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Porto beach

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Porto, the second most populous city in Portugal, is also a seaside city! If the Douro river crosses Porto, this is also where its mouth is located, at Foz do Douro (Foz = mouth!). The Douro joins the Atlantic Ocean and the area is very pleasant for enjoying beautiful walks, visits to gardens and tourist sites, but also for swimming and doing water sports. This is a new side of Porto, and we recommend that you come and stroll near the beaches of Porto if you stay several days in the region.

Foz do Douro is a neighborhood that extends between the mouth of the Douro and the beginning of its northern waterfront. It is a wealthy neighborhood, where beautiful, opulent bourgeois houses are located facing the ocean and in the graceful adjacent avenues. There are good restaurants and trendy bars to go out there. The beaches of “Foz” (for those close to me) are not the most beautiful in Portugal… They are dotted with rocky outcrops, sorts of flats which form coves where you can walk. The sand is a little coarse, but still, it's the ocean and an iodized environment that feels good! Let's not forget that the city is only a few kilometers away and these beaches are particularly well maintained, the setting is pleasant to make it a truly pleasant place for Portuenses and tourists. There is no particularly remarkable heritage in this area, apart from the forts (see below), it is an area whose discovery should be reserved for a beautiful mild and sunny day! Continuing north, we reach Matosinhos, which is a pleasant coastal town, which extends the outskirts of Porto. The ocean beaches here have beautiful waves, the beach is wider and perfect for admiring sumptuous sunsets. In summer, take out your swimsuits, all year round come and try surfing and after a drink by the sea, go and taste delicious grilled fish...

Matosinhos Beach
Matosinhos Beach
Foz do DOuro Passeio Alegre
Foz do Douro Beaches

The Foz Promenade near Passeio Alegre and Foz beach, near the pergola

The unmissable attractions of Porto Plage

  1. Going for a swim or surfing just a few minutes from Porto is extraordinary!
  2. Stroll along the Foz do Douro Promenade and continue with the sea promenade
  3. Go admire the fish at Sea Life, the Porto aquarium
  4. Storming the Castelo do Queijo, a fun and interesting visit
  5. Wander for hours in the Parque da Cidade

Walking around Foz do Douro and Matosinhos

Walk to Foz do Douro

Foz” as the Portuenses simply call it, is a district of Porto. It is a seaside area, which begins at the mouth of the Douro river with the ocean and continues along the ocean approximately until the large Avenue de Boavista (5km long and which joins this district of Porto West). How lucky to be able to visit a city listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and at the same time go to the beach! If you stay more than 2 or 3 days in Porto, come and see the beaches and discover this attractive salty environment! To get there directly by public transport, take the bus (line 500) or the tram (line 1). The terminus drops you off at the very pretty Passeio Alegre garden. You can stop a little upstream to walk along the Foz promenade, reach the esplanade of the Farol de Sao Miguel Chapel (Capela-Farol de São Miguel-o-Anjo) and its Tide Gauge (marsh measuring device and other climatological events), there are inclined spaces for basking in the sun at the end of the day!

Come by tram to Foz do Douro, discover all the useful information to use this tourist and practical means of transport!

Foz do Douro
Passeio Alegre

The esplanade with the small chapel, the tide gauge and a bird observatory. Passeio Alegre Park

Continue walking to reach the first small beach (not the best) Praia das Pastoras, located between two piers. You can stroll on the North pier (Pontão da Barra do Douro, with caution when the waves are strong) and admire the sunset (magnificent on the entire coast). You will notice the Felgueiras Lighthouse (no longer in service). The next beach is Praia do Carneiro, it is made up of many stones, it is good for walking but continue higher if you want to swim. At this level, you will admire the Fort of São João de Foz (Fortaleza de São João da Foz), a nice visit and a symbolic price! We continue towards Praia do Ourigo, where the rocky foreshore appears. At low tide, with shoes, children enjoy walking there and looking for small crabs! The next is the English Beach (Praia dos Ingleses), because British nationals are numerous in this region and are the first to have popularized sea bathing, of which they are fond (they are not afraid of cold water!).

The Barra do Douro Pier
The Felgueiras lighthouse

The Pontão da Barra do Douro pier and the Felgueiras lighthouse on the pier opposite

Praia do Carneiro
Fort of Sao Joao de Foz

Carneiro Beach with the lighthouse in the distance and the São João da Foz Fort

Take a trip inside the town of Foz to discover the Mercado da Foz, a small market where you can find everything you need! Ideal for eating on the go or finding things to snack on the beach.

