Portugal has some of the most beautiful secluded beaches in Europe, particularly in the Algarve region where secluded coves have been carved into the magnificent honey-coloured cliffs along the coast. Here are 10 secluded beaches in Portugal that offer holidaymakers the perfect escape from the bustling resort towns:
Praia da Marinha, Lagoa (Algarve)
This attractive cove is located on the Atlantic coast of Portugal, near the city of Lagoa. The sandy beach is surrounded by honey coloured cliffs that are common in the Algarve area. The arches that have formed in the rocky outcrops only add to the beauty of the beach. It’s no surprise that this gorgeous beach has been used in numerous international advertising campaigns. To access Praia da Marinha you need to climb down a steep set of stairs. At high tide there is just a narrow strip of sand, but at low tide you can also access the adjacent coves. You can also take boat trips from the beach to explore nearby grotto’s.
Praia da Dona Ana, Lagos (Algarve)
Dona Ana beach is a stunning beach that surrounded by towering cliffs and striking rock formations. The sandy beach is just a 20 minute walk from the Lagos town centre, and can be accessed by a footpath and steep flight of stairs that lead down the side of the cliff. There is a bar nearby that sells drinks and snacks. Dona Ana is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, or snorkeling around the rocks, although it can get crowded so it’s best to avoid coming here on the weekends or busy summer months.
Praia do Portinho da Arrábida, Setúbal
The delightful beach of Portinho da Arrábida is nestled in a calm bay within the Serra da Arrábida Natural Park. It is one of the most tranquil beaches in the Lisbon area, although it is only accessible by car as there is no public transport that goes to Portinho da Arrábida. The white sand and pebble beach and lush hills that surround it create a tranquil spot where you can have a relaxing break just soaking up the sun. You can hire canoes or go sailing. It’s also an excellent place to go diving thanks to the diverse marine life in the clear blue-green water.
Praia do Beliche, Vila do Bispo (Algarve)
Beliche beach is nestled between cliffs on the most westerly tip of Portugal, near the town of Sagres. This golden sandy beach attracts a variety of visitors. There is a flat, shallow area which is popular with families with small children, and those who want to swim and snorkel. Praia do Beliche also has some interesting caves that provide some shelter from the sun. Away from the sheltered sandy bay, the swells are big enough to provide some good waves for surfers. There is also a section of the beach where swimwear is optional, so if you’d prefer not to take your kids to a nudist beach, Beliche may not be the best option. Reaching the beach is fairly easy, although it does require walking down a long flight of stairs. There is plenty of parking nearby and there is also a small restaurant right on the beach.
Praia do Carvalho, Lagoa (Algarve)
The municipality of Lagoa is one of the best places in Portugal to find secluded beaches. Praia do Carvalho is an Algarve beach that offers an escape from the busy seaside resorts in the region. The sandy cove is surrounded by rugged cliffs which act as a windbreak, making the calm waters ideal for swimming. To access the beach there is a steep flight of stairs that has been cut into the side of the cliff, which takes you through a tunnel that is cut through the rocks. The beach is practically deserted in the low season, and even in the busier summer months it is much quieter than most Algarve beaches.
Praia da Senhora da Rocha, Lagoa (Algarve)
The Algarve beach of Senhora da Rocha is set back between tall cliffs. The cliffs provide protection from the wind, which means the water here is calm and ideal for swimming. You can also take boat excursions from here to explore the grottos in the area. On the rocky outcrop that lies to the west, you’ll find the enchanting Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Rocha. It’s worth a visit, even if just for the stunning views. The beach itself has excellent facilities including parking nearby, restaurants, as well as rental companies for water sports enthusiasts. The beach even has wheelchair access. It can get very crowded during the summer months and the weekends, but the rest of the year it’s a great option for anybody staying in an Algarve holiday rental.
Praia da Ursa, Sintra
Praia da Ursa is hidden between cliffs in the Sintra municipality of the Lisbon region, and is considered one of Portugal’s most beautiful beaches. Located near Cabo da Roca it’s popular with nudists because of its seclusion. Unlike the nearby beach of Adraga, this beach is not very easily accessible. There is steep path that runs down the side of the cliff that will take down to the beach, but it’s slippery so bring good walking shoes. You’ll also need to bring your own food and drinks because there are no facilities at Praia da Ursa.
Praia da Rainha, Cascais
In the heart of the Cascais municipality, you’ll find a small beach called Praia da Rainha, surrounded by craggy rocks. Its location right at the centre of Cascais means that there are plenty of bars and restaurants nearby. The beach is popular with families as well as surfers. When you’ve spent the day soaking up the sun on Praia da Rainha, you can watch the amazing sunset while you sip on cocktails at the bar that is at the top of the stairs that lead to the beach. The small beach is packed during the summer months, but it’s much quieter out of season.
Carvoeiro Beach, Lagoa (Algarve)
In the centre of the town of Carvoeiro, nestled between craggy cliffs, you’ll find Carvoeiro Beach (also known as the towns “main beach”). It’s a firm favourite with locals and tourists during the summer months, so if you want to avoid crowds it’s best to go in spring or autumn when the beach is much quieter. It’s well-equipped with toilets, showers as well as a snack hut, bars and restaurants. Jet skis and pedalos are available for hire, and there are a couple of diving schools based in Carvoeiro. It’s also one of the few Algarve beaches that is wheelchair accessible. The calm waters of the sheltered beach, as well as the easy access, make it a favourite with young families who want to avoid the dangers of taking a steep flight of stairs to reach the beach.
Praia do Paraiso, Lagoa (Algarve)
A little bit further along from the main beach at Carvoeiro, is a quiet little cove known as Praia do Paraiso. This beautiful, secluded beach can only be reached by climbing down a long flight of stairs that snakes its way down the cliffs that surround the beach. The rich-coloured cliffs and deep blue-green water make this beach a haven of tranquillity. Although there is a small parking area at the beach, there are no other facilities. To reach Praia do Paraiso, drive up the hill on the western side of Praia do Carvoeiro, following the road to the right, where you’ll find the car park near “Restaurante O Boteco”. You can find more ideas for summer holidays in Portugal on our travel guide section.