The best independent guide to Porto
The best independent guide to Porto
The Praia de Matosinhos is a beautiful sandy beach, which is regarded as the best beach close to Porto.
During the summer, the residents of Porto flock to this huge beach, and the breach front promenade and surrounding bars and cafes have a lively and vibrant atmosphere.
Matosinhos beach attracts a range of ages and nationalities and is suitable for families, young children, or those wishing to relax under the glorious sun.
The Praia de Matosinhos faces the mighty Atlantic Ocean, and frequently huge waves roll onto the beach. This makes Matosinhos a popular location for surfing, and there is an excellent surf school based on the beach.
The wide golden sands of Matosinhos beach
Unfortunately, Matosinhos beach does not have the most scenic of settings, being situated on the southern side of Matosinhos industrial port and a busy fishing harbour.
This port actually helped create the beach. The massive seawalls that extends far into the sea and protects the entrance to the port, interrupted the normal coastal erosion and allowed the acumination of the soft sands that created the Praia de Matosinhos. The sands of Matosinhos beach are much softer than the other beaches of the Porto region, such as the beaches of the Foz district.
The seawalls also provide shelter from the prevailing winds, and lessen the strong currents associated with the region – making Matosinhos safe for children.
Matosinhos is very easy to travel from the centre of Porto, being connected by the metro network and a regular bus service (details at the end of this article)
Related articles: Porto beach guide – Matosinhos town guide
Castelo do Queijo, stands at the southern end of the beach
Visitors to Matosinhos frequently leave with very different opinions of the beach; some love it while others find it very disappointing.
On a hot summer's day, Matosinhos is a fantastic beach. The vast beach has ample space for all, the beach promenade will be packed with Portuguese of all ages, and there will be shrieks of fun from the cold sea.
On a cloudy day, Matosinhos loses much of its appeal. The industrial port becomes much more apparent, and the shabbiness of the town is more pronounced. Only plan a trip to Matosinhos and its beaches on a hot summer's day.
Matosinhos is a brilliant destination on a summer’s day
Unfortunately, the Praia de Matosinhos overlooks an industrial port
The town of Matosinhos is connected to the 'A' metro line, and the beach is served by the Matosinhos Sul stop.
Matosinhos is in zone three of the metro network and a single ticket costs €1.60. This ticket is charged to the Andante card, which costs €0.60 for the initial purchase. The journey takes 27minutes to travel from Trindade (the main metro station of Porto) to Matosinhos Sul.
The beach is also served by the 500 bus route, which departs from the Praça da Liberdade and follows the coast round to Matosinhos. This is a popular bus route, so there are departures every 15 minutes during the week, and every 20-30 minutes at the weekend. A single ticket costs €2.00.
Porto metro goes direct to Matosinhos
Praia de Matosinhos is a large beach that is able to provide sufficient space for all of its visitors, even in the summer months. There are better beaches and resort towns in the Porto region, but Matosinhos is the easiest to travel to and is great for spending a lazy day in the sun or for surfing in the medium sized waves. For a much better resort town, consider the slightly longer train ride to Vila do Conde or Espinho.
At Praia de Matosinhos the waves are suitable for surfing or body boarding, and there are surfing schools based at the beach. Surf equipment can be rented; a board and wet suit can be hired for €15 for two hours. During the summer season, the beach is supervised by a lifeguard and surfing is only allowed within the designated areas. The sea temperature is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, therefore it is shocking cold, even at the height of the summer.
The beach has a selection of cafés and bars, but the main front is bound by semi-dated apartments. The small container port at the northern edge of the beach does not add to the allure of the beach, and it must be stated that Matosinhos is not the most naturally stunning of Portugal’s beaches.
The Praia de Matosinhos is a hive of activity during the summer
The town of Matosinhos is famed for its fresh fish, in part due to its large fishing fleet, and there are numerous great fish restaurants in the town. Often the fish is cooked on BBQs that are set up in front of the restaurants. For the restaurant section of the town, walk north from the beach or depart from the metro at the Brito Capelo stop.
Matosinhos fish market
There is a large fish market in Matosinhos where the fresh catch is sold; this market is opposite the port and is served by the Mercado metro stop. The fish market is best visited early in the day and is completely finished by lunch time.
The fort at the southern edge of the beach is called the Castelo do Queijo, the cheese castle. This bizarre name originates from the rock where the small fort is constructed upon, which is said to resemble a block of cheese. Inside the 15th century fort (€0.50 admission) there is a small museum, and wonderful views along the coastline.