Sitting north of Porto on Portugal’s Atlantic coast, Matosinhos is the closest beach to the city, an easy and pleasant two-hour walk along the banks of the River Douro towards its estuary. At the southern end of the beach stands the squat Fort of São Francisco do Queijo, built in the 17th century as a turreted defence castle; to the north there is a busy container port. The broad sandy beach sweeps around the bay, backed by a promenade dotted with contemporary sculpture and low-rise apartment blocks as well as dozens of exceptional seafood restaurants. In summer the sands are packed with local Porto families and lifeguards are constantly on duty; there are usually sporting activities such as volleyball and soccer on the beach, as well as water-sports equipment for hire and lessons on offer. Thanks to its sandy shoreline, Matosinhosis is also the most popular and consistently good surfing beach around Porto, with the harbor wall at the north end of the beach providing shelter and the shelving sand diluting the power of the Atlantic rollers.
Matosinhos beach is a 15-minute Metro ride from the center of Porto; take the blue Metro line to Matosinhos Sul (a single ticket costs €1.50). From here the beach is a five-minute walk. Otherwise take bus No. 500 from Praça da Liberdade in the city center (a single ticket costs €1.50).