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

5 Star Rainbow Villa With Sea View

This superb new property completed June 2014 is a fantastic 4 bedroom architect designed villa. We also own the luxury villa next door. It is property number 1317328 in case more than one family want to holiday together and if the weeks requested...

2 Bedroom Spacious Apartment With Seaview & Balcony Very Close To Lovely Beach

The apartment is light, airy and spacious, with an open plan living area, large balcony and 2 large bedrooms with built in wardrobes. The apartment is on one level only so is ideal for younger children. • 2 spacious twin bedrooms (in 1 room the b...

Beautiful 7 Bedroom Villa New, Beside The Strip, Albufeira Town

Located in the heart of Albufeira, and just beside the strip where you will find plenty of bars, restaurants, cafes, shops, supermarkets, nightclubs and be able to relax on Oura's sandy beach. This large villa is ideal for families or large groups...

Prestious Villa with Large Private Heated Pool Surrounded by Huge Lush Garden

Quietly situated in the hills between Loule and Sao Bras our Quinta guarantees an unforgettable holdiday in privacy. The villa has 4 bedrooms, three bathrooms, all on the same floor, overlooking the pool and the lush gardens. Cozy outside lounges...

Luxury sea front apartment with superb views,

This spacious apartment has stunning views to the sea front, the neighbouring historic castle of Sao Joao and the marina of Portimao. Stylishly furnished there is a large lounge area and a seperate dining area with an open plan kitchen. Two sets o...

Cosy holiday villa at Natural Park, 45min from Lisbon, car rental

If you´re looking for a place close to Lisbon but at the same time close to the beach and you´re a nature's lover, you'll find Serra da Arrábida the perfect destination for your holidays. We'll be glad to welcome you at our house located in the h...

Luxury Duplex with BBQ Terrace and rooftop Solarium

Luxurious two bedroomed two bathroom duplex penthouse apartment, ideal for summer or winter holidays. Tastefully furnished for self-catering but within a short stroll to local restaurants, shops and water front. Air-conditioned for summer; with ...

Classy Architecture & Deco, Amazing Mountain Views, Wide Pool, Relaxing Spots

Quinta da Lua is a charming villa, with a modern architecture in perfect harmony with the surrounding nature of the Natural Park of Arrábida. It has wide bright areas with large glass windows, offering beautiful views of the mountain. The living r...

Ericeira - Quiet location with garden near the beach

2 storey villa, situated in village environment, ideal for family holidays or friends, as for romantic retreats or just to rest. Located 5 minutes from the beach of Ribeira d'Ilhas and other, 10 minutes from the center of Ericeira and 15 minutes o...

Apartment/ flat - Manta Rota

(Text automatically translated) Ranked accommodation. Very peaceful, Ideally located, Large terrace of 80m2 (front and rear terrace with barbecue). Going to the beach on foot. The prices quoted are inclusive of VAT in force.

Apartment/ flat - Manta Rota

(Text automatically translated) Ranked accommodation. Very peaceful, ideally situated, nice terrace. Going to the beach on foot. The prices quoted are inclusive of VAT in force.

House with garden and pool with water salt - Villa Aljezur (Vale da Telha)Big house

Very peaceful Dwelling-place (Village) . Near the Beach and forest. In the first line of the sea. Neighburs just in the left side. Beatiful sun shine. Sea View. Pool with water salt 9m x 4mRecent construction. Internet WI-fi. TV satélite, Cable

Quarteira, Sea front apartment, ideally located

A cozy 1 bedroom apartment very welcoming, located opposite the Sea, 1st line, along the Calçadão ( pedestrian area of Quarteira ) beachfront Ze , excellent location in Quarteira . Willing to South and overlooking the Sea of Algarve. Well decorat...

Excellent Flat,Magnificent Ocean Views from Terrace.Near Beach&10km from Lisbon

Discover the great Lisbon Region, and stay in a cozy apartment located in Oeiras, at 10km from Lisbon, with magnificient views, garage and terrace. Railway station at 500m and excelente access.Apartment fully furnished and equipped, with 95m2 of a...

Príncipe Real Quintinha Garden

Located in Príncipe Real, a trendy and classy neighbourhood, 5 to 10 minutes walking distance from the city’s historical centre, Chiado and Bairro Alto, this is a magnificent apartment, with a private garden and a swimming pool, for large parties ...

Beautiful 5 Bedroom Villa Century, Private pool in the heart of Albufeira Town

Located in the heart of Albufeira, less than 5 minutes walk to the strip, and beach. This large villa is ideal for families or large groups that are looking for a quiet setting with excellent entertainment space. This 5 bedroom villa has undergone...

Luxury Vilamoura, Algarve, Apt., Highly Recommended, Many Extras, Free Wifi

A superb ground floor apartment within a beautiful private gated complex. This modern spacious property is near the Millennium and Victoria golf courses and minutes away from the award-winning Falesia beach and the centre of Vilamoura. It is a ver...

Luxury, 5 Star Golf Course Apartment. Contemporary Design. 2 Bedroom. Great Pool

Our apartment at Monte Laguna is fully air conditioned and has contemporary furnishings throughout. For your security, we have installed both an electronic safe and a video entry system and the property is professionally managed with 24 hour a day...

Sun & Sea & Meia Praia Lagos

Fancy in the sun, sea and Lagos in the Algarve? Cosy clean apartment, with view onto the swimming pool, within walking distance to the beautiful long beach Meia Praia, the Marina and the historical center of Lagos (15 min.) You don't need a car to...

Tranquility in T2 near beach and golf Salgados; private swimming-pool.Pleasant.

Apartment in gated community in a quiet area with pool, 300 meters to the beach and 5km from the center of Albufeira . Near the golf course at Salgados. First floor with elevator , very nice , with lots of light , well decorated balconies in the ...

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