A small, white hexagonal chapel sits on a rocky outcrop at the edge of the ocean. Golden sand in the foreground, and a bright blue sky.

Porto Portugal Beaches

I’m a traveller who loves coastal escapes, and on my recent trip to Porto I found some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. Porto Portugal beaches lie north and south of the mouth of the Douro River – along the Atlantic coast. Pretty Porto sits 5 kilometres (3 miles) up the Douro River, making the beaches within easy reach of the city centre. While Porto is bustling and filled with rich history and culture, the nearby beaches offer relaxation and tranquillity. I loved exploring Porto’s beaches, so join me on a journey to some of Porto’s best beaches – perfect for every type of beach-goer!

A landscape scene of a wide sandy beach filled with sunbathers. There are cranes in the background.
Praia de Matosinhos beach, Porto.

Praia de Matosinhos (Matosinhos Beach): the Heart of Porto’s Seaside

My first stop was Praia de Matosinhos, or Matosinhos Beach, an absolute favourite among locals and tourists alike. It’s a huge, golden, sandy beach just a short bus or metro ride from the centre of Porto. It’s quick and easy proximity to Porto means it’s very do-able as a part-day activity.

Matosinhos Beach has has relatively calm waters so it’s a good option for families with younger children. It’s also patrolled by lifeguards in summer which helps ensure a safe environment for swimmers and surfers alike.

There are lots of things to do in and around the beach at Matosinhos. Firstly, the food! The promenade behind the beach is lined with seafood restaurants to suit any budget, and the aroma of grilled fish fills the air. The Portuguese specialty of bacalhau – salted cod – is particularly good here where you can dine while watching the sunset over the Atlantic.

Secondly, the Matosinhos market (or mercado municipal de Matosinhos) – a giant fresh food market – is a great option for exploring. Why not visit the market (where the 500 bus terminates) to grab some picnic supplies before heading to the beach? Vendors sell seafood, fruit, vegetables, cheese, bread, olives, and coffee.

Thirdly, there are various parks and children’s play areas around Praia de Matosinhos, including just across the road from the northern end of the beach. Plenty of opportunities for fun for everyone!

A wide, sandy beach with very few people and an orange surfboard lying on the sand in the foreground.
Praia de Matosinhos Beach, Porto, Portugal.
A giant red seafood catching net suspended by cables and flowing in the breeze above a grassy field.
‘She Changes’ art installation at Matosinhos Beach, Porto.

Praia de Matosinhos Beach Tips

Transport: The 500 bus (a lovely big double-decker bus!) runs regularly from Av. Dom Afonso Henriques. You can use a credit card to pay your fare (around €3) by tapping.
Market: The metro passes (and the 500 bus terminates at) the Matosinhos Market. It’s where locals go to buy fabulously fresh fruit, vegetables, and seafood. It’s a great place to pick up supplies for a beachy picnic!
Art: There’s a lovely art installation called ‘She Changes’ just behind the beach – at Rotunda da Anémona. The piece is a reminder of the area’s fishing and industrial heritage.

Praia da Luz: a Serene Escape

A few kilometres south of Matosinhos, I discovered Praia da Luz. Tucked away from the bustling city life, this beach is a serene haven where the crashing waves provide a constant, soothing background score. The beach is smaller and offers a more intimate setting, perfect for those looking to escape the crowds.

Adjacent to the beach is a charming boardwalk featuring chic cafes and bars, ideal for a leisurely brunch or a relaxing evening cocktail. The lush, green cliffs surrounding the beach create a picturesque backdrop, making Praia da Luz a photographer’s dream.

Praia Do Molhe: Engage with Nature

Not far from Praia da Luz is Praia do Molhe, known for its distinctive wooden pier that stretches into the ocean. This spot is popular among surfers and water sports enthusiasts, offering excellent conditions for an adrenaline-packed day. The waves here are more robust, making it an exciting challenge for seasoned surfers.

For those who prefer to stay on land, the beachside esplanade offers perfect conditions for jogging or a casual stroll. Along the way, there are several spots to just sit and watch the world go by, making it a lovely place to unwind after a day of adventure.

Foz Do Douro: Where elegance Meets The Ocean

Continuing my exploration, I headed to Foz do Douro, an upscale district where the Douro River meets the Atlantic Ocean. The beaches here, like Praia dos Ingleses, are smaller but exquisitely beautiful. The area is known for its historic charm and the elegant 19th-century mansions overlooking the sea.

Foz do Douro is perfect for those who enjoy a bit of history with their beach visit. The nearby São João Baptista fort, with its ancient walls and strategic location, offers a glimpse into Porto’s maritime defences. The district’s sophisticated atmosphere is complemented by its fine dining restaurants and stylish bars, providing plenty of options for a luxurious seaside experience.

On the left in the foreground is an old pale stone fort with little lookout tower. In the background is a white sandy beach and ocean, with apartment blocks overlooking the beach.
São João Baptista fort at Praia Foz do Douro, Porto, Portugal.

