Portugal is a country with a history dominated by its long coastline; from the days of being a great sea power, its fishing industry and most recently tourism. Combined with an excellent climate it is little wonder Portugal is one of Europe's most popular beach holiday destinations.
There is a great choice of beaches in Portugal and these differ widely in every respect. The Estoril coast near Lisbon has a series of cosmopolitan city beaches whilst the Algarve's beaches are characterised by azure waters and fantastical rock formations.
Although the climate is Mediterranean unlike other countries in Southern Europe Portugal has an Atlantic coast which faces into the full force of the ocean waves. Many of the west coast beaches are excellent for surfing and tend to be vast expanses of golden sand.
Portugal's beaches are generally clean and this is reflected in a number of Blue Flag award beaches - a sure sign of a pollution-free, family friendly beach.