If you’re heading to Portugal in the not too distant future then you’re already making a good choice. Fairy tale castles, sunshine all year round and a jaw-dropping coastline, not to mention that coffee costs just 60 cents. To top it all off, when it comes to beaches, Portugal does not disappoint. From rugged surfing coves to hidden bays that are perfect for a quick dip, there seems to be endless choice. Tempted by the idea of beach-hopping, in May 2017 I jumped in a 1982 Mercedes campervan and sampled some of Portugal's most beachy spots. Here are my top five:
Praia do Odeceixe
Sitting right at the mouth of the Seixe River, Praia do Odeceixe is the Algarve’s most northerly beach. This white sandy paradise is ringed by jagged cliffs, so there are plenty of hidden coves to explore. Sunset from the slopes above the beach is pretty breathtaking, so I’d recommend hanging around for that. If you’re not spending the night the cliffs are still worth an explore for the stunning scenery. The drive from Lisbon takes about 2.5 hours, so it’s a bit of trek for the day, but if you’re spending the night then Odeceixe village has plenty of options.
Praia do Guincho
Praia do Bordeira
A vast expanse of sand (1.8 miles in total) which is more suited to beach walkers and wind surfers than sunbathers. It also gets fairly windy here! If you’re learning how to surf then this is a great spot to catch a few smaller waves. There are plenty of surfing schools that use this beach, so you might not want to get in the way. The views over the beach are also incredible so it’s worth going for an explore once you’re there. Bordeira is a three-hour drive from Lisbon or 1.5 hours from Faro. The neighbouring village, Carrapateira, makes for good stop-off point.
Praia da Amoreira
Whether you’re surfing, swimming, exploring or sunbathing, Amoreira is an idyllic beach for a bit of everything. The beach sits at the mouth of the Aljezur River so you’ve got the choice of freshwater and saltwater for swimming. Like many beaches in Portugal, the wind can pick up, but the dunes provid a decent bit of shelter. The beaches upriver are even more sheltered and you may even find yourself on your own. Amoreira is easily accessible from the local town, Aljezur, and it’s a three-hour drive from Lisbon, or 1.5 hours from Faro.
Praia do Carreagam
This is isn’t the most conventional of beaches (it’s fairly tidal!), but it’s hands down my top pick. More than likely you’ll be on your own, but you might be lucky and bump into some local spear-fisherman. At low tide you’re treated to a slither of white sand and plenty of rock pools. Sunbathing, exploring and a paddling is all doable. At high tide; well, it’s still enjoyable (so I hear!). What totally tops it off is sitting on the cliff above the beach as the sun sets over the Atlantic. Unreal. Carreagem is 15 minutes outside of Aljezur and down a dirt track. It's not the easiest to get to, but it’s worth the trip. It’s three hours from Lisbon and two hours from Faro.