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Top 10 Beaches in Northern Portugal

Município de Caminha CC BY-NC-ND

Portugal has more than 900 km of coastline. We invite you to discover the 10 best beaches in Porto and northern Portugal, which will charm those in search of beauty and tranquillity, coupled with the pleasure of relaxing completely and letting your troubles fade away. We suggest you take off your shoes, breathe deeply and enjoy the simple pleasures of the healthy sea air and a long walk along the sand.

We begin with the northernmost beach, the mythical Moledo Beach, and cover 100 km of long sands perfect for a trip by car, motorbike, train and, here and there, by bicycle. Feel the freedom, feel at home.

Moledo Beach

In the municipality of Caminha, in Viana do Castelo, you can find one of the best beaches in the country. It is located on the Minho coast and has three main strengths: the therapeutic qualities of its waters, which are high in iodine; the wind and waves for lovers of water sports, and the unforgettable landscape. This beach is surrounded by the Camarido Forest, and the Ínsua Fort is located opposite, a small (visitable) islet constructed in the Atlantic Ocean which looks like a shipwrecked boat and can be found 200 m from the sandy beach. It’s an ideal destination for those who like to go to the beach to admire the landscape.

This beach is surrounded by the Camarido Forest, and the Ínsua Fort is located opposite, a small (visitable) islet constructed in the Atlantic Ocean which looks like a shipwrecked boat and can be found 200 m from the sandy beach. It’s an ideal destination for those who like to go to the beach to admire the landscape.

Afife Beach

Also located in the Viana do Castelo district and close to Vila Praia de Âncora, you can find the beach of Afife, with beautiful dunes, a walkway offering an opportunity to admire the flora and fauna, and a small coastal lagoon where the River Afife meets the sea. Rocky outcrops provide shelter from the wind, but this beach is also excellent for practising water sports in which the wind is welcome: it has even hosted a number of surfing and bodyboarding competitions.

Cabedelo Beach

This is one of the Blue Flag ocean beaches where you can find numerous schools for various water sports, allowing you to spend a healthy, active day by the sea. It offers a number of support services, almost 500 m of sand, and calm waters, especially near the pontoons where the ocean and the River Lima meet. Take a walk along the dune path – you won’t regret it.

Ofir Beach

Moving on to the municipality of Esposende - Braga, cross the metal bridge over the River Cávado and head to where the river meets the ocean, admiring the richness of the surrounding biodiversity. The wooden walkways lead you easily to Ofir beach, where the blue flag status and friendliness of the local population will ensure you feel comfortable. On the northern edge of the beach, at the mouth of the river, a stretch of sand much loved by swimmers is forming. Enjoy the vast natural landscape around you.

Apúlia Beach

Just 15 minutes from Ofir Beach, you will find the fascinating fishing village of Apúlia. On your way down to the beach, take in the magnificent stone mills, part of the cultural heritage of the village, and pick a spot next to the dunes or on the waterfront. Located in the middle of an area of protected land, whose natural beauty is clear to see, this accessible beach provides the ideal conditions for diving holidays, offering security, blue flag cleanliness and, despite the water temperature hovering around 17°, bright sunshine to warm you up. If you’d like to try diving or sailing, you’re in the perfect place.

Mindelo Beach

Welcome to Vila do Conde and to a 2 km long beach featuring a pleasant wooden walkway, where it’s nice to walk both day and night. Sheltered from the strong northerly winds, this is a great destination for weekend trips and holidays due to its tranquillity and beauty. The Francisco de Sá Carneiro Airport is just 10 km away.

Agudela Beach

With a narrow stretch of sand, it’s easy to reach the sea at this beach in the municipality of Matosinhos. Tread carefully when you go for a dip, as the rocks are almost continuous along the shoreline. They are only completely visible at low tide, when they create small lagoons which are perfect for both children and adults to play in. Besides their pleasant natural beauty and aroma, the rocks also provide shelter while you swim.  

Madalena Beach

You will now reach Vila Nova de Gaia, where the waves wash around the rocks, the narrow Atiães stream runs under the innovative wooden walkway, and it’s possible to do some exercise using the pleasant outdoor gym equipment. The south of Madalena beach is best for swimming, while the northern section is closer to the urban area, making it more cosmopolitan. The rocks which line the shore appear at times to be a natural barrier. Enjoy. 

Senhor da Pedra Beach

You might have found the ideal place to make your dream of a beach wedding come true. A chapel built on rocks, in perfect symbiosis with nature. Doesn’t that sound great? Since 1686, this sandy beach has gained greater strength due to the presence of this religious building, and it attracts swimmers and visitors who feel at ease there. Each year, for three days in June, the beach hosts a pilgrimage in honour of the Senhor da Pedra.

Aguda Beach

Vila Nova de Gaia possesses excellent, unpolluted beaches, and Aguda is one of them. Its dune system, to the north of the beach, belongs to the Aguda Dune Park, where rare plants flourish and birds make their nests. To the south, a pontoon protects the small fishing boats of the village of Arcozelo, and the rocky sea bed provides an excellent opportunity for a trip to the bottom of the sea, where you can appreciate the numerous species that shelter there.  

So, which of these splendid beaches and villages will you head to next? With all the necessary facilities in terms of accessibility and comfort, you now know more about where to stop to appreciate the surrounding landscapes, practise water sports, and discover the cultural heritage of Porto and the north, having a wonderful time and creating great memories along the way.

And because there are many interesting events taking place in gaps between sunbathing and dips in the sea, if you need any suggestions, just get in touch. We’re here to help.

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