Portugal's River Beaches
River beaches are the ideal solution for those looking for a place to cool off, as well as offering peace, tranquillity and a scenery surrounded by greenery and forest. The concern with environmental, safety and accessibility conditions in these places is shown by the growing number of Blue Flag river beaches and by the creation of easier accesses for people with mobility difficulties or leisure areas with diversified services.
In a vast territory which involves more than 100 rivers and streams and 100 bathing areas throughout the country, venture into the best of the Interior of Portugal.
Along the rivers, between valleys and mountains, are small paradises, refuges with natural dams and small waterfalls, where you can enjoy the natural shade of the trees and grassed areas to spread out your towel, rest and sunbath.
For those who enjoy a more active holiday, you can go hiking or explore bike trails and, in this case, the river beaches are ideal for relaxing moments. Some are located in protected areas or near villages or towns of heritage interest, where you can still find traditional arts and crafts and taste the local gastronomy specialities.
Where are they located?
River beaches with Blue Flag and Accessible Flag awards can be found from north to south, although they are more concentrated in central Portugal, where there are also more rivers suitable for activities. Explore the network of Schist Villages' river beaches or stroll through the Historical Villages or the Serra da Estrela Natural Park.
In the Alentejo, the 12 best river beaches all boast excellent quality and a landscape recognised by all. Of the roughly two dozen river beaches in the interior of the Alentejo, five have been awarded the blue flag, which means they are of exceptional quality in terms of both water and infrastructures.
In the Porto and North region, fluvial beaches can be found in the protected areas of the International Douro Natural Park and in the Azibo Lagoon Protected Landscape, as well as along the rivers Lima, Vizela, Coura, Caima and Cávado.
In a lesser-known Algarve, a walk along the course of the Guadiana River to Alcoutim will take you to the Blue Flag beach of Pego Fundo.
Care to be taken in bathing areas
Avoid eating heavy foods as they take longer to digest and cause discomfort on those hot summer days. Prefer something lighter and in small quantities. It is preferable to eat a small quantity several times a day.
Vary the fruit you take and the nuts and dried fruit. Drink the right amount of water. It is important to be hydrated because of the loss of mineral salts and water through perspiration.
There is no doubt that exposure to the sun is beneficial as it allows the synthesis of vitamin D. On the other hand it can be harmful. Don't forget to protect yourself from the sun together with the correct exposure period.
Duration of sun exposure
Do not start your trip to the beach with prolonged sun exposure. Start gradually and moderately. You should avoid exposure between 11 am and 4 pm as this is when UV rays are most intense.
When choosing a sunscreen product, pay attention to your skin type and the length of exposure. Always check the expiry date to avoid the discomfort of those scalding sunburns. To protect the parts of the body most exposed to the sun use sunglasses, hats and shirts.
Prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to heatstroke. Do not enter the water roughly, but gradually to get used to the water temperature. This way you are free from any significant cardiac changes.
You must respect the safety rules in order to make a correct use of the bathing area. On beaches where there is no surveillance, pay attention to the state of the river, the dam or the jetties. It is not worth taking any risks, remember that the purpose of using the beaches is for leisure and fun.
Special precautions to take when using beaches
- Do not throw rubbish into the water as it will accumulate further downstream, the rivers flow from upstream to downstream. It damages the whole surrounding area.
- The morphology of river bottoms varies along the watercourse. Pay special attention to the bottoms. The slopes of dam banks are usually very steep and sometimes the presence of submerged logs is noticeable.
- Whenever you want to go to a dam, be aware of its discharge periods. The river flow may increase significantly as well as its speed.
Também lhe poderá interessar
Fires and Risks