South of Porto Beaches

Miramar: A Beach and Its Iconic Chapel

Approximately 10 kilometres (6 miles) south of Porto is Praia de Miramar, home of the little chapel that sits in the waves. The Capela do Senhor da Pedra is perched on a rock right on the sand. This striking scene not only provides a mystical atmosphere but also makes Miramar a popular spot for photographers and sightseers. The beach itself stretches wide and sandy, offering plenty of room for sunbathers and families. A wooden boardwalk runs along the beach, lined with cafes where you can enjoy a light meal or a refreshing drink with an ocean view. For children, there are playground areas set on the sand, making it a perfect family outing spot.

A small, white hexagonal chapel sits on a rocky outcrop at the edge of the ocean. Golden sand in the foreground, and a bright blue sky.
Capela do Senhor da Pedra (Lord of the Rock Chapel) at Miramar Beach, just south of Porto.

Dunas de Aguda and Marbelo: Natural Escapes

Continuing south, you’ll come across the beautiful Dunas de Aguda. This stretch of coastline is known for its sand dune landscapes and the Aguda Fishing Village, which includes an aquarium and a maritime museum — a hit with kids and adults alike.

Nearby, Praia de Marbelo also offers a more secluded beach experience with fewer crowds. Both beaches are ideal for long, peaceful walks along the well-maintained boardwalk. And both are and are backed by local cafes and small eateries that capture the essence of Portuguese beachside dining.

Pedras Amarelas: Sun, Sea, and Play

Pedras Amarelas – or ‘yellow stones’ – beach is known for its pristine, inviting sand and family-friendly facilities, including several children’s play areas. As such, it’s a fantastic place to enjoy a leisurely day for all the family. There are beach bars with sun loungers for parents to enjoy, while keeping an eye on their little ones.

A pedestrian boardwalk running behind an expansive golden sand beach.
Porto Portugal beaches (just south of Porto).
Portrait view of the seaside - sand, some rocks in the ocean, and the white water of crashed waves.
Porto Portugal beaches – the tranquil south.

How to get to Porto (Portugal) Beaches

Reaching these beautiful beaches is a breeze, whether you opt for the metro, bus, Uber, taxi or rented car.

How to get from Porto to Praia de Matosinhos Beach

Metro: You can take Metro Line A (the blue line) from Porto to Praia de Matosinhos Beach. You will need a Porto Card or an Andante Tour Card (available from the ticket machines inside the station). The metro from Porto to Praia de Matosinhos Beach takes around 25 minutes.

Bus: The bus route 500 is a double-decker bus that leaves from Av. Dom Afonso Henriques (just down the road from Porto Cathedral) regularly (about every 20 minutes). You can use a credit card to tap onto the bus. The bus from Porto to Matosinhos Beach takes around 20 minutes.

Taxi, Uber, Car: The drive to Matosinhos Beach from Porto is quick and easy, taking around 10 minutes. If you have rented a car, there is plenty of parking around the beach. Just be aware that some parking requires a paid parking ticket.

How to get from Porto to Foz Do Douro

Bus: The bus route 200 takes you from Porto to Foz and is quick, easy, and relatively cheap (around €2 one way).

Tram: The iconic Porto trams – Number 1 and Number 18 – go to Foz. Tram Number 1 departs from riverfront Ribeira, and Tram 18 departs from Clerigos Tower. Both tram rides offer beautiful, scenic views along the way. The journey takes about 20 minutes. Please just remember that both routes get VERY busy in peak seasons!

Taxi, Uber, Car: It’s only about 10 minutes in a car, taxi, or Uber from Porto to Foz do Douro. If you’re paying for a taxi or Uber, it should be relatively cheap, and if you’re going in the car, there is parking nearby.

Walk, Cycle: The route from Porto to Foz do Douro is really straightforward – just follow the Douro River – so you can walk or rent a bicycle. The walk takes about an hour but is very pleasant along the riverside. You will pass under the Arrábida Bridge. By bicycle, the journey is around 15 minutes, depending on your speed, of course.

Two trams - one green and one yellow-orange - sitting next to one another under an azure blue sky.
Tram Number 1 and Tram Number 18 from Porto to Foz do Douro beach, Porto.

How to get from Porto to the Southern Beaches

By far and away, the easiest way to get to the gorgeous beaches just to the south of Porto is by car – Uber or taxi. Depending on which beach you choose to visit, the fare should cost between €10-€18. Well worth it, in my opinion – especially if there are a people travelling.

Tips for Visiting Porto Portugal Beaches

Getting there: Most beaches around Porto are accessible via the city’s efficient public transport system. Buses and the metro take you close to the beaches, and detailed routes are available on the Porto transportation website.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit Porto’s beaches is during the late spring, summer, and early autumn.
Safety: Many of the popular beaches, like Matosinhos, are patrolled by lifeguards during the summer months. Always heed local advice and swim in designated areas. And always wear sunscreen!
Local eats: Definitely try the local seafood delicacies at one of the many beachfront restaurants. Bacalhau (salted cod) dishes, octopus, and fresh shellfish are must-tries.

Summary Of Porto’s Beaches

Porto (Portugal) beaches are a captivating blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and vibrant seaside life. Each beach has its unique charm and offers a different experience, from tranquil hideaways to lively surf spots. Whether you’re a beachcomber, a surfer, or simply someone looking to soak up the sun and culture, Porto’s beaches provide an idyllic backdrop. Don’t miss the chance to explore these stunning coastal gems on your next trip to Porto!

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