Portugal's Most Beautiful Beaches

No matter where you are in Portugal, you’re never very far from a beach. Located on the Iberian Peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean, the picturesque country may be small compared with neighboring Spain, but it boasts more than 500 miles of coastline. Even inland, soft-sand beaches abound along rivers and at the edges of lagoons, where the calm waters attract swimmers, windsurfers, and families looking for placid paddling. Just a stone’s throw from Lisbon, hidden bays are carved from rocky cliffs in the Serra da Arrabida, where the clear turquoise waters look more Caribbean than European. There are windswept beaches whose giant waves attract surfers from across the world; sheltered coves with calm, crystalline waters; and bays where dolphins can be spotted at play.  Clean water and sand are pretty much guaranteed, too—this year the coveted Blue Flag is being hoisted on 314 Portuguese beaches—putting the country in the top five worldwide. And with so many beaches comes some of the best seafood on the planet—tuck into giant tiger prawns, locally harvested goose barnacles, or a simple plate of grilled sardines, and wash it down with a deliciously refreshing glass of vinho verde. Your taste buds will thank you.—Lucy Bryson

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