Discrete housekeeping services are provided during weekdays. Casa da Figueira is only a 5 ...

Beach front apartment with superb sea view, 10 min. from Porto

Apartment located by the sea, in a modern building, facing the Atlantic Ocean, in Vila Nova de Gaia-Porto-Foz do Douro River in Northern Portugal. Situated in first line of sea, in Lavadores Beach, is the ideal place for a holiday or short stay an...

Affordable Luxury Beach Apartment with superb sea view 10 minutes from Porto

Affordable luxury apartment situated by the sea on the beach of Lavadores. Located in a modern building, facing the Atlantic Ocean, in Vila Nova de Gaia - Porto - near the mouth of the River Douro. This 2 bedroom apartment sleeps 4 and is new. Is...

In the Heart of Historic Lisboa

This apartment, flooded with light, is located in the heart of the old city, in an historic building of Graça, one of Lisbon's most iconic and oldest neighbourhoods. It was restored combining architectural tradition and contemporary design. It h...

Villa Marali - beach/shops 500m, restaurants 400m

This modern detached villa is conveniently located within walking distance of Lourenco beach, shops and restaurants. Gale beach is just 1.1km from the villa. On the ground floor there is a spacious living room with separate dining area and featu...

5 bed villa Vilamoura

Beautiful house 5 beds 3 baths fully fitted kitchen dishwasher washing machine dryer. Dining room TV room. Main bedroom has views over golf course. Patio area and decked area. Swimming pool 25m X 20m. Kids pool also. 15mins walk to marina, ...

Typical Villa with private pool

Villa with total privacy and fenced land, located in the countryside, quiet environment, with some detached houses. Have quick access to beaches, supermarkets, restaurants, shops and cinema. The private and spacious surroundings allows recreationa...

Historic center Lisbon. Terrace view over the city and Tagus, 2 bedroom flat

Located in the central and charming neighborhood of Estrela/Lapa and very well served of transports, this cozy flat in the top floor of a 18th century building, consists of a fully equipped kitchen and bathroom, a twin bedroom, (with a small extr...

Retreat with piano between sea and mountain

4th and last floor of a building with lift. Sunny apartment with 2 bedrooms, ideal for 4 people with possibility of extra bed or cot, lounge, fully equipped kitchen, 1 bathroom, conservatory, large terrace. Near to the beaches where they practice ...

Villa in Pedras Del Rei Resort (Alg

When you rent this small house, you are renting more than a house, you are renting what the whole resort has to offer. A big swimming pool, tennis court, restaurants and bars with night activities, nice trips by train to the bea...

Spacious and modern property, ideal for large family groups. Ideally situated to enjoy the facilities of Quinta Do Lago.

This is a very special four bedroom villa set on three levels. Beautifully furnished and decorated throughout, this accommodation offers a relaxing holiday. The villa consists of an entrance hall leading onto a lounge/diner with fireplace. The bal...

Only 5 min. walk to Beach or Casino

The apartment is very sunny. The apartment, with a terrace facing the sea, is very comfortable, large and bright. It has air-conditioning, cable TV, WiFi, a fully equipped kitchen (with a dish-washer), a large WC with bathtub a...

This well appointed 5 bedroom villa is situated in the heart of Quinta do Lago and backs onto the Quinta North golf course. Pool and terraces enjoy all day sunshine and there is a lovely private barbecue area.

This lovely individual villa is located on Ayrton Senna Road in the superb resort of Quinta do Lago. The furnishings and décor are of a very high standard and the villa feels very welcoming. The gardens have been beautifully landscaped, wit...

This superb villa is located in the heart of Quinta do Lago and offers the highest of standards throughout. With delightful views over the golf course and a lovely BBQ area this property is the perfect location for outdoor living.

This lovely individual villa is located on Ayrton Senna Road in the superb resort of Quinta do Lago. The furnishings and décor are of a very high standard offering a warm welcome. The gardens have been beautifully landscaped, with an extens...

Superb 5 bedroom villa furnished to a high standard in both traditional and modern styles and located in the prestigious Quinta do Lago resort.

This superb villa offers a high standard of accommodation and is furnished throughout to suit all tastes. The villa is situated on the São Lourenço golf course and is just a short walk to beaches, cafes and shopping making it ideal for f...

This lovely villa is located in the very exclusive Quinta do Lago resort. It is ideal for an unforgettable holiday with the luxury and comfort of a home. It has been beautifully decorated and has high quality furnishings throughout. It is located within a

Specifications: 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, guest cloakroom Lounge with satellite television, DVD, CD player Separate dining room Fully fitted, well equipped kitchen with fridge, freezer, dishwasher, cooker, microwave, washing machine, tumble dryer A...

This beautiful and modern villa overlooks the 2nd fairway of the Sao Lourenco golf course. The property is finished to a very high standard with contemporary furnishings throughout. This villa provides privacy and comfort for 10 guests.

Specifications: 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, guest cloakroom Spacious lounge, cable television, DVD, pool table, access to pool Dining area Spacious, fully fitted kitchen with all modern appliances Laundry room with washing machine Office Internet Air...

Located in The Crest, a new development near Almancil, this lovely and spectacular villa incorporates virtually every convenience and luxury. The property is furnished and fitted to a high standard and distant sea views may be enjoyed from the terrace.

Specifications: 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms Lounge/dining room with flat screen satellite television, DVD, CD player, access to terrace Fully fitted, modern kitchen with dishwasher, tumble dryer, washing machine, fridge/freezer, oven, hob, microwave A...

Charming villa with private pool overlooking the sea and on the beach

House situated in a quiet area with private pool (11x4,5m) with sea view, 300 m from the beach and 5 km from the center of Albufeira. Home with lots of light, in the form of 'L' in the living room and the kitchen, with fully glazed fronts, have a ...

Luxury & spacious 2 bedroom apartment, beside sea & golf, sleeps 5

Luxury 2 bedroom apartments in Vilamoura,Terracos do Golfe, Terracos do Pinhal, Rua do Moura Zara. With WiFi. These stunning 2 bedroom apartments are situated in The Terracos do Pinhal region surrounded by 3 golf courses just 25 minutes drive f...

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