With a temperate climate all year round, Portugal is a popular destination and just a short hop from the UK. Thankfully, travelling is no longer a soul-destroying, fatigue inducing nightmare it once was – especially with direct flights to Portugal being so frequent and cheap. In fact, Portugal has become one of the most popular holiday destinations for some time now. And for that reason, we’re going to take a look at five of the most popular, but super secret, hidden beaches on the Iberian Peninusla.
#1 Praia do Barrill, Ilha da Tavira
Let’s start on the south coast of the country with the sun-drenched beaches of this barrier island. Only 40 minutes’ drive from Faro, it can be busy close to the restaurants but wander some 10 kms over the saltmarshes and you will be rewarded with stunning white sandy beaches that make whiling away hours in the sun so much easier.
#2 Praia da Santa, Salema
Further up the Portuguese coast on the Algarve are the stunning beaches of Praia de Santa. Fantastic for those that like coves and windswept cliff tops, you can follow the tracks left by dinosaurs from millennia past, you can explore the history of the area to your heart’s content. Some beaches in the area can be wild and rugged, but Praia da Salema has cafes and restaurants, as well as a lifeguard for the summer season.
#3 Praia da Adraga, Sintra-Cascaise natural park
Half an hour north of Lisbon, hiding ancient castles in its forests and dramatic cliffs and sea coves are the beaches of this stunning national park. On hot days, shelter in the shade of the rock shaped like an elephant trunk and explore small caves at low tides. Popular with surfers, this beach can be busier and with fantastic seafood restaurants close by, you will see why. But, the vast expanse of sandy beaches means it worth the effort. You could hike the 5km to Cabo da Roca too, and say you have stood on the most westerly tip of mainland Europe.
#4 Dunas de Sao Jacinto, Aveiro
Hidden away in the northerly reaches of Portugal, you might need to bring your phone with you just so you can fall back on Google Maps! Aveiro is a rural area on one side, with the sea on the other. As a result, is full of all kinds of wildlife and birdlife. It is a protected nature reserve meaning that it is, in the main, unspoilt. It has 8km of clear, white sandy beaches untouched by popular tourism. A wild beach, fringed by pine trees, there are boardwalks for walking the sandy beaches easier but there is no café and no lifeguard – which gives you a nice place to escape. Read a book, play some games, or check out a few bingo sites with high payouts if you’re missing your creature comforts – see, we told you bringing your phone would be a good idea. Perfect for spotting sandpipers, gannets and ospreys, and if you like seclusion.
#5 Praia Forte do Paco, Viana do Castelo
An hour north of Porto, the wooded hills of Viana do Castelo give way to a coastline pitted with coves, dunes and secret beaches that are just waiting to be discovered. Of them all, the 800-metre beach of Praia Forte do Paco is surely one of the best. Taking its name from the 18th-century fort nearby, it is fairly quiet, even in the main tourist summer season. But it too is untouched so bring a picnic for your day at the beach as there are no cafes in the immediate area.