Forget Spain and Italy, Portugal’s pristine coastline boasts nearly 300 Blue Flag beaches. We invite some RV lovers to share their tips of exploring the country’s shores and sands…
The country of Portugal, despite its amazing culture and landscapes, isn’t as heavily marketed as a vacation destination as some of its other European counterparts, like France, Spain, and Italy. But for all the water-loving travelers of the world, this is good news. While Portugal certainly isn’t a secret, it’s clear that some areas of this country aren’t as widely regarded as you might imagine.
The Portuguese coast covers more than 850 kilometers of land, and nearly 300 of the beaches here have been awarded a Blue Flag, a designation given to beaches with the highest quality of water, cleanliness, and other environment-friendly features.
Each of these beaches varies in size and atmosphere: from large, white sand beaches that stretch as far as the eyes can see, to hidden water coves with large outcroppings, there really is a beach for everyone here.
For places with coastlines riddled with beaches and other attractions, like the Algarve in Portugal, or all across Australia, renting an RV is a safe bet. Whether you’re in Colorado and renting from a local company like Good Sam (check them out here: https://www.goodsamesp.com/) or driving your own RV to Portugal from hundreds of miles away, coasting along near the water in a mobile home is one of the best ways to experience everything that Portugal has to offer.
With one of the best coastlines in the world, naturally, it’s tough to do a roundup and hone in on just five. But these next five beaches are as diverse as they are beautiful, making it easy for anyone to fall in love.
Tres Irmaos Beach
Located in the Algarve (Lagos)—the most popular region for beach culture in Portugal—this beach isn’t a secret, but it’s a must-see. The reason it’s so popular is because it features one of the most amazing rock formations along the coast, and arguably the world. Although it tends to get busy during the high season, it’s full of character, very clean, and always a jaw-dropping site to see.
What to do: Explore little caves that arch along the cliffside. Grab a bite to eat at Canico, a seafood restaurant where you enter through a small tunnel in a cliff and arrive at a terrace that overlooks stunning views of a secluded beach. Then, check out the village of Alvor, a small Portuguese fishing village full of cute, authentic shops along narrow rows of cobbled streets.
Porto Covo looks exactly like it sounds. Situated in a discreet cove in the town of Alentejo, you’ll feel as though you just stumbled into a resort pamphlet. To be fair, Porto Covo isn’t just one beach: it’s a series of small beaches, each with a distinct name, situated one after another. Expect turquoise water and golden sand, and each cove has its own variation of rock formations and watering holes.
What to do here: Follow along each cove, railroad style. Take a hiking trip along the Alentejo coast with Hiking Vicente, a tour company that aims to help visitors explore the unique and varied landscapes of the coast.
Praia de Monte Clérigo is one of the hidden Algarve gems on this list. Situated just a mile and a half from the white-washed town of Aljezur, this long strip of sandy beach has so much to offer. As you get closer to the beach from the road, you’ll see dramatic views of surrounding mountains and water from a distance. There are several beachside bars and restaurants, and locals are so friendly, some visitors have even been invited to fish alongside them.
What to do here: Feel the full force of the Atlantic when you take surfing lessons from one the area’s most reputable businesses, Boa Onda Surf School (beginner or advanced). Practice yoga and meditation among the towering cliffs and beautiful sandy scenery at Prana Casa.
Praia de Benagil
Praia de Benagil is one of the most photographed pieces of the Portuguese coast. Because of limited parking, the area’s standout feature—a gorgeous sea cave—is only accessible by water, and it isn’t as busy as you might think. This sea cave is called Algar de Benagil, and from inside the cave you can look up into a vaulted opening in the rocks through to the blue sky above you. This beach is located in Benagil, a fishing village near Carvoeiro.
What to do here: Take a boat tour to check out the famous Benagil sea cave and other nearby seaside attractions. Enjoy a good steak or fish meal at Brisa Do Mar, a highly rated seaside restaurant not far from some of the best watering holes.
Praia da Marinha
While you’re near Praia de Benagil you should check out its eastern sister, Praia da Marinha. Similarly, because it takes a little hiking and climbing, this gem of a beach isn’t often very packed. While some beaches are great for surfing, this particular spot is ideal for sun lounging and snorkelling, thanks to perfectly clear and calm waters.
What to do here: Paddleboard around around Albufeira and get an up close view of some of the most amazing seaside cliffs with SUP Albufeira. Then head over to the Cocktail Garden for an extensive list of well-priced, inventive cocktails.