Discover the Natural Beach of Northern Portugal

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So you’re in Porto, and you start heading north. What’s up there? You’ve probably heard about Santiago, and maybe about making your way through Galicia to Bilbao. But once you drop big name cities and Michigan star restaurants there’s a whole beautiful world waiting to be discovered. This photo was taken in Vila Praia do Âncora, a beach town in northern Portugal about a 45 minutes from Porto and 10 minutes from Viana do Castelo. There are 3 beaches in a row in this area that are all amazing. Massive sand dunes, not crowded, super clean, big waves. It’s a real beach experience, and that’s coming from me someone who lives on one of the most desirable beaches on the planet.

Sometimes the peace and quite of a more nature preserved beach is just what you need. If that’s the case Praia Âncora is a great place to visit. A short drive or longlong walk to the south is Afife, a very popular surf sport, even more secluded than Âncora but remote in amenities. To the north you can walk along the Santiago trail to Moledo, a small beach town know for great waves, modern architecture beach houses, and a select group of excellent restaurants approved by the locals who own them.

You will not find this beach on any Lonely Planet guides or stuff like that. But trust me, if your want the real Portugal experience this is one of the places to go. Do you know where they get the fish for at the restaurants here? From the fisherman who go out at midnight and come back at 3 am with a fresh all. Their Portuguese wives start selling the daily catch at the municipal fish market by the pier at 4 am! How do I know? Because I’ve stayed up all night and seen the whole process happen. This is real life, I seriously get confused when I see first world people living so contently like this. At least we can enjoy this lifestyle on vacation as we spend our extra savings to get a taste of our ancestral heritage or historical interest.