You can walk and can handle going up a few stairs.
Maximum of 15 steps (1 floor up) to reach the accommodation or manoeuvre into it.
You can only handle one step at a time.
The accommodation is quite accessible, can suit wheelchair users.
You need a fully accessible accommodation.
Maximum thresholds of 3 cm (1 inch), suits wheelchair users.
The Best Wheelchair Accessible Beaches in Portugal
Portugal is an amazing destination for visiting the beach, as there are so many opportunities to visit the water, from wide open beaches to small secret coves that may be more of a local hotspot. Portugal offers over 200 wheelchair accessible beaches, many of which are marked with a white flag with a blue wheelchair accessible logo to make it easy to identify the accessibility of the space. These beaches have accessible parking, pedestrian access, walkways on the beach, and accessible facilities.
The following 5 beaches were chosen as some of the best wheelchair accessible beaches in Portugal –
Best Wheelchair Accessible Beaches in Portugal
1: Praia de Alvor in The Algarve
Praia de Alvor has a wooden boardwalk style pathway across the sand, which makes it easy for a wheelchair user to enjoy the beach without needing a specific sand or beach wheelchair. The wooden pathway follows much of the waterfront the beach occupies for a good distance from the water, giving everyone a space to spend time and enjoy the beach.
The Algarve has many beaches, but the most popular beach is not wheelchair accessible, so Praia de Alvor is a great alternative for those visiting the region and looking for a beach to spend a few hours. There are many beach chairs and umbrellas available in the sand, but wheelchair users may need to transfer to a beach wheelchair and then transfer to the lounge chair if their main wheelchair is not all-terrain.
2: Praia da Aguda near Porto
Another beach with a similar style and accessibility profile is Praia da Aguda near Porto. This beach is a wide stretch of sand with a large waterfront space, primarily for basking in the sun while laying in the sand. There are some spaces for lounge chairs and umbrellas, but the main draw is the wide sandy beach. Near the grassline, away from the water’s edge, there are wooden boardwalks for following the shoreline at a distance.
This beach is a great option for those that want to visit the beach without getting sandy or wet, as the boardwalk is a distance away from the water and still gives visitors a chance to enjoy the breeze and the view while being close to the shopping portion of the shoreline.
3: Praia da Luz in Lagos
Praia da Luz in Lagos was chosen for its paved, tiled boardwalk that wraps around the beach, giving the whole space a resort vibe. There are palm trees lining the path, along with plenty of benches so visitors can stop and enjoy the view overlooking the ocean as well as the beach itself. The strip of sandy beach is a bit smaller than the previous two beaches on this list, but it provides an intimate space to get plenty of sun. The beach is wedge shaped and doesn’t have any wooden boardwalks, so renting a beach wheelchair is a must here.
This is a great beach for visitors looking for more of a calm water’s bay, as this location is known for its kayaking and diving if you want a space to enjoy the beach as well as have fun on the water. There are a variety of restaurants and shops surrounding the beach, giving everyone space to get out of the sun, take it slow, and spend a whole afternoon near the water.
4: Praia do Alvor Nascente Tres Irmaos in Portimao
This beach mixes the bay waters with a wide stretch of beach, becoming a very popular beach for visitors and locals alike. There are wooden boardwalks along the sandy edge where the town meets the sand, giving everyone solid space to move above the sand. The sand dunes in this area are protected so it’s important to stay on the paths as much as possible. On the large stretch of sand leading to the waterline, there are lounge chairs with hammock style umbrellas above, giving some shade. Closer to the water, many people set up towels or blankets and umbrellas for classic beach-going recreation.
This is an accessible beach with accessible facilities, but a beach wheelchair and amphibious wheelchair will be needed to explore beyond the boardwalk. The beach is popular throughout the summer, as it also experiences the tides, giving more hard packed sand to investigate during low tide.
5: Praia de Vale do Lobo in Loule
The last beach on the list is Praia de Vale Do Lobo in Loule, known as a more popular tourist destination. This location is near many tourist complexes, and this continues into the beach as well with the beach decorated with grassy style umbrellas for a tropical resort vibe. Simple lounge chairs dot the beach, and the wooden boardwalks are closer to the sand compared to other beaches on the list. There are also wooden boardwalks that stretch from the back to the front of the beach, giving everyone a secure space to move through the sand to the water’s edge.
The beach is more narrow than others on the list, and many measures are being taken to help preserve and extend the beach if possible. Due to the beach being smaller, it may be more crowded, but the area is known for its off-beach activities such as golf, so if you’re staying in the area be sure to check out this beach as the crowd level may fluctuate with the weather.
Portugal is one of the many destinations that are increasing their beach accessibility over time. There are hundreds of wheelchair accessible beaches in Portugal, most of which have wooden boardwalks for moving through the sand, and wheelchair accessible facilities. The availability of beach wheelchairs depends on the location, but most beaches have space to at least enjoy the water from afar.
Check out more of our blog posts!
- An Accessible Guide to Porto, Portugal: What to See and How to Get Around
- An Accessible Guide to Lisbon, Portugal: What to see and how to get around
- 8 of the Top Wheelchair Accessible European Beaches
- Top 5 Wheelchair Accessible Beaches in Spain
About the Author:
Cory Lee is a wheelchair user, travel addict, and accessible travel writer. On his blog, Curb Free with Cory Lee, he hopes to inspire others to roll out of their comfort zones and see all the beauty our world has to offer.
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