What does a grumpy person want from a beach? Well, it has to be beautiful, so there would be less excuses to grumble. Second of all, it has to be not too crowded, because grumpy person wants peace. Finally, it has to be easy to access – no one likes to walk a lot. Unfortunately for my top 3, the last condition was hard to achieve.
When I decided to choose Portugal as my studying destination one of the most important factors, of course, were the beaches. Unfortunately, I haven’t really checked where all those beautiful sandy God gifts are located. They all were in the South. Here’s an early tip: if you’re looking for a vacation with beautiful beaches – skip Porto. All the beautiful beaches start when you are around 200 km1 south from second largest city of Portugal.
My miserable realization that all these Portuguese beaches, which I’ve seen in Google images, are nowhere near Porto came only when I was already settled in my new home. I have tried many, many, many, maaany different sources searching for something close in the Northern Portugal.
The closest beach to Porto that was mentioned in these sites, was Praia de Miramar and it was an absolute disaster comparing to what was I expecting. The nearest really nice and interesting beach that was worth visiting was Praia da Nazare2, which is 214 km3 away from where I lived.
When the weather in Portugal became suitable for going to the beaches me and my lads went to Southern part of the country a few times and visited and saw almost every beach that was on provided lists and even those, which weren’t. In every beach that was on TOP-10 lists in the first page of Google search there was huge crowds of people and, of course, for a good reason.
Despite the fact, that this beach hasn’t made my top-3 due to its overcrowding, I have to mention Praia da Marinha4, which was ranked 18th in TripAdvisor’s most beautiful beaches in the world, which makes it the 3rd most beautiful in Europe. As we were there in late spring, there was a tolerable amount of people and it really was an breath-taking beach, which you MUST visit if you’re somewhere in Algarve region.
Although, second time we went there in July, the Ocean was blooming and it was impossible to go swimming. So, that day we had to search for something else and that’s when we found …
3. Praia da Albandeira
It’s a small, but very cozy beach accessible through narrow gravel road in which it is impossible to pass the car coming from the front. Due to the fact that it is not the easiest to reach the beach is not too crowded, also comparing to other beaches you don’t have to go down a lot of steps after you park your car.
Another huge plus is that due to these two big rocks, which formate a small bay the Atlantic Ocean is much warmer than in other beaches in Algarve region. This beach was around 15 minutes drive from Praia da Marinha, but thanks to this beach placement it wasn’t blooming and was completely clean. Also a lot of cliffs around provide you with a good shade if you got too much sun.
In a way, it is nothing special comparing to other beaches in this area, but, I believe, it has the best ratio of nice surroundings and not being too crowded.
According to TripAdvisor’s reviews Praia da Albandeira is a typical Algarvian beach but with a great feeling about it; difficult to find; not a commercial beach so less people go there. And I believe, that these are the main advantages of this beach.
2. Portinho da Arrabida
Now this is a much bigger beach, more crowded, but has a different setting from rest of the beaches in Portugal – it’s surrounded by color green. While in the most of Portugal’s beaches there lots and lots of beautiful cliffs, Praia da Arrabida, in my opinion, is a perfect mix between the rocks and flora.
Believe it or not, at some point you even get tired of stones everywhere and your eyes start to miss color green. So, if a grumpy person starts to grumble that all the beaches are only rocks and rocks, Portinho da Arrabida should be a perfect place to shut him up.
Also, according to GeekyExplorer, the only place where waters are this clear is in Zlatni Rat beach in Croatia. We, personally, have visited Makarska (Croatia), which is near and we can agree that water here is definitely very clear and probably as clear as you can find in Portugal.
1. Praia da Ursa – the goddess of Portuguese beaches
Praia da Ursa is winner by a mile. It’s very hard to reach this beach, because you have to go through steep, narrow and rocky trails and it’s just a torture to climb back, but it’s worth it every single drop of your sweat.
The first time we got here was by a complete accident, me and my lads were searching where to sleep for the night and it turned out that we slept in the wild. Next morning we were wondering what beach we should visit and we found out that we were already sleeping next to a beach. We started walking and when finally the view of Praia da Ursa opened up we were shocked.
One of my lads, who was, safe to say, not the biggest traveling enthusiast started to scream how is it even possible that such beautiful places exist? Rest of us just could use lots of curse words as they were the only words we could think of to describe what we were seeing.
When we finally got down to the beach we found the most beautiful place that each of us have been to ever in our lives. Beautiful cliffs, clean water and as it was end of spring there was a small mountain creek, which came through rocks from a waterfall.
After swimming in the salty Ocean, we were able to wash it off in clean mountain water.
It was a perfect combination of nature and human touch as well, because in a gorge from which the mountain creek was coming there were a lot of rocks put on rocks.
And the best part of all, that at 9 A. M. in the morning we were the only people there!
Praia da Ursa definitely is one place you really must visit if you are anywhere around in this part of Portugal. Trust me, even the grumpiest person would become happy and would forget all of his worries in this place.
- 125 miles
First of all, Nazare is better known for the biggest waves in the world, which get up to 30 meters (~100 ft), unfortunately they are seen during late autumn and early winter periods. Secondly, it does have a nice beach, beautiful architecture and interesting nature, so if you’re travelling from Porto to Lisbon it’s definitely one of the places worth stopping by.
- 132 miles
- Praia da Marinha
It is one of the most emblematic and beautiful beaches of Portugal, located on the Atlantic coast in Caramujeira, Lagoa Municipality, Algarve, and considered by the Michelin Guide as one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in Europe and as one of the 100 most beautiful beaches in the world. In 1998, it was also awarded with the distinguished “Golden Beach” award by the Portuguese Ministry of the Environment because of its outstanding natural qualities. Furthermore, many pictures of this beach have often been used in promotional material and “Guides of Portugal” distributed around the world.
This beach is not only famous for its beautiful cliffs, but also for the high quality of the water. via wikipedia.