Friday, November 3, 2023

Where to See the Prettiest Beaches in Portugal

Nazare, Praia Nazare, Center of Portugal, Nazare Beach
This post is in partnership with the Center of Portugal Tourism Board.  We were hosted on a Press Tour in exchange for content and honest reviews. 

Welcome back to our series on the Central Region of Portugal! Today we are featuring 3 of the prettiest  beaches in the Center of Portugal, to add on your bucketlist. 

Nazare , Nazare Portugal, Center of Portugal
Image: sourced  by Center of Portugal Tourism Board

Looking for the the prettiest beaches to visit in Portugal? Look no further- Nazare is #1 ! ( in my opinion anyway) This stunning aqua colored beach has recorded some of the highest waves in the world. It's a scenic sufer's paradise!

This small beach town was once a traditional fishing village. Now it's a "go to" seaside summer resort. The town is also for those fascinated by its "world-famous" gargantuan waves.

The waves are generated by storms on the Atlantic Ocean. They are amplified by Nazare Canyon, a deep underwater trench. The highest waves at Nazare have been measured at a whoppin 100 FEET- WOW!  We were mezmerized by the beauty of Nazare and were so fortunate to visit this stunning beach!

Nazare Beach, Nazare Waves, Nazare Portugal, Center of Portugal;
Image: Sourced by Center of Portugal Tourism Board

Can you swim at Nazare?

Nazare is not the best place to swim. As mentioned before, the waves get quite high and you could get swept away. A better option is to dip your feet and enjoy the surrounding beauty.

Here the waves are big all year around.  If you want to see the the biggest ones, plan your visit between November and February.

How to get to Nazare

Nazare is located about 120 km from Lisbon, on the stunning Silver Coast of Portugal.  It is best to rent a car at the Lisbon airport, and drive north towards the Center of Portugal. It will take 1.5 hours to arrive at this beach. " A lil slice of heaven" you won't soon forget!

Tip: Many of the highways in Portugal charge tolls, so do your research online and be prepared.

Another option is to hop on a bus in Lisbon. They run every few hours. The price of public transit in Portugal is very cheap. If you are on a tight budget, this may be a better choice than renting a car.

Nazare can be done as a day trip, on a guided tour or a stop-over for a few days. I would take advantage of booking a hotel and staying 2-3 nights. I wish we couldv'e stayed for the night.

MapleLeopard in Portugal, Maple Leopard Travels,  Nazare Portugal,  Center of Portugal Press Tour

Best Things to do In Nazare

  • Visit the Surf Museum
  • Take a Jeep Safari on the Beach
  • Big Waves Northern Canyon Experience( Jet-Ski)
  • Rent an E-bike

Foz do Arelho

Foz do Arelho Beach, Foz do Arelho Portugal, Center of Portugal

Another Silver Coast wonder and hidden gem to see in Portugal: Foz do Arelho! This was the first beach in The Center of Portugal we vistited. Oh my heart; I gasped at the beauty of this place!  Foz do Arelho is less touristy and has a tranquil astmophere for chillin by the sea!

This is a family friendly beach, and excellent for a day trip or overnight stay. When arriving at Foz do Arelho, you will be surprised by the meeting of the Obidos Lagoon and the Atalntic Ocean.  The scenic beauty of the Silver Coast is unmatchable!

Wooden Paths Foz do Arelho, Foz do Arelho Portugal, Foz Do Arelho Beach

The white washed houses, cobble stone streets and wooden beach walkways , make this one of the best beach towns to visit.  Of course the summer months are crowded with locals and tourists alike.  

Foz do Arelho Portugal, Foz do Arelho Beach Views, Center of Portugal

Can you swim at Foz do Arelho?

If swimming is in your plans, the lagoon is the perfect spot to swim.  In August the water is the best temps for swimming at 72 degrees.  The ocean is a less desirable for swimming, as the currents are very strong here too. 

 Children are safe at the lagoon, from  turblent waters of the Atlantic nearby.  Uniquely beautiful, it's the ideal place for boat/canoe rides, fishing and practicing water sports.

How to get to Foz do Arelho

Foz do Arelho, Portugal Beach, Foz do Arelho Beach, Center of Portugal Press Tour

There are many ways to get to this beach, but the best way is to drive yourself.  Rent a car in Lisbon and drive an hour . You can also take the train, bus or get a taxi. 

Maple Leopard Travels, MapleLeopard in Portugal, Foz do Arelho , Portugal Beach, Foz do Arelho Beach

Best Things to do in Foz do Arelho

  • Sailing School
  • Take Windsurfing Lessons
  • Paddle Boarding
  • Bird Watching
  • Surfing 
  • Kite Boarding
  • Sunbathing 
  • Visit the castle of Obidos (8 miles)
  • Wander the Wooden Walkways ( 800 m of scenic views)
Foz do Arelho, Portugal Beaches, Center of Portugal, Prettiest Beaches in Portugal
Image: sourced by Center of Portugal Tourism Board

Sao Martinho do Porto

Sao Martinho do Porto, San Martinho do Porto Beach, Center of Portugal

A the beginning of the 20th century, Sao Martinho do Porto was the glamorous resort of Portuguese aristocrats. Back then, the manor houses were strategically located on the main avenue. There are also very appealing 19th and 20th century buildings that stand out on this the glamorous, cosmopolitan beach resort .

This seashell shaped bay has a geographical configuration that makes this beach a perfect family destination.  The beach here offers warm and calm waters; an ideal location for kids to swim safely.  As in Foz do Arelho, there are wooden walkways here too:  connecting to another beach nearby- Salir do Porto.

Sao Martinho do Porto Sunset, Portugal Beach, Portugal Sunset, Center of Portugal Beaches
                                                 Image Credit: Ivo @ Silver Coast Travelling

The town sits on the northern side of a wide sandy bay separated from Atlantic, by a towering rocky headland.  The powerful sea carved a narrow gap through the headland and opened up the bay behind it.

Picturesque doesn't even begin to describe this lil haven by the sea! Sao Martinho has all the vibes of the Algarve in southern Portugal.  The town here is super cute too, we loved it!  

 Be sure to eat dinner by the beach. The sun setting on the bay offers a stupendous view! The restaurant we recommend for such an experience is Pesco no Prato . The seafood excellent and the oceanside scene is bar none!

Pesca no Prato Restaurant, Center of Portugal Beaches, Sao martinho do Porto, Sao Martinho do Porto Beach, Portugal Beahches

How to get to Sao Martinho do Porto

San Martinho do Porto is about an hours drive, north of Lisbon. Again renting a car at the Lisbon airport is your best bet. If you'd rather ride the bus or train, again this is an option to get to this beach as as well.

To get the train, take a taxi or bus to the Entrecampos station. Lastly if you want to ride in style to the beach, towncars are available to chauffer travelers to the beach.

sao martinho do porto portugal, portugal beaches, sao martinho do porto beach, center of Portugal
                                                     Image Credit: Ivo @ Silver Coast Travelling

Best Things to do in Sao Martinho do Porto

  • Tour the monastery in nearby Alcobaca
  • Eat dinner at Pesco no Prato Restaurant
  • Explore the beach and sand dunes
Atlantic Ocean Portugal, Portugal Beach, Sao Martinho do Porto

** The main attraction in Sao Martinho do Porto is the beach. After you've explored the cliffs and sand dunes, there isn't much more to do.  Check out tours in the nearby cities of Tomar, Alcobaca and Nazare.

I hope you've enjoyed our guide on Where to See the Prettiest Beaches in Portugal; and our series on the Center of Portugal.  We hope to return in spring or summer of 2024. We are quite obsessed with this amazing country! Stay tuned. 

In the mean time, visit the Center of Portugal website to help plan your  trip.

Travel Safe!


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Center of Portugal Beaches, Portugal Beaches, Nazare, Foz do Arelho, Sao Martinho do Porto

Portugal Beaches, Best Beaches in Portugal, Center of Portugal

Would you like to comment?

  1. Going to Portugal would be a dream! All three of these beaches are so stunning. I think I'd love to visit Foz Do Arelho, it looks straight out of a magazine and just so beautiful. Also, I love that there's so many things to do!!

    Wishing you a wonderful rest of your week!! :)

    Make Life Marvelous

  2. Oh wow, amazing, never been to Portugal, so this armchair visit is superb, as I may never get there.
    I visited you via Little Things Thursday!
    I linked up this week with = 30+31. Hope you will join us M-S SeniorSalonPitStop and W-S #WordlessWednesday. You will find both under BLOGGING.

  3. So glad to stumble onto your blog, as we're going to Portugal end of the month. I need to read some more and decide where to go in Porto and Lisbon. It'll be our first time visiting, and not sure if we should go to a beach.

  4. Love, love, love portugal - thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo

  5. The beaches look so beautiful! You got great photos and I can see why these are considered the prettiest - it's nice you got to visit so many great beaches :)

    Thank you for joining the Weekday Wear Link Up :)

  6. Beautiful photos! Now, I really want to go back to Portugal. These all look like wonderful beaches.
    Julia x