Top leisure activities in Portugal

Beaches, sport, and food!

Top leisure activities in Portugal

With its fantastic opening on the Atlantic, Portugal is a country famous for its numerous beaches (obviously, since it has over 800km of coastline), but that’s not all - here is what you can do when you visit Portugal.


Beaches are the main attraction in Portugal, as they can be found all across the country. The south of Portugal is a gorgeous region where you can probably find the most amazing beaches.

Praia da Marinha is one of the most beautiful and symbolic beaches of Portugal. Located near the city of Portimão in the south of the country, this beach offers amazing scenery with interesting rock formations. Plus, the car park is very big and you don’t have to walk for a very long time. As it is very popular, we recommend you visit it in the morning.

Praia da Falesia: Also at the south, not too far from Praia da Marinha, this beach is equipped with restaurants, snack bars and bathrooms, and popular even among the locals. It is a beautiful white sand, neverending beach with big orange cliffs, amazing at sunset.

Closer to Lisbon, there are also many nice beaches, even though they can get pretty crowded, especially between April and November. Carcavelos beach is the first big sandy beach at about 20km from Lisbon. The waves can be quite strong and hollow, ideal for surfers.


There are often activities going on on Portuguese beaches, such as volleyball, rugby games or surf competitions. Canoeing and kayaking are widely practised, and so is horseriding. Sailing is popular, but you will need to have a medical certificate, a sailing licence and insurance to sail in Portugal.

You can also walk and hike in Portugal, as the country has many mountains. The FCM  (Camping and Mountaineering Federation) has a lot of information about possible hikes and walks, as well as clubs if you feel like joining one.

Surfing is a very important custom in Portugal, mainly practised on the south-west coast by both locals and tourists. Check out this website  for more information about surf sports and seasonal activities.

Food and wine

Portugal is also a major foodie destination. The Portuguese cuisine is excellent, and so is the wine. The Douro Valley in the north for instance is famous for its Port wine, the breathtaking landscapes and several World Heritage Sites. Between mountains, plateaus, rivers and beaches, the Douro Valley is a great destination and not too packed with tourists, or at least not the sandy beach-goer kind. Other wine regions include the famous Estremadura, Alentejo and Bairrada among other places.

Most restaurants in Portugal are very good value, and you will easily find local cuisine, as there are not that many places serving foreign cuisine (apart from the few Indian, Chinese or Brazilian restaurants in larger cities).

Further reading

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