COVID-19: rules for going to the beach in Portugal

Portugal is open to tourists this summer 2021, but if you plan to travel and hit the beach, these are the rules and restrictions you will have to obey.

COVID beach rules in Portugal
COVID beach rules in Portugal / Unsplash
3 June 2021, Redaction

If you're planning on travelling to Portugal this summer and going to the beach, keep in mind that you will have to obey the local COVID-19 rules and restrictions which very between regions, including face mask rules, social distancing and capacity limits. Let's have a closer look at the rules for going to the beach in Portugal this summer 2021.

Can I go to the beach in Portugal this summer?

First things first, are the beaches in Portugal open this summer? And can you go? The answer is yes, provided that your chosen beach hasn't passed its capacity limit and that you obey the relevant rules and restrictions. Take note that social distancing of 2m will be required on beaches for coronavirus safety reasons. 

Is it compulsory to wear a mask on the beach in Portugal?

While face masks must be worn indoors in public places in Portugal, as well as outdoors when social distancing isn't possible, once you are at the beach and are maintaining safe distance from other holidaymakers, you are free to remove your mask and save yourself from embarrassing tan lines. Take note that if you're taking a walk along the beach or if you want to enter a beach café or restaurant, then you must wear your mask. Fines will be handed out to those who break these mask rules. 

Capacity limites on Portuguese beaches this summer 2021

The list with the capacity beaches in Portugal for this summer 2021 has been released. The document was published by the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) and reveals that, in total, the beaches located in mainland Portugal on the coast have the capacity to receive almost 850 thousand people in total. Note that this number does not include those located in the Azores and Madeira.

  • Northern Portugal: the beach in Portugal's Northern region with the highest capacity is Matosinhos, presenting a sandy beach with space for up to 8,300 people;
  • Centre: the highlight is Barra beach in Ílhavo with 11,800 places available on the beach;
  • Tagus and the West: Nazaré is the beach that can receive the most bathers - a total of 17,100. This is also the beach with the highest capacity in mainland Portugal;
  • The Alentejo region: the biggest capacity is Troia-Mar beach, in Grândola - 3.500 people;
  • The Algarve: Monte Gordo, in Vila Real de Santo António, is the beach with the largest capacity to receive people in the Algarve region - a total of 14,800.

Marinha beach in Lagoa in the Algarve also stands out, but for this opposite region, as this part of the Portuguese coastline has the lowest capacity in the whole of mainland Portugal - it can only accommodate 15 bathers this summer. 

For the APA, these capacity limits are "an important aid for the management and safe use of beaches, as it is from these values that information can be given to citizens and the authorities in order to direct appropriate behaviour, in a responsible way". These values are the starting point to signal the state of occupancy of each beach that will be available in the beach info mobile app developed by the APA itself, "Info praia".

Like in 2020, beaches in Portugal will have flags following a traffic light system that will indicate their respective occupancy, with green indicating low (up to 50% of capacity), yellow when occupancy is high (between 50% and 90%) and red when it is full (i.e. over 90%). Note also that those who insist on using a beach with too many people may have to pay a fine, which may vary between 50 and 100 euros.

Ready to find the house of your dreams?

Ready to find the house of your dreams?

Find houses for sale and long term rentals on idealista