37° 1′ 31.827” N (37.0255018), 8° 57′ 47.9142” W (-8.9631166)
This beach is on the Cabo de Sao Vinente (Cap of Saint Vincent or The land’s end headland) of the south-western tip of Portugal, just a few kilometers to the west of the small town of Sagres.
The coastline in the area is elevated with numerous sandy beaches in the coves below. The area is exposed to the hot southerly African winds, and the cooler westerly winds from the Atlantic, both can be very strong and unpleasant in their own ways. These winds and the resulting swells create great conditions for surfing and the area has embraced the surfing culture, with schools and shops. However, the water in this area can be very dangerous due to the tides, rips and currents. The temperature of the water can also suffer due to the cooler Atlantic currents.
Praia do Beliche is in the shadows of the Fortaleza (fort) de Beliche, constructed during Christian Portugal period. The fort was destroyed in 1570 by Sir Francis Drake and abandoned after an earthquake 5 years later. This beach and the area has seen it fair share of history with stories of pirates, exploration and raids on the African continent staged from here from centuries past.
This beach faces south and is protected from the westerly winds by the spectacular, golden, craggy 40m high limestone cliffs. Its long and wide, with golden sands with several small caves and rocky outcrops providing some shelter from the sun and wind. Although, facing south it may be protected from the westerly winds but if the southerly winds are blowing, your visit very uncomfortable. There are some warnings about falling rocks from the cliffs on the beach.
At the far end of the beach in the second or western cove, is the nudist section and may be difficult to reach during a high tide, but if this maybe a problem, ensure you keep an on the tide for the return journey down the beach. There is no exit at this end of the beach. It wasn’t a problem during our visit. The first cove or closest to the entrance is textile, and some textiles will share the western cove with you. At the far end of the nudist section is a large cave and worth exploring. On the day of our visit a local textile yoga group used this cave.
This beach is one of those beautiful out of the way places and is reported as never being over crowded even during peak holiday times, likely due to its isolation.
Generally, you may need a car to visit this area, but if you find yourself in Sagres, its only 3km away use the main road to Cabo de Sao Vinente (EN268), and is an easy walk unless the wind causes problems.
The beach is marked by a café, restaurant and hotel and car park which during peak season may well be full. The car park area offers breath-taking views of the coastline and surrounding cliffs. A path leads from the car park to another restaurant/café on the beach. This path is long and steep in parts, especially for the return trip.
The is a lifeguard on duty, (in the textile area) but no showers or toilet on the beach. The toilet is in the car park at the top and key can be obtained from the beach restaurant.
The beach has a very good relaxed vibe, being people of all ages, the crowd especially during peak season will be holiday makers enjoying the sunshine and a very special beach. We recommend Praia do Beliche to you.