The Praia de Espinho beach is a beautiful beach that is considered the finest beach within the vicinity of Porto. This vast beach is situated close to the pleasant and laid back Portuguese resort town of Espinho, and is only a short train ride from central Porto. Espinho is a great day trip destination for visitors who wish to spend a relaxing day on a beach as part of their holiday to Porto. This guide will provide an overview of the beach, details of facilities there and how to travel to Espinho from Porto.
The wide golden sands of Espinho beach
Espinho beach is a section of the 17km long beach that extends south from the Douro estuary. During the height of the season, the main central section of the beach can become busy, but due to its length there is always space to be found.
The beach faces a westerly direction and is exposed to the powerful Atlantic Ocean, which makes the waves suitable for surfing, but the sea temperature is surprisingly cold, even at the height of the summer. The town of Espinho is the largest and best resort town of the area, with numerous hotels, restaurants and bars.
Praia de Espinho is located 20km to the south of Porto and is served by the main train line between Porto and Aveiro. The Espinho trains depart from the São Bento train station in central Porto and pass through the Campanhã station before heading south. A return ticket costs €3.90 and the journey time is 30-40 minutes, depending on the service.
The colourful fishing boats at Espinho
At a minimum there is a daily hourly departure during day light hours but this frequency increases up to three departures per hour during peak times. There is a regular bus route between Porto and Espinho, but the convenience of the railway means that the train is the recommended means of travel. Espinho train station is in the centre of the town and is less than a 1 minute walk to the beach.
Espinho is a traditional fishing beach
Espinho beach faces in a westward direction and the waves that pound Espinho beach are large and powerful enough to surf on. For those visitors without their own equipment, surf boards and the essential wet suits can be hired for €15 for two hours. During the summer season, the beach is supervised by lifeguards and surfing is only permitted between the designated flags. Parasols and sun loungers can be hired and cost €10 for the day.
Espinho is renowned for its casino, which is the largest of northern Portugal and lies at the heart of the resort. The casino offers a selection of gambling rooms and daily cabaret shows. The main shopping street extends from the casino and is lined with a mixture of shops, cafes and restaurants. As Espinho is a popular Portuguese holiday destination, the town offers exceptional value for money, especially for food and drink. Many of the dishes served are based upon the freshly caught fish, while the speciality of the area is caldeirada, a fish stew.
Espinho has a small fishing fleet and the colourful boats are pulled up onto the beaches, while the fresh fish are sold each morning by the fishermen’s wives from the beach where the boats are landed on. This open air fish market is chaotic and noisy but all over by 9am.
The enjoyable Feira de Espinho market is held every Monday morning and is the largest market of northern Portugal. The market covers three blocks of the town and almost everything can be bought from here, from locally produced handicrafts to farmers produce. The market can get very busy, so always be wary of pickpockets and the alike.