The Centro region of Portugal is known by its diversified landscapes, including high mountains like Serra da Estrela, pine and chestnut forests like Buçaco, and charming Schist villages, but today I will focus on the best beaches of this region. One part of the coast is called "the silver coast", and the name perfectly describes the sand you will find almost anywhere along it. Older people like to compare this coast to the Algarve of fifteen years ago, because it's still unspoilt, and there are not too many tourists.
Even after ten years of living by the Atlantic coast, when I go out to any of the nearby beaches, over and over again I stay speechless because of how peaceful and beautiful they are. This is why I would like to share with you some of my favourite beaches of the Centro region of Portugal. This region stretches for around 250 kilometres, bordering Lisbon area in the south, and Porto in the north.
The first one and my favourite one is the only beach that administratively belongs to Aveiro Municipality. It's São Jacinto beach, in its name-sake village. It's a huge, gloriously tranquil beach, usually completely empty. This is because the village is not easily accessible by public transport. Right next to it there is a Nature park - Dunas de S. Jacinto, with a network of trails of different lengths winding between the pine trees and the dunes. The park might be closed if the temperature is too high, so off-season visits are recommended.
There are many "cute" and "picturesque" beach villages, but Costa Nova is more than that. The village is located on a long and narrow stretch of land, facing on one side the Atlantic and on the other the lagoon (Ria de Aveiro). It's hard to decide on which side to spend time. Before noon, there's more sun on the side of the Lagoon, so it's a perfect place for a morning coffee and a warm "natinha" in café Atlantida. In the afternoon, it's better to stay at the beach and enjoy the sun setting over Europe. Costa Nova is a great spot for water and wind sports, too.
Nazaré, a little fishermen’s town, is the most popular destination of the Silver Coast. Partly, this is due to the giant waves that hit the coast every winter attracting hundreds of surfers. A few times the Guinness World Record for the biggest wave surfed was broken exactly here. Besides surfing, the village offers spectacular views, and interesting cultural activities. It's one of the places where you can still assist the "Arte Xávega" - dragging of the fishing nets spectacle.
This beach with its fine white sand, in a scallop-shaped bay, is considered one of the most beautiful in the country. S. Martinho do Porto is just 10 minutes away from Nazaré, and it's a calmer holiday option, often chosen by families with children. It's a perfect spot for sailing, windsurf or kayak.
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