If you’re planning your Portugal itinerary and heading up the Silver Coast, make sure you plan a stop at the beautiful beach town of Foz do Arelho, Portugal.
Portugal is a mecca for outdoor lovers with miles of beaches that offer stunning Atlantic ocean views. What makes Foz do Arelho so special is that it’s home to a picture perfect silver coast beach and Óbidos Lagoon.
We found Foz do Arelho beach by accident on a scouting trip when we were doing a scouting trip for our move to Portugal.
With its white-washed houses, cobblestone streets, long wooden beach walkways and gorgeous stretch of sand, Foz do Arelho is one of the best Portugal beach towns.
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Where is Foz do Arelho, Portugal?
Foz do Arelho is a coