What defines the perfect beach? Is it the size, sand, views or surroundings? And every beach has its own personality – some are a simple stretch of sand set by a promenade while others are set in scenic coves. One country that has more than its fair share of fabulous beaches is Portugal. Here are five of its very best beaches to visit.
1. Praia da Rocha
Praia da Rocha translates to “beach of the rocks”. Its rocky features make it a stunning place to sunbathe or enjoy the many water sporting activities on offer. The beach is split into two by a craggy headland and there are many caves to explore. Perched on the cliffs above the beach are a glut of restaurants and bars. There are also lots of fantastic holiday apartments and hotels to stay in nearby.
2. Praia do Castelo
Set at the foot of stunning cliffs, Praia do Castelo is a beautiful spot to escape the more touristy beaches on the Algarve. The fort that once overlooked it has gone, but its name “Castelo” is a nice reminder of it. The beach is a delightful cluster of smaller beaches connected by coves and caves. It is located near Albufeira, which is a popular tourist resort, but despite this it is an unspoiled spot to visit.
3. Praia da Marinha
Spectacular cliffs surround the beach, towering over the sand like protective walls. It’s a jaw-dropping location and its no wonder it has been rated as one of Europe’s and the world’s most beautiful beaches. Praia da Marinha means “Navy Beach”, which is a bit of a dull name for such a gorgeous spot. Though it may be to do with the quality of the water and the many boat trips that are available to tourists. It is definitely the place to visit if you like to snorkel.
4. Praia do Guincho
If you have ever seen On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, you may recognise Praia do Guincho as the spot where James Bond saves his wife to be, only to end up in a fight with two goons. The beach is a stretch of sand broken up into smaller beaches. It has stunning views of the rugged Estoril coastline and is also a popular spot with surfers, windsurfers and kitesurfers. Cascais is the closest town, which is a popular resort for foreign and local tourists.
5. Zambujeira do Mar
The town of Zambujeira do Mar is located on a spectacular, rocky cliff, which overlooks one of Portugal’s finest beaches. Like many of the others it is a collection of smaller beaches that hug the coastline. It is a popular haunt for backpackers and surfers, which makes sense as it is home to the Festival Sudoeste – a music event that has seen the likes of Daft Punk play at it.
If you want a beach holiday where you can just soak up the sun and switch off, Portugal has some of the best coastal spots in Europe. So pack the beach towel, book into one of the many superb villas in Portugal and indulge in some sun worshipping on a beautiful beach.