Portugal is known as a beach destination for most tourists. But that does not mean that, in order to sunbathe, you have to limit yourself to the coast of the country. With an extensive inland territory, its alternative to the sea is the hundreds of river beaches created for those who seek to cool off in lesser-known but equally beautiful areas of Portugal.
From north to south of the country, you can find man-made beaches that will amaze you with their aquatic spaces in the midst of nature.
Rent your car in Faro, Porto, or Lisbon and immerse yourself in the rivers of Portugal.
1. Agroal, Ourém
If you are traveling with friends, this beach is perfect to relax and unwind. The Agroal beach receives the largest source of the Nabão River, and is considered a unique place in Portugal, for the therapeutic properties of its cold waters, used in the treatment of gastrointestinal and skin, amongst others. Located 155 kilometers from Lisbon, this place has an admirable landscape and ecological environment, and is a preferred destination for both tourists and locals. Enjoy the swimming pool, the solarium, the outdoor amphitheater, the leisure area, the theme café, and the spas.
2. Loriga, Seia
This river beach of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park is 179 kilometers from Porto. It is undoubtedly one of the best in Portugal, as it is the only one in the country set in a glacier. The landscape is extraordinary, with an uneven landform and a pond of pure, crystal-clear waters. If you are looking for a quiet environment surrounded by nature this is the perfect spot, with plenty of sanitary facilities, spas, bars, picnic areas and children playgrounds. It is a beach where you can take the whole family and experience a different and more summery side of the Serra da Estrela.
3. Pego Fondo, Alcoutim
Ninety-four kilometers from Faro, next to the Spanish border, is the river beach of Pego Fundo, in Alcoutim. If you are planning a road trip in the Algarve, this beach is a must. Here you will have plenty of space to do different activities: play volleyball, read a book under the trees, eat in the park or simply sunbathe in the sand.
4. Cardigos, Mação
Take one day to follow a different route. At the intersection between Cardigos and lugar dos Vales, you will find this beach, a must-visit because of its facilities. You will find several entertainment areas, including grass and picnic areas, two covered barbecues and a bar that serves the river beach. During the summer it also has a lifeguard service. In 2013 all this resulted in the beach of Cardigos, which is 176 kilometers from Lisbon, winning the Estrela do Médio Tejo award in the category of Natural Heritage - River Beaches.
5. Ponte Soeira, Vinhais
If you are in the north and want to drive close to the border with Spain, Ponte Soeira beach, between Vinhais and Bragança is an excellent option. Located 225 kilometers away from Porto, despite its rustic and even untamed appearance, this beach also known as Pelgo does not scare anyone. Quite the contrary! Rock ledges cross the Tuela, which here becomes a small natural lagoon of calm and, in some places, shallow waters. In 2015, the beach was awarded the Gold by the Quercus association, for the excellent quality of its water. Two bars can be found here.