The long stretch of fine golden sands and good bathing water found in Matosinhos is a short distance from the hundreds of seafood restaurants for which Matosinhos is famed for. The ease of access from central Porto, thanks to its metro stop, makes Matosinhos beach very popular with locals. Matosinhos' small container port (Porto de Leixões), forms the northern boundary whereas the Castelo do Queijo, opposite the Sea Life centre, forms the southern edge. The great Atlantic swell here is a draw for surfers and other wave jockeys. The area is home to numerous surf shops that hire boards and wetsuits as well as offer lessons. Various competitive events are held here every year. The promenade which runs along the length of the beach is popular with joggers and cyclists. | 41° 10' 36.3" N | 08° 41' 30.6" W
Only three miles (5km) north of Espinho, Miramar is a small seaside resort famous for its 17th century Capela do Senhora Pedra chapel perched precariously on a wave-beaten headland jutting out from the beach. The town is home to a famous nine-hole golf course and several holiday homes and mansions. There are actually three beaches in Miramar; the Praia do da Pedra, the Praia da Sãozinha and the Praia de Miramar.
The beaches hare are somewhat exposed to Atlantic winds. They're pleasantly un-crowded, frequented mostly by locals. In summer the water is tame and good for bathing, whilst in winter months, the surfers take advantage of the large swell that is washed up.
Miramar has useful facilities such as several cafés on the beach, bars, car parking, a private sports club with tennis courts and the Clube de Golf de Miramar golf course. As with all beaches in this area access to the beach and over the dunes is via wooden walkways, with wheelchair accessibility. This beach is a true gem but shhhh… keep it secret. | 41° 03' 59.97" N | 08° 39' 24.5" W
The beaches that line the Foz district stretch two miles from Praia do Ourigo and Praia dos Ingleses in the south, just off the Avenida Dom Carlos, through the beach which flanks the Avenida do Brasil the Praia da Luz. At the northern end, the Praia Castelo do Queijo surrounds the fort of the same name. The beaches are equally ideal for topping up the tan and dipping your toes. These beaches are hubs of activity during the summer months and especially weekends. Restaurants and cafés line this coastline and ample public transport will get you there. | 41° 09' 07.8" N | 08° 40' 41.9" W.
The beaches at Esposende are amongst the finest on the Costa Verde and are part of the Parque Natural do Literal Norte. People come here to enjoy the long line of excellent beaches, swim in the clear waters, take long invigorating walks along the wooden boardwalks and enjoy the scenery, bird watchers look out for birds such as capped herons, terns, mallards and herring gulls. The dunes' importance in preventing coastal erosion led to this area becoming a protected nature park in July 2005, encouraging the growth of maritime thistle, beachgrass and sea cudweeds, not only anchor the dunes into place but also preserves important wildlife - which in turn attracts visitors. The picturesque windmills which line the dunes have replaced their inner workings for tourist accommodation, however remain quaint features on the landscape. | 41° 30' 22.4" N | 08° 47' 15.6" W
The coastline at Leça da Palmeira has long wide beaches with ideal conditions for sports such as surfing, body boarding and kite surfing, especially at the Northern end on the Praia do Aterro. There's a youthful atmosphere here with plenty of bars and nightclubs. Despite the busy Porto de Leixões seaport to the south and the oil refinery in the north, Leça da Palmeira and its beaches retain a certain amount of charm.
41° 11' 22.6" N | 08° 42' 19.9" W
Espinho has a long stretch of beach running the length of the town, starting in the North at the start of the Passadiço Espinho boardwalk across the dunes and the dividing line between Porto and Aveiro districts. The beaches which run from this point to the pier at the southern end of collectively known as the Praia da Frente Azul and subdivided according to the respective beach bar: Marbelo, Pop, Azul, Seca and Costa Verde. The conditions here are ideal for bathers and sun-bathers alike and are patrolled by coastguards. Beach sports are often played here too, such as volleyball, basketball and football. The surf here is gentle yet steady ideal for body-boarding and windsurfing. It's along this stretch you'll find the Piscina-solário Atlântico an outdoor swimming pool protected by the Atlantic winds by an exterior wall, it includes a children's pool, a bar and a sunbathing area. | 41° 00' 52.2" N | 08° 38' 41.3" W
Vila do Conde's two-mile-long beach stretches from the marina at Póvoa de Varzim at the Northern end to the mouth of the Rio Ave in the South, where the Forte de São João Baptista castle stands guard. The central areas being most favourable for families and bathers whereas surfers prefer to use the extremities where the swell is higher. South of Vila do Conde and the river Ave there's a continuous stretch of sand running through Azurara, Ávore (and its campsite), past the Literal de Vila do Conde coastal nature reserve to the beaches around Vila Chã. These beautiful white sands are wonderfully undeveloped and never crowded. Access is gained over the protected dunes via wooden pathways.
With the Forte de São João Baptista at the southern end of Vila do Conde's the Praia do Forno feels disconnected from the hubbub of town, separated by a line of dunes. During high season the beach is lined with kiosks, changing facilities and beach bars. The beach is in the form of a bay defined by rocky formations at either end that serves as windbreaks.
Further North running parallel to the main town is the popular Blue Flag Praia Azul beach. This long stretch of golden sands has plenty of amenities and is large enough for it feels uncrowded.
41° 20' 31.0"N | 08° 45' 06.5" W
An attractive wide expanse of fine white sand and natural vegetation is easily accessed by road and cycle path. It has a good choice of amenities including bars/cafés located on the beach itself. At one end there is a small rocky outcrop that creates a natural sea break and creating ideal bathing conditions. The waters here are believed to have positive health properties due to its high iodine content. The southern end has enough swell for water sports. The beach has EEC Blue Flag status and there's sunshade and sunbed rental available. Frequented by guests from the near-by campsite (Parque de Campismo de Salgueiros) and locals alike. The car park seems inadequate during busy periods. | 41° 07' 13.1" N | 08° 39' 54.3" W | 906
Located along the length of a sandy bar south of Praia de Barra on the southern mouth of the Ria Aveiro lagoon, its western shore coasts the Atlantic whilst the lagoon estuary washes over the eastern bank. Popular with surfers, sun worshippers and bathers alike, yet the most spectacular feature are the 'palheiros', the famed attractive candy-striped houses.
The beach itself is wide with light coloured fine-grained sand bordered with grassy dunes. The beach can be traversed along wooden boardwalks and floating bridges, the beach on the estuary side carries blue flag status and there are lifeguards for your safety. Considering the beauty of the area, Costa Nova surprisingly is never crowded.
TThe Praia da Esmoriz beach is linked to the Barrinha de Esmoriz lagoon and National Reserve at the northern end. The expanse of sands here at this stretch of the beach is the widest of the resort, with fewer bars, cafés and apartments. Instead, it's where new dunes and coastal habitats are being regenerated. The beach is somewhat exposed to Atlantic winds, and the waters here are best suited to surfers who take advantage of the consistent beach breaks here. Waves reach a height of between one and three metres with no hidden rocks and easy access to the beach.
The central and southern side of the long beach is dominated by sea and old homes, remnants of the old fishing village and the traditional wooden fisherman's houses known as Palheiros. Many of which have been restored and turned into holiday accommodation. This end of the stretch of beach is more suitable for families and sunbathers alike. There's certainly no shortage of eateries and facilities here.
N 40º 57' 36.5" | W 08º 39' 01.0"