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 that 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. Although the beaches are ideal for topping up the tan, they're not the best place for bathing due to the strong waves, currents, rocky outcrops and water quality. The beaches become hubs of activity during summer holidays and weekends.
Praia do Ourigo
If you arrive by the old tram from central Porto, this would be the first beach you'll come across along this stretch of coastline after the confluence of the River and Ocean. On the southern end is the Felgueiras Lighthouse and its jetty. The other side of the road is the 16th-century fort, the Fortaleza de São João da Foz. There is a restaurant on the beach, the Restaurante Praia do Ourigo, which best accolade is the view. The beach itself is small, also known as the Praia do Carneiro to the south. The sand here is deep, it can be breezy yet the surf is generally tame 41° 08' 59.5" N | 08° 40' 35.4" W | 202, 500
This 16th century fortress was built to defend the mouth of the river Douro, the city of Porto and it's citizens. It has undergone several upgrades during it's history yet remains a prime example of military architecture found on Portugal's coastline. Although it continues to be used by the Delegação Regional do Instituto de Defesa Nacional (Regional Office of the National Defense Institute) and is open to the public. | FREE
Weekdays: 09h00 – 12h00/14h00 - 17h00
Rua São João da Foz, 4150-196 Porto, Portugal. | 41° 08' 54.6" N | 08° 40' 03.5" W
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Further up the coast from Praia do Ourigo, the Praia dos Ingleses is a longer stretch of sand that is ideal for sunbathing however rocks exposed at low tide might make swimming a little hazardous despite its Blue Flag certification. There are restaurants and bars on the beach with outdoor terraces and make a pleasant place for lunch or a drink. There's an underpass under the main road which allows access to public conveniences, parking, cafés, supermarkets and shops.
41° 09' 07.8" N | 08° 40' 41.9" W | 1M, 200, 203, 204, 500
North of Praia dos Ingleses an esplanade runs north. It traverses over rocks, sandy coves and small rugged beaches; such as the Praia do Luz and Praia de Gondarém passing the Jardim dos Ingleses park along the way. passing the Jardim dos Ingleses park along the way.
Praia dos Ingleses
Probably the most romantic location in Porto stretching between the Praia da Luz beach and the gardens of Montevideo Avenue, the Pergola da Foz is said to have been inspired by the Promenade des Anglais in the French town of Nice. Designed by António Enes Baganha in the 1930s and costs about 53,000 Escudos as part of a broader redevelopment scheme designed to improve the area. Popular with couples who take full advantage of the spectacular sunsets and the cafés and bars which line the Avenida do Brasil. Due to the corrosive nature of the sea air, the pergola undergoes periodic renovation, the most recent occurred in 2008.
The Praia do Molhe got its name from the pier on its northern edge that tames the swell. It runs parallel to the Pergola da Foz and its surrounding gardens. The beach is a mixture of coarse sand with less rocky features than the Praia dos Ingleses. Here too you'll find a selection of beachfront eateries. During the 1930's Praia do Molhe was a popular resort for locals when its balustrade, park and pergola was made.
41° 09' 29.1" N | 08° 41' 00.0" W | 1M, 500
This beach acquired its name from the bronze statue that stands between the beach and the main road. The Estátua O Homem do Leme pays homage to fishermen in the guise of a helmsman fighting for control of a ship's wheel. It was sculpted by Américo Gomes for the Portuguese Colonial Exhibition in 1934. The park that surrounds the statue separates the beach from the road and adds a little tranquillity to the beach. There are playgrounds here which make this beach ideal for young families. Praia do Homem do Leme was the first beach in Porto to acquire a Blue Flag status. There's a couple of café/bars here to keep the adults happy.
41° 09' 38.2" N | 08° 40' 07.7" W | 1M, 500
Praia do Homem do Leme
Forte de São Francisco Xavier or Castelo do Queijo
This 17th-century fortress at the northern end of the Foz district acquired its colloquial name from the round piece bedrock on which it stands, which is reputed to resemble a wheel of cheese. Dedicated to the 16th-century Spanish Saint and evangelist, the fortress was completed in 1661 and was constructed to protect the area from raiding pirates from North Africa.
Its commanding position still looks over a 140-metre long beach famed for its sunsets. Now restored, it houses a small military museum commemorating the Portuguese troops who saw action in Angola and Mozambique. 1M, 500
High Season: Tuesday - Sunday: 13h00-18h00, Low Season: Tuesday - Sunday: 13h00-17h00, Monday: CLOSED
Praça de Gonçalves Zarco, Porto, Portugal. | 41° 10' 8.4" N | 08° 41' 24" W
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The stretch of sand beyond the Forte de São Francisco Xavier is the Praia Internacional and is part of the Edifício Transparente (transparent building) shopping and leisure complex. This large concert edifice looks somewhat like an airport terminal. It has a wall facing the ocean made of glass panels.