We will join Avenida do Brasil, the beaches there are pleasant, but be careful because the waves can make swimming very dangerous. The sandy areas are interspersed with rocks, like coves. What we loved was the Sea Promenade which starts here and runs all along the avenue. There is the Praia de Gondarém and on the esplanade the very decorative Pergola da Foz, an elegant belle époque style structure for taking photos. The next beach is Praia do Molhe which has a concrete jetty on which you can walk if the sea is not too rough (be careful!). On the Molhe esplanade, children and teenagers go skateboarding. All along Avenue du Brazil there are restaurants, cafes and places to get takeaway food, it's very friendly. Avenue de Montevideu which is in this extension (still along the sea) is of the same style: wide, equipped with shops and cafes.

The Praia do Homem do Leme and its garden are pleasant, this is where the sea promenade transforms into a wooden footbridge sometimes suspended above the waters. It's picturesque. Walk along the rocky foreshore, past the trendy cafes, walk onto the footbridge to feel the sea spray (Passadiço das Ondas) and reach the pretty little Jardins da Avenida de Montevideu. At this point Boavista Avenue roughly marks the separation with Matosinhos, which we invite you to discover, this time starting from the north of the city and going down to here. Let's go!

Pergola do Foz
Praia do Homem Do Leme Fo

The Pergola do Foz, a beautiful structure for photos and the Praia do Homem Do Leme

Brazil Avenue Foz do Douro
Brazil Avenue Foz do Douro

Brazil Avenue in Foz do Douro, perfect for walking and eating

Sea walk
Matosinhos seaside cafe

The walk alternates between concrete sections on the side of the ocean and footbridges overlooking it

The seaside promenade Foz do Douro
Foz do Douro seaside walk

The walk on the wooden footbridges

Discover Matosinhos

A huge fishing port, we come to Matosinhos as a tourist for its beaches, its walks on its sea promenade which leaves from Foz do Douro, its grilled fish restaurants and further north, its port. You can get to Matosinhos by taking the metro, from the city center it is easy and there is a stop in the north of the city, next to the Mercado Municipal de Matosinhos, housed in a building from the 50s ( Senhor de Matosinhos stop, but stop at Brito Capelo to go straight to the beach), the perfect place to start the day. This market offers fresh fish and other fruits and vegetables, sweet and savory treats, small cafes... the fish comes directly from the port. Walk around the city (we love old school!) to reach the port area of Leixões, which is impressive. You will pass near the Senhor Bom Jesus de Matosinhos church (Igreja Paroquial do Senhor Bom Jesus de Matosinhos), work of Nicolau Nasoni (in part). We arrive at the Port, there is a cruise terminal with modern architecture, which has existed since 2015 and it allows very large ships to dock a few minutes from Porto.

Note that in the next town above the port (which forms a large group with Matosinhos), Leça da Palmeira, there are seawater swimming pools and another very pleasant beach!

Come to Matosinhos by metro, read our article to find out how to use the Porto metro and its lines.

The municipal market of Matosinhos
Town of Matosinhos

The Municipal Market of Matosinhos and the town which has a very vintage look

Port of Matosinhos
Port of Matosinhos

Discover the port of Matosinhos, it is a fishing port with many facets, as well as industrial pleasure (cruises)

Focus on Heróis de França Street: Do you smell that smell of grilled fish? It’s the city’s specialty. It's fresh and will make your mouth water. Seasonal fish, cooked to perfection, accompanied by marinated vegetables, salads and other perfectly seasoned delicacies... If you are a fish lover, take a walk down this street to find a restaurant. The prices are quite reasonable: we asked for an assortment of fish and squid (a huge plate!), side dishes and olives, bread and other chorizo for the aperitif, as well as a bottle of wine, for around fifty euros. 'euros (two people). Treat yourself!

Grilled Fish Plate
Grilled fish plate

Come and enjoy the grilled fish restaurants of Matosinhos!

From the port, you can reach the beach on foot. Matosinhos Beach (Praia de Matosinhos) is a long beach of fine sand where you can swim (in fairly cold water, it's the Atlantic Ocean...), sunbathe, surf (many rentals equipment and schools). The waves are beautiful depending on the weather conditions. Walk on the seafront where walkers, lovers, skateboarders, bikes and other scooters wander around. Go to the roundabout where there is a kind of astonishing red net structure: “She Changes” on the Rotunda da Anémona, it is a 1.5 ton work of art which pays homage to fishing and fishing activities. industries in the region. It is above all a good point of reference and meeting point!

Matosinhos Beach and Cruise Terminal
Beachside restaurants

Matosinhos beach and the cruise terminal in the distance. On the beach, friendly restaurants

Matosinhos Beach
The Anemone

Matosinhos beach and Anemone in the middle of the roundabout

Continuing your route along the seafront, you will reach the Cheese Castle (Castelo do Queijo), the nickname of the São Francisco Xavier Fort. We recommend you visit it for a very small amount! Nice view, small café inside (with a small beer or a soft drink to enjoy on the fort's terrace, a treat!). In this location is Sea Life, the Matosinhos Aquarium. Ideal when the weather is gloomy or to please the children. A pretty aquatic animal park, with entertainment. Want some greenery? Start exploring the largest park in the region, the Parque da Cidade do Porto! Varied landscapes and scenes, animals, 83 hectares of greenery, 10 km of trails, an environmental education center, for this park designed by a landscaper over ten years (it was inaugurated in 1993).

It's not nice? Off to shopping! There are two large shopping centers in this area: Mar Shopping and Norte Shopping. Several thousand m2 of shops, restaurants, sheltered from the rain to discover Portuguese fashion, and other surprises!

The Cheese Castle
Visit to the Cheese Castle

The Château de Fromage is a fort, interesting to visit and with a very pretty view.

D0 City Park
City Park

The gigantic Parque do Cidade, a park to discover if you have a few hours to relax!

Our favorite things to do in Porto Plage

A great idea: take advantage of electric scooters to discover the seafront! You can unlock one in the city center or on the Porto West side, then circulate quickly and in a fun way all along the beaches (not on the wooden footbridges, it is dangerous for pedestrians and difficult to drive on). Be careful, to return the scooter to Matosinhos, look carefully at the drop-off points, there are none when you go too far north (the best is to drop off near the anemone roundabout). If you go rollerblading or skateboarding (and you have equipment), it's also the ideal place to go for a big trip.

Read our article on electric scooters in Porto

Porto beach by electric scooter
Porto beach sunset scooter

Our advice for discovering this area of Porto

Do you have a free day on your schedule? Do you already know Porto well or are you a little fed up with the world and heritage visits? En route to the beaches of Porto, from Foz do Douro to Matosinhoes and above Leça da Palmeira, this is the ideal place to unwind. In one day's walk, we covered the entire coast of Matosinhos (from the Market) to the Passeio Allegre tram stop. Arriving by metro, we returned by tram and were able to enjoy the sunset over the bay of Porto... If you need towels and swimsuits, you will find them on site without any worries. For lunch, the beach is ideal, with its coves or its landscaped seafront... The seaside restaurants are not economical, but there are little nuggets to discover in the residential areas and the small center from Foz. Matosinhos is cheaper overall, you can eat very cheaply, don't hesitate to mix with the locals in the small bistros. Porto beach can be a good option for staying in Porto, provided you locate a nearby bus or metro line, in 10/15 minutes you will be in town.

Sunset over Matosinhos
Sunset over Matosinhos

The essential visits to Porto Plage

Fort of São João de Foz (Fortaleza de São João da Foz)

This Castle-Fortress dates from the end of the 16th century, it is a fortification with defensive elements, designed to protect the Atlantic flank of Porto from the attack of hostile ships. The fort was initially included in a complex consisting of a house and a church. It was remodeled several times according to the needs of the times, simplified and reinforced (gate, pit, drawbridge). Today, for a very modest fee you can visit it and enjoy a nice view, see a weapons exhibition and learn more about its history.

Sao Joao Fort Photo: AdobeStock Rob
Fort of São João de Foz

The Cheese Castle (Fort of São Francisco Xavier - Castelo do Queijo)

Another small fort to visit, which dates from the end of the 17th century. It faces the ocean and the rocky foreshore. It is well restored and inside there is a small museum on military history. Events sometimes take place there and there is a small café to have a refreshment or a drink inside. The visit does not exceed 1 euro and it is used for its maintenance, don't hesitate, it's a nice place.

The Cheese Castle
The Cheese Castle

A little fort that is definitely worth a look!

The port and marina of Leixões

A little out of the way, you will have to walk from the Senhor de Matosinhos metro station or come by bus from Porto. Stroll around this fishing port and discover its cruise terminal. Visits to this place are organized on Sundays to learn more about its architecture, the scientific activities that take place there, the cruises departing from this place created in 2015 to allow large boats to dock near Porto, without cluttering the landscape with cruise ships. A good idea!

Matosinhos cruise terminal Photo: AdobeStock ladyligeia
Cruise terminal and beach

Modern architecture, a building that winds like a ribbon!

Senhor Bom Jesus Church of Matosinhos

This parish church was renovated in a baroque style orchestrated by Nicolau Nasoni, the famous architect. Beautiful examples of carved and gilded wood can be seen in the nave and chapels. There is a garden around the church with fountains. It is the central point of the great Matosinhos celebrations, which are among the most important pilgrimages in northern Portugal.

Senhor Bom Jesus Church of Matosinhos Photo: AdobeStock An Instant of Time
Senhor Bom Jesus Church of Matosinhos

Sea Life, Matosinhos Aquarium

Do you like fish and the marine environment? So come visit Sea Life. If the weather is gloomy, if you already know the tourist areas well, this is a nice place, the second most important aquarium in Portugal after Lisbon. Come immerse yourself under the large water tunnel, get up close with penguins, see Manta rays, a curious animal! Be careful, it gets crowded during school holidays!

Sea Life Matosinhos
Sea Life Porto

Activities to do and beautiful views from the beaches of Porto

Passeio Alegre Garden (Jardim do Passeio Alegre)

Combine the pleasures of the seaside with the serenity of a magnificent garden. A quiet break? It's an ideal place. At the heart of the park is a mini golf course, and it's not common to say it, but you should go to the toilet! Because they are a real historical monument, in an old building! If you come on a nice, mild day, you will notice that parrots are moving around the park. Enjoy the pretty bandstand where concerts and other events take place.

Passeio Allegre Garden
Mini golf at Jardim de Passeio Alegre

As an extension of the estuary and before joining the ocean, a pretty transitional garden

Porto City Park

83 hectares of greenery and more than 10 kilometers of trails: it's an extraordinary park, the largest in the region! A multitude of tree species, lakes and birds that have taken refuge in this place, stone installations and clean paths make the walk unmissable! In this particularly noisy area (the seaside road is very busy) you will appreciate the oasis of calm that the Parque da Cidade represents. Children will find games there or ducks to feed... If you are on a bike, come and take a walk!

City Park
City Park

Parque da Cidade, a green haven close to the city

Walk on the North Pier

Walk around the pier and come covered if the waves are high, because they crash with enthusiasm on the Barra do Douro! We appreciate the lovely view of the Felgueiras lighthouse. The second dike on which it rests is sometimes open, this seems to depend on the weather conditions? It is in principle not possible to fish on the pier, but the locals do not seem to pay attention to this ban which clashes with their habits.

Walk on the Foz pier
Foz do Douro Pier

Come admire the waves

Mercado da Foz

It's a nice little daily market that is mainly frequented by locals. You will see many florists and fish sellers, this is the specialty of the place. Terraces and pretty cafes (inexpensive), it is an authentic covered market, which will appeal to those who like these small places which liven up the neighborhoods.

Mercado Municipal de Matosinhos

Located near the Senhor do Matosinhos metro exit, it is a large market in a building from the 50s, with beautiful architecture and light. Fun and quite unusual fact: You can buy fish at the stalls (at a very attractive price and unbeatable freshness) and then taste it in the restaurants which will cook your purchases (for a modest sum)! The upper floor of the market consists of fruit and vegetable, flower and other stalls. Come early enough, spend 11am it’s less interesting…

Mercado de Matosinhos
Fish at the Mercado Municipal de Matosinhos
Mercado Municipal de Matosinhos

The Mercado Municipal de Matosinhos is also an interesting option for eating good fresh fish

Seaside promenade and Pergola da Foz

The seaside promenade is a really pleasant walk, approximately 4 km long. The entire seaside is landscaped, with large esplanades, railings or sometimes wooden footbridges which are flush with the ocean, all the way to Matosinhos. On a beautiful afternoon, or at the end of a summer or fall day, it's a real treat. The sunsets are remarkable and it is a very cosmopolitan, multi-generational place popular with all. The Pergola da Foz is an elegant and very photogenic concrete structure, the belle époque architecture highlights the seaside character of this pretty promenade.

Sea walk
Foz sea promenade
Sea promenade and Pergola do Foz
Sea promenade and Pergola do Foz

The superb sea promenade, kilometers of pleasure!

Surfing in Matosinhos

Do you like skiing? Come and try the beaches of Matosinhos. You will easily find a place to rent equipment. Surfing, body boarding, skim boarding... You can take lessons from schools with competent and often English-speaking instructors (some speak French in addition). It should be noted that the waves are most of the time accessible to all levels: beginners will be able to progress and seasoned surfers will have fun in good waves.

Surf equipment rental Matosinhos
Surf equipment rental Matosinhos
Surfing in Matosinhos