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Top Dog Friendly Beaches in Portugal

As summer approaches in the northern hemisphere and the days are getting longer and hotter, more people venture out to cool off by the ocean, and are even starting to do little weekend breakaways again.

Portugal is a very dog friendly destination. Whether you’ve just immigrated, or a long time resident, these are some of the top beaches in Portugal that have open access for dogs.

Coral Beach, Viana do Castelo


Also known as Praia do Aquário, Praia do Coral is located on Portugal’s northern coast near Viana do Castelo and was one of the first doggy beaches in Portugal. Opened on 15th June 2018, it’s an excellent option for your dog to be able to enjoy this summer 2021. The beach is located about an 1 hour drive North of to Porto. The beach has an extensive sandy shore and calm waters protected by the Lima River bar so you can let your dog run and swim freely.

Ramalha Sul Beach, Esposende


We remain in the North of the country for the next two suggestions for the best dog friendly beaches in Portugal which are both in Esposende in the Braga district of Portugal. About a 40 min drive, North of Porto. First up is Praia da Ramalha Sul, which, together with Praia Suave Mar, started to allow dogs on its sands in June 2018 as part of the Municipal Strategic Plan for Animal Welfare created by the Municipal Council.

This long, sandy beach and impressive infrastructure make life a lot easier for pet owners and this really is the perfect place in the north of Portugal to spend an unforgettable day at the beach with your pooch.

Praia Suave Mar, Esposende


Also in Esposende is the dog-friendly beach of Praia Suave Mar, which is another perfect summer holiday destination for you and your four-legged friend.

The beach’s large, sandy shore attracts many surfers and holidaymakers. In addition to being easily accessible and having a range of parking options in the surrounding area, this dog friendly beach is also equipped with special facilities for dogs where they can drink water, for example.

Porto da Areia Norte Beach, Peniche


Moving further down towards the centre of the country, Peniche is an excellent option for a doggy holiday. Peniche is located a little closer to Lisbon at about a 1hour, 20 min drive from the city. The Praia do Porto da Areia Norte has an area of sand about 80 metres long, perfect for walking with your pet. There are even poop bag dispensers to help you clean up after your dog.

Ursa Beach, Sintra


(photo credit- Max & Louise)

A little closer to Lisbon, Ursa beach is only 40 min from Lisbon.

Located in the Natural Park of Sintra, Ursa Beach is considered one of the most beautiful beaches around the world by Michelin guide. As it is not a concessioned beach, dogs are welcome here throughout the year.


Other Beaches and the Algarve (South of Portugal)

There are loads of beaches to visit in Portugal. A quick Google search revealed quite a few, however one has to check each beach’s signs whether they allow dogs or not. For this Portugal is very strict.

“The general rule throughout Portugal is that dogs are not allowed on “concessioned beaches” (i.e. those with beach beds and the like) with lifeguards, during the bathing season. This starts anytime between Easter and May, depending on the beach, and lasts through to October. On the other hand, at non-concessioned beaches and where there are no signs prohibiting them by the local council, dogs are allowed right throughout the year.” as reported by Shandos & Schnitzel from TravelNuity.

From what I’ve seen, the Algarve does not seem to be as inviting to having dogs on beaches, or out-and-about.

Tips for Spending Time at the Beach with Your Dog

  • Beaches where dogs are not expressly allowed don’t usually have any control over animal access. Even so, we recommend that you always check if dogs are allowed or not, to avoid having to pay expensive fines.
  • Choose areas where the water is calm so that your dog can swim in peace without aggressive waves.
  • Protect your pup from the sun and keep it hydrated! Animals can also suffer from too much sun exposure which can lead to dehydration during the hottest hours of the day.
  • Collect all your dog’s waste left on the beach, either using your own bags or bags that are often provided on dog beaches.
  • Bring toys to keep your dog entertained.
  • When you return home, it’s a good idea to give your dog a bath in fresh water to remove all the salt from their fur.


Parts of the article adapted from one of the best places to find long-term or long, short-term accommodation in Portugal.

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