Central Portugal

35 Cool Swimming Spots in Central Portugal

Get to know 35 cool swimming spots in Central Portugal! Central Portugal spans from the bustling university town of Coimbra, down to Lisbon. In between you’ll find many a beautiful town including the historical Xisto villages. Between cities and nature there is much to see and do, and the region is fast becoming a popular destination for hikers, who love the untouched mountains trails! You may even want to try kayaking in this region! There is also an abundance of river beaches, lagoons and waterfalls to be discovered, so if you haven’t heard of these hidden gems, read on!


By far one of our favorite locations for river beaches and waterfalls! The capital of the district, Coimbra, is a great location to spend your holiday, as there is so much to see and do, including the historical village of Piodao! If you want to focus your attention on nature, we recommend staying in the Arganil area. It’s close to many river beaches and waterfalls, though we do recommend hiring a car to get around.

1. Foz d Egua – Arganil

Though it’s hard to choose a favorite, this is one of the most beautiful river beaches in Portugal! With lovely moss covered stone bridges, it’ll make you feel like you have been transported back in time!

2. Peneda River Beach – Gois

Between the Acor and Lousa mountains lies the little river beach of Peneda. A pretty location with on site restaurant and bar, which is perfect for those who want a bit of comfort in natural surroundings. It even has its own little mini island!

3. Avo River Beach – Oliveira do Hospital

Another top river beach in the area! With plenty of grassy areas for lounging, and even a river fed wading pool for the kids, this is a top family friendly location!

4. Fraga da Pena Waterfall – Arganil

A bit hidden in the Acor mountains, but easily accessible by car, and only a 200 meter walk after parking.  Approximately a 20 meter waterfall that is one of the top places to visit in the region!

5. Malhada Cha – Arganil

The highest of river beaches at over 800 meters! You’ll dip into crystaline waters from the nearby springs of the Ceira River

6. Pedra da Ferida Waterfall – Penela

Not the easiest to reach, but well worth the beautiful surrounding landscapes! If you’re not really into hiking, you may want to give this one a miss. But if you are a bit of an adventurous streak and like a challenge, this is a waterfall you won’t want to miss!

7. Piodao River Beach – Arganil

In the heart of the historical village of Piodao, you’ll find a lovely little river pool. Built with on site snack bar and showers, it’s a great family friendly option!

8. Poco da Cesta – Arganil

This makes our list for being a true work of nature! Though it is quite tricky to reach and you need to be cautious of the slippery rocks, it does make for a fantastic swimming experience in nature!

9. Poco do Pujadoro – Arganil

By the Ceia River, in an area away from it all, you’ll find this lovely natural river beach. After taking a dirt road down to the river, you’ll find fantastic clear waters surrounded by lush greenery

10. Sao Giao – Oliveira do Hospital

In the heart of Serra da Estrela, you’ll find a great option for families! You can enjoy natural surroundings with the comfort of vast green grass to lounge on and even a picnic area!

11. Senhora da Piedade – Oliveira do Hospital

On the slopes of the Lousa mountains, you’ll find this lovely swimming spot surrounded by lush greenery and even a castle! The entire area is paved in shale whih makes for easy access. It also has a kiddie pool for the little ones!

12. Coja River Beach – Arganil

This is a tiny river beach, but it makes our list due to the lovely little surrounding bridges and easy access.

13. Pomares River Beach – Arganil

This is a tiny river beach, but it makes our list due to the lovely little surrounding bridges and easy access.

14. Alvoco das Varzeas – Oliveira do Hospital

A great area to relax and refresh! Not only does it offer you clear waters to swim in, but you will also get wonderful views of the mountains of Serra da Estrela… and even a 16th centurty medieval bridge!

15. Cabreira – Gois

A mix of waterfall and river beach! A magical location with crystalline waters falling from the mountain create a calm and relaxing atmosphere. If you’re into hiking, there are a few trails around the river where you can go exploring

16. Cabril da Ceira – Lousa

A spectacular swimming spot hidden in the Lousa mountains! Very easy to access but it is a wild natural beach, so you won’t find any bathrooms or snack bars here

Castelo Branco

The district of Castelo Branco is home to four of the famous Historical villages. A district full of history and culture, you can explore castles, churches and monuments. If you’re on the hunt for spectacular natural surroundings, we recommend staying in Serta. Serta is a lovely town occupied in large part by the Alvelos Mountains, also known as the Queen’s Head. You’ll find some pretty amazing swimming spots in the town and the surrounding areas won’t take you more than about an hour’s drive to reach. Here are our top locations to cool off in the summer

17. Bostelim River – Vila de Rei

An excellent option if you are traveling with children as you will find everything you need for a wonderful day swimming in the river!

18. Pego da Penha Garcia – Idanha-a-Nova

Nature and more! This amazing river beach is surrounded in rocks with it’s own lovely little waterfall. An almost wild beach, you’ll be able to walk along trails and discover fossils dating back to 480 million years!

19. Froia River Beach – Proenca-a-Nova

Set in a beautiful location with lush greenery, this is yet another fantastic option for families! with on site cafe, picnic area and also surrounding walking trails, you’ll be able to enjoy a full day of relaxation!

20. Lavacolhos River Beach – Fundao

A scenic river beach with lots of grassy areas to lounge about! With clear waters and on site bar and playground, it’s a great place to visit with the kids!

21. Marmeleiro – Serta

A unique river beach due to its surrounding vegetation which includes fig trees! It is family friendly as it offers a kiddie pool, and you can walk around the surrounding area in search of nearby windmills!

22. Paul – Covilha

With beautiful rock formations all around, along with sparkling cascades, this is a location you won’t want to miss! Right alongside the Serra da Estrela Natural Reserve, in the village of Paul, an oasis that is different from the rest!

23. Penedo Furado Waterfall – Vila de Rei

An amazing area catering to those looking for a bit of adventure and also those who prefer a bit of relaxation. Walk along the wooden trail leading you to a lovely little waterfall and river beach. If you’re into hiking, you can continue on and explore the natural surroundings!

24. Lagoa das Salgadeiras – Covilha

An incredible lagoon at almost 2000 meters high in the Serra da Estrela mountains! The surrounding rocks were molded by ice in the winter offering you a incredible swimming experience!

25. Pego das Cancelas – Vila de Rei

Tuck into nature with a river beach that also offers you wild hiking trails! You can also explore the nearby bridge that unites three surrounding counties!

26. Troviscal River Beach – Serta

Far from local towns, immerse yourself in the natural surroundings of the Serta stream! With picnic area and even grill area, it makes for a wonderful day out with the family


A district famous for locations such as Nazare, Alcobaca and Caldas da Rainha and Obidos among others. It’s perfect for a summer holiday as you can enjoy a wonderful mix of history, culture, the silver coast beaches and prime golfing spots! It is also home to some of the loveliest river beaches and waterfalls! Here are our top places to swim in the district of Leiria

27. Ana de Aviz – Figueiro dos Vinhos

A lovely river beach with plenty of greenery and lots of lounging space. It almost feels more like a resort with a local spa and onsite bar.

28. Fragas de Sao Simao – Figueiro dos Vinhos

A scenic river beach easily accessible and complete with a refreshing waterfall! Complete with picnic area and surrounding walking trails for exploring nature!

29. Poco Corga – Castanheira de Pera

Surrounded by shady trees and easily accessible, this river beach is a lovely option for a lazy day by the water. The surrounding area includes a picnic spot as well as the Lagar do Corga Museum

30. Mosteiro River Beach – Pedrogao Grande

A  beautiful location with river swimming a cute little waterfall! A calm environment with an on site bar for a refreshing drink!

31. Foz do Arelho – Caldas da Rainha

A two in one experience, as you can enjoy the river and sea simultaneously!  On one side a fantastic sea beach and on the other, the spectacular Obidos Lagoon! Definitely one of the most beautiful locations on the Silver Coast!


A district known as the the capital of gothic Portugal, you know you’re in for amazing monuments and architecture! Also a region known for its delicious wine, it’s a region that is still a bit unexplored by toursits. It’s an area you can explore from Lisbon as by car, it will only take you a little over an hour, so don’t miss out! Here are some fun places to swim in the area

32. Agroal – Ourem

A very popular bathing spot in the summer, it is said that the cool waters of the river offer medicinal properties! With a cute little man made rock pool and clear river waters, it can get a bit busy, so make sure you get there early!

33. Olhos de Agua – Alcanena

A pretty little river beach with nice clean water, although it can be quite cold! You’ll also find on site picnic area complete with BBQ, or as an alternative, an onsite snack bar!


Lisbon is known as a busy city and top tourist location to visit when in Portugal! It is also close to nature, so you can enjoy a bit of both while staying in Lisbon. Though the beaches are many, and all quite beautiful, particularly in Sintra, there are a couple of interesting bathing spots you may want to check out if you’re in the area

34. Rio Mourao Waterfall – Sintra

In the heart of Sintra, you will find the beautiful Mourao River Waterfall! Surrounded by unusually shaped rocks, this 10 meter waterfall forms a small natural lake that offers you a unique wild bathing experience not far from Lisbon!

35. Ribeira das Naus

We couldn’t end this post without a nod to this urban beach right in the center of Lisbon! Though not suitable for swimming, it still draws crowds on a hot summer day. Along the waterfront by Praca do Comercio, you’ll also find some colorful stone sculptures peeking through the water!

Do you know of any more amazing swimming spots in Central Portugal? Drop a comment and let us know!