BEST PLACES TO GO SWIMMING IN PORTUGAL: Ocean, rivers, waterfalls, and lakes!
Away from the beach resorts, Portugal is a wild and magical place ready to be discovered. This country offers an incredible amount of activities, including some of the best swimming spots in Europe. From secret beaches to hidden caves and sparkling lakes, no wonder why Portugal is quickly becoming a favourite destination for travellers seeking an adventure.
Here is a list of the best places to go swimming in Portugal, make sure you include them in your itinerary.
Best places to go swimming in Portugal
Ponte de Sao Joao, Rio Coura
Where: Viana do Castelo
This is a popular destination for wild swimming. To reach the bridge you must scramble down steep rocks but you will be rewarded with beautiful views and clear water between quartz caves. This is a perfect spot to enjoy a picnic, relax, and dive in sparkling waters.
There are many legends and stories surrounding the beautiful natural pool, making this one of the best places to go swimming in Portugal.
Cascata do arado
Where: Ermida – Braga
This is a colorful waterfall just north of the village of Ermida, a prime destination for wild swimming in Portugal. The waterfall is covered in vegetation and the landscape surrounding the natural pools is fascinating. In summer there isn’t much water running but Cascata do Arado is still worth a visit.
Leça Swimming Pools
If you are looking to get your perfect Instagram shot then this is your place. Despite not being a completely natural swimming pool the architect really took advantage of the rock formation making it a perfect combination between man-made and natural.
No wonder why Leca swimming pool is considered one of the prettiest and best places to go swimming in Portugal.
Keep in mind that this place can get very busy so try to avoid weekends and holidays.
Loriga River Beach, praia fluvial de loriga
Where: South of Porto
In the heart of the Serra da Estrela National Park, this beach is definitely worth a visit despite being a popular and often busy location. There are great infrastructures making it a perfect spot for families and young kids. The water is often cold but the area is well oriented under the warm sun. Make sure you include enough time to explore and hike the surroundings.
Azenhas do Mar
Where: Azenhas do Mar – West of Lisbon
This small traditional Portuguese town hides between the ocean and mountains, it’s the perfect place to relax and unwind after spending a few days in the capital city.
The town of Azenhas do Mar is famous for its beautiful and dramatic views of the Atlantic ocean, however, you should visit the small natural swimming pool next to the town beach. This is often flooded at high tide and full of sand, nevertheless it’s considered one of the best places to go swimming in Portugal because of its location and views.
Where: Berlenas Archipelago – Peniche
This Archipelago was classified as a protected area in 1981 and it’s now a UNESCO biosphere reserve. These green islands are surrounded by emerald water and offer an incredible playground for swimmers and divers thanks to the diversity of marine life and the number of underwater caves.
Hidden in the main island there is the 16th-century fortress of Sao Joao, this is one of the most unusual and unique places to visit in Portugal. Therefore, you must include the Berlengas Archipelago in your itinerary.
Pego Das Pias
Pago Das Pias is a well-kept secret located between the villages of São Luís and Odemira. This is a fluvial beach perfect for a summer picnic or a refreshing swim after exploring the area. If swimming is simply not enough you can wander off on the Rota Vicentina trail, a famous long-distance walk that passes by the gorge.
Queda do Vigario, Algarve
24 meters of water fall into a natural pool creating an incredible spot for wild swimming in Algarve. The Queda do Vigario waterfall is a perfect place to relax and explore the hidden caves and surrounding landscape. The water is deep and often cold, nevertheless, this remains of the most loved and secret swimming spot in Portugal.
Where: Madeira Island
Porto Moniz natural pools became famous all over the world after featuring on National Geographic. These volcanic rock creations are the highlight of Porto Moniz village and perhaps the entire Madeira island (n miles of the coast of Portugal).
The complex now features a children’s playground, facilities, and a bar area with beautiful sea views.
Lagoa Verde and Lagoa azul
Where: Sao Miguel – Azores
Sao Miguel island in the Azores is a collection of volcanic craters filled with water, Lagoa Verde and Lagoa Azul are only some of the best wild swimming spots in the archipelago. These are right next to each other and clearly distinguishable by their color. Perhaps the perfect spot for skinny dipping?
Ponta da Ferraira
Where: Sao Miguel – Azores
This is a hot spring located on the island of Sao Miguel. A naturally heated pool perfect to relax and enjoy picturesque landscapes and the volcanic rock environment.
The pools can get busy, therefore, make sure you plan your visit in advance. There is a restaurant that serves traditional Portuguese food with incredible views of the ocean.
Terra Nostra Garden
Where: Sao Miguel – Azores
These thermal pools are not particularly appealing at first sight but they are a great place to relax and unwind. The muddy color comes from the volcanic iron dissolving in the water, which is believed to have healing powers. The Terra Nostra Garden hides in the middle of the Valley of Furnas, a huge volcanic crater with strong geological activity.
These are some of the best places to go swimming in Portugal. An incredible and wild country with much to offer. If you found this article helpful please let me know in the comments below.