The beach is probably one of the first things that comes to mind when you hear the word “Portugal”. It is also likely to be one of the last when you hear the word “Alentejo”. For most, the place to go for a swim in Portugal is the Algarve, and for good reason since its beautiful beaches have attracted visitors for decades.
But if you’re going on a summer vacation, the last thing you want is to face crowds when you’re trying to relax, and that’s when the Alentejo comes into play.
Being the largest region in the country, the Alentejo stretches from the border with Spain to the Atlantic Ocean and boasts a number of incredible sunbathing spots, often much less crowded, more unique, and cheaper than those in the Algarve. And you don’t even need to be on the coast to enjoy a cool dip in the Alentejo!
1. São Torpes Beach
This beach has the particularity of having the warmest water in the whole area due to its proximity to the thermal power station’s cooling system. It is also the first beach from Sines with the least polluted water.
For surfers, this can be a perfect spot, with several options, next to the jetty and in the middle of the beach with slightly bigger waves. The bottom is sandy, so there are no dangers of rocks.
2. Samoqueira Beach
It is considered by visitors to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world (due to the divine scenery that surrounds and caresses us). Intimate, it meanders between the cliffs, offering emerald waters in a paradisiacal setting.
Caves, islets, natural pools, and a freshwater waterfall complete a mystical setting that enchants and captivates. No words can describe it, no photo can dignify it – given the magnitude of the view and the sense of a day spent there.
3. Pessegueiro Island Beach
This never-ending beach is not located on Pessegueiro Island, but it’s directly in front of it. Legend has it that there is even an underground (and underwater) tunnel connecting the island to the mainland, although no evidence has ever been found.
This beach is perfect for crowded days since it’s a bit further from the village of Porto Covo. Here, you can have an ocean bath with the smell of the countryside. The road to get there from the village is also one of the most scenic in Southern Portugal.
4. Malhão Beach
Quiet and wild, you can find it between Porto Covo and Vila Nova de Milfontes. It has areas with and without rocks and allows you to walk almost to Pessegueiro Island. The swell of the water is ideal for surfing.
Given its length, it caters to all tastes: you can spread out your towel next to other bathers or in a more secluded area. White sands complete this idyllic setting in the heart of the Alentejo coastline.
5. Furnas Beach
Located near Vila Nova de Milfontes, on the left bank of the Mira River, this is a river beach with a strong maritime influence. At low tide, the beach extends beyond the mouth of the River Mira, forming small coves in the sand between the rocks.
Water sports enthusiasts can windsurf, sail, or canoe along the river, where the waters are much calmer.
6. Almograve Beach
The Almograve Beach, also known as Praia Grande, has a very long and wide stretch of sand. It is located near the village of Almograve. The waters are a bit choppy, the result of the rocks breaking off along the entire bathing area. The top of the cliff is topped by large dunes.
To the north, the beach is bordered by a cliff protrusion called Ponta dos Azulejos and to the south by a similar one called Ponta da Ilha. In the center is the iconic Rocha Furada. From this rock to the south, the beach is known as Meia Praia.
7. Zambujeira do Mar Beach
This beach is surrounded by high cliffs, from where you can see a stunning panorama of the ocean. It is bathed by a sea with a strong swell, which gives it good conditions for sports such as surfing and bodyboarding. This beach is very popular during the summer, especially during the Sudoeste Festival.
To get a breathtaking panoramic view of the beach climb up to the viewpoint at the top of the northern cliff – the best place to photograph the sunset, where there is also the Chapel of Our Lady of the Sea, which dates back to the 1960s.
8. Amália Beach
The Amália Beach owes its name to the fact that it was the retreat of Portugal’s greatest fado singer. Amália Rodrigues had a house at the top of the cliff which she used to visit to replenish her energy.
The beach is wild and very beautiful. To find it, you walk along a path lined with a stream and tunnels formed by the vegetation. The view from the top of the cliff is breathtaking. A steep staircase and some ropes give you access to the beach.
9. Monsaraz River Beach
This recently-built beach has to have one of the most beautiful backdrops in Portugal, with the dazzling village of Monsaraz on top of its hill. It was only made possible by the Alqueva Dam, which gave the whole region a lot of new possibilities for leisure and tourism.
The Monsaraz River Beach has excellent infrastructures that provide visitors with all the support they could need: grassy and sandy areas, a picnic area and a children’s playground, a floating pool with a bathing area for children and adults, and the possibility of practicing various water sports.
10. Amieira River Beach
In front of a breathtaking landscape, it offers 600m of sand, making it the largest beach in the Alqueva Dam region. But that’s not all! It also has a grassy area where you can relax and enjoy the shade provided by the parasols. For the little ones, crystal-clear, shallow waters are the perfect option.
This little paradise offers excellent support infrastructures and access conditions. It already has three large parking lots, another for motorhomes, and a picnic area. You should also be aware that there is a first aid station at your disposal should you need it.
Over and Out
The Alentejo is quickly becoming Portugal’s most famous not-so-secret hidden gem and the endless possibilities it offers to those who visit it is its greatest weapon. Who knew you could sunbathe and take a refreshing dive in Portugal’s hottest region?
Well, now that you do, make sure to explore as many beaches as you can. A lot of them are not easy to reach, making them nearly untouched by outsiders. So make sure to bring a map. And sunscreen. Lots and lots of sunscreen!