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Porto Beaches and Best Beach

Porto is situated close to a glorious coastline of vast sandy beaches with huge Atlantic Ocean waves and traditional resort towns. Much of this wonderful coastline is easily accessible from central Porto and is served by the reliable and inexpensive public transport network. This guide will provide an introduction to the beaches of the Porto region, highlight the best beaches and provide travel information.

Quick Summary

Best beach close to Porto - Praia de Matosinhos (20 min metro)

Best resort town south of Porto - Espinho (45 min train to Aveiro)

Best resort town north of Porto - Vila do Conde (1hour metro)

porto beaches

Many of Portos beaches are still used by fishing boats

General overview of Porto beaches

The coastline to the north of Porto is known as the Green Coast (Costa de Verde) while south of Porto is referred to as the Silver Coast (Costa de Prata) and the mouth of the Douro River is the divide for these two quite distinctive coastlines.

porto silver coast

Espinho beach is one of the regions largest, with a beach that extends for 17km

The beaches of Porto can be grouped into two lots; the beaches near the mouth of the Douro River and the beaches which are slightly further away (10-20km away) but can still be accessed by public transport.

Beaches close to Porto and the Mouth of the Douro

The main sandy beaches close to Porto are the Praia de Matosinhos and the Praia do Ourigo. The Praia da Luz and Praia do Molhe have sandy sections but are interspaced by rocks and are significantly are smaller. There are good beaches on the southern side of the mouth of Douro River, close to the fishing village of Alumiara, but travelling there via public transport is difficult and therefore will not be discussed further.

Praia de Matosinhos

Praia de Matosinhos is a good beach but is near a large commercial harbour

Luz, Molhe and Ourigo beaches border the Foz district of Porto while Matosinhos is on the western edge of the Parque da Cidade. The advantage these beaches is that they are very close to Porto and have good public transport (Matosinhos - metro, Luz/Molhe/Ourigo - bus) with journeys of less than 20 minutes from central Porto. The beaches further from Porto tend to be more scenic and have more charming resort towns but require much longer journeys to reach them.

Molhe beach

Molhe beach is a pleasant place for a walk

Beaches Slightly further from Porto

The coastline to south of Porto is one continuous sandy beach that extends for over 17km and incorporates the towns of Miramar, Granja, Francelos and Espinho. This coastline is characteristic of the Silver Coast with vast sandy beaches that are pounded by huge Atlantic waves making them ideal for surfing. Espinho is the best resort town of the northern edge of the Silver Coast and is served by the Porto-Aveiro railway, which also follows much of this coastline.

Espinho beach

The beach front at Espinho

To the north of Porto are the l resort towns of Vila do Conde and Povoa de Varzim. Vila do Conde is a charming town that has retained its historic centre and is on a 6km stretch of sand, while Povoa de Varzim is a much more modern town with an equally good beach. Both of these beach towns are served by the Porto metro but the journey times are around 1 hour.

Vila do Conde beach portugal

The small Praia da Senhora da Guia beach close to Vila do Conde

Further Information for Porto Beaches

It often surprises visitors new to Porto that there are such great beaches close to the city. It is unfortunate that the beaches surrounding Porto are not widely publicised as a holiday destination as this could create vital jobs and desperately needed tourism revenue for the local region. This does mean that in the summer, when the beaches are at their most busy they will be filled with Portuguese tourists but virtually no foreign visitors.

Average weather conditions for Porto

Average weather conditions for Porto

Weather which is suitable for spending time on the beach is from the middle of May until the end of September. The beaches of Porto are at their busiest during the short Portuguese summer holidays (July-August) and tend to be busier closer to Porto. Surfing waves tend to be at their best during atumn and the silver coast is renowned for its surfing, especially around Peniche and Nazare. The sea waters are always cold, even in the summer, as there are fed by the Atlantic Ocean. If spending extended periods in the water a wetsuit becomes essential.

Also, as a general tip sun block and sun tan lotions are very expensive in Portugal and it is advisable to bring them from your home country. The following section will detail the best beach of each region in more depth.

Praia de Matosinhos

The Praia de Matosinhos is a large and popular beach close to central Porto and is on the edge of the Parque da Cidade. The beach provides a wide sandy beach and has a very low-key town that is filled with apartments and Portuguese cafes. The only downside is that the beach is very close to a major fishing port and docks, and while the waters are clean there are much more scenic beaches.

 Matosinhos beach

Matosinhos beach is lined with appartments not hotels

Praia de Matosinhos is ideal for a half day bask under the summer sun and thus can get very busy as it is the closest beach to Porto. The town of Matosinhos is traditionally Portuguese and every morning there is a lively fish market and is filled with great value restaurants that specialise in freshly caught fish dishes.

Praia de Espinho

Espinho is the focal point for the stunning 17km long beach and is a pleasant mixture of traditional Portuguese life and modern tourist facilities. The largest casino in northern Portugal overlooks a beach where colourful fishing boats are still pulled up onto the sands.

Fishing nets Praia de Espinho

Fishing nets are routine dried and stored on the beaches

Espinho is popular with Portuguese tourist either on holiday or day tripping from Porto but the vast size of the beach means that there is always space to be found. Espinho is connected to Porto by the regular and inexpensive urban railway that departs from Sao Bento train station.

Espinho town

The pretty town centre of Espinho

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2 days is the ideal length
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Porto is a great alternative holiday destination, see why!

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2 days is the ideal length
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