The Praia de Matosinhos beach is the largest beach with an easy access from central Porto. The beach offers a wide expanse of golden sands and waves that are suitable for surfing, while only being a 15 minute metro journey away from the centre of Porto. This guide will provide an overview of the facilities available at the Praia de Matosinhos and details on how to travel to this beach.
The wide golden sands of Matosinhos beach
Matosinhos beach lies on the northern banks of the Douro estuary and faces westwards out to the Atlantic Ocean. The beach is situated within the town of Matosinhos and is bound by the fishing and container port at the northern edge, and the Castelo do Queijo (cheese castle!) at the southern end. The proximity of the port means that the water quality is not up to the standard of a blue flag, but it is nevertheless acceptable for surfing or swimming.
Castelo do Queijo, Matosinhos
The town of Matosinhos is connected to the blue metro line and the beach is served by the Matosinhos Sul stop; from the metro stop it is a 5 minute walk to the beach. Matosinhos is in zone three of the metro network and a single ticket is €1.50, with a return of €3.00. For the first journey on the metro the reusable card must be purchased for an additional €0.60.
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 €1.95 and the journey to the beach requires a zone 3 bus ticket.
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.
Praia de Matosinhos does unfortunately overlooks a container port
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 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.