17 beaches to visit in Costa Vicentina and Southwest Alentejo
It was one of those unexpected weekends, with an unplanned trip. Sagres isn’t a first-time destination for me. The winds, which are so strong here, seem to rise halfway across the country to whisper in my ear and draw me to the South of Portugal.
But it was undoubtedly the first time that I visited the place in the middle of August. We all know that August is the month of holidays par excellence, and I usually avoid this region during the summer because it’s always much more busy and full of people.
But this time, the call was louder, and I came to visit the village for two days.
Knowing the main tourist spots in Sagres, on Sunday, I made my way back home. Still, I decided to go along the coast, stopping at some of the most emblematic beaches of the Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina Natural Park.
This is considered one of the most beautiful coastal stretches in Europe, home to the famous Rota Vicentina, and each detour seems to lead to a more beautiful beach than the other.
So take note! Following from South to North, through the natural park, these are the ones I recommend a visit. Whether to enjoy the view, spread the beach towel, or put the surfboard in the water.
1 / Zavial Beach
It’s one of the most known surf spots in the region. Zavial is a trendy beach, so more and more you see people with surfboards arriving at the beach to benefit from those waves.
If you want to do the same, my suggestion is to go in the early hours of the morning and enjoy some peace before the crowd arrives.
2 / Ingrina Beach
For me, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Sagres area. Right next to Zavial, it’s a small bay that enchants by its natural and elegant aspect.
3 / Mareta Beach
Mareta is another surfing classic in Sagres, especially if you are taking your first steps in the sport. The length of the beach makes people spread out, both on the sand and in the water. If you are staying in Sagres, you don’t even need to get in the car.
4 / Beliche Beach
You already have to be an expert to surf these waves. They are fast and often reflect on the cliff, breaking with speed and, often, at the water’s edge. It’s much appreciated by bodyboarders, but surfers don’t deny the challenge. If you are just going to enjoy the beach, know that this is one of the most protected ones from the north wind. The only drawback is that you’ll have to make a big descent (and uphill on your return) to reach the beach.
5 / Ponta Ruiva
It gets its name (Ponta Ruiva, aka Red Edge) from the sizeable reddish rock on the right side of the beach. Ponta Ruiva offers an extensive beach that holds a lot of people. However, the difficult access, steep and unpaved, keeps many visitors away.
Note that in rain or bad weather, driving around can be a real challenge.
6 / Monte Clérigo
A wide beach and good to enjoy during the summer, Monte Clérigo is an excellent option. As it is a bustling beach, it’s ideal that you go earlier to ensure a parking space. The small village that is spread out on the hillside also gives a nice look to the place, and there you can find amazing places to eat, such as the restaurant O Sargo.
7 / Amoreira Beach
Like Monte Clérigo, Amoreira also offers an extensive beach to pass sometime on the sun. The waves are also one of the great attractions of this place, much sought after by surfers, but if you’re not a fan of beaches with strong waves, know that Amoreira at the Aljezur River’s mouth.
8 / Arrifana
If there’s a beach known to surfers on the beautiful Costa Vicentina, this is Arrifana. So, don’t be surprised if you get there and see the sea full of surfboards. To access the beach you have to go through a narrowly sloped road, between little houses. This can be a problem in the summer months, as the number of visitors is high, as is the number of cars parked. If you want to avoid this, go to the beach early.
9 / Vale dos Homens Beach
Truly astonishing, Vale dos Homens Beach is in an enclave of rocky cliffs and typical region vegetation. A wooden walkway leads down, and there’s plenty of space in the sand. As for surfing, if you’re not a fan of rocks, you might want to try your luck elsewhere.
10 / Barradinha Beach
This is a small paradise that I discovered on this trip, as we decided to leave the main road and follow a dirt path and see how far it would take us. Unlike others that I suggest here, Barradinha is very small and with little sand. On the other hand, this also makes it less crowded. To enjoy the most of this place, make sure you go on the low tide.
11 / Odeceixe Beach
Another classic of the Alentejo coast, Odeceixe beach attracts visitors from all over the country. Here you have the best of both worlds: the waves and the freshness of the Atlantic coast, and the calm and temperature of the Seixe River. The village is also funny and worth a walk there.
12 / Amália Beach
It was one of the great discoveries when I was recently making a three-day itinerary through Vila Nova de Milfontes and Zambujeira do Mar. Amália Beach — which gained its name for being one of the famous Portuguese fado singer Amália Rodrigues chosen beaches — is beautiful, and just its access through vegetation is worth the visit. Going down to the beach can be a challenge, especially for those with reduced mobility, but you will not regret it after arriving there.
13 / Alteirinhos Beach
Alteirinhos, near Zambujeira do Mar, takes the best advantage of the landscape that exists in this section of the Portuguese coast. The rock formations enter the sea and give an even more beautiful look to this beach.
14 / Malhão Beach
Malhão is an excellent option to visit if you are in the Vila Nova de Milfontes area. The beach is lovely, and if you’re lucky to go on a day with good weather and fewer waves, you’ll come across turquoise waters.
15 / Aivados Beach
Aivados is one of my favorites beaches for surfing in this part of the country. The place is small, so it’s not so nice for those who just want to sunbathe. This coastline stretch is filled with small pebbles as far as the eye can see, which has become one of its signature images.
16 / Pessegueiro Island
When a place is immortalized in a song’s lyrics, it’s because there is something exceptional about it. Such is the Pessegueiro Island, highlighted in the song “Porto Côvo” by Portuguese singer Rui Veloso. Following the road that leads to the beach, you’ll soon come across a beautiful islet that appears on the horizon and accompanies us even when we are on the sand. It is an image not to be missed.
17 / São Torpes Beach
The versatility of this beach near Porto Covo is enormous! It’s ideal for water sports, such as surfing, bodyboarding, or kitesurfing, but it also offers excellent conditions for those looking for a good time spent on the beach. And even if there are waves, you can always get closer to the pier where they are scarcer, and the water is warmer.
São Torpes was my final destination on this trip, but if you want to continue climbing the map, there are at least five other beaches in the Alentejo region that I recommend you visit.
What did you think of these suggestions? Did you already know all these beaches or some of them you’ve never heard of? Do you have other ones that you’d like to share? Tell me everything in the comments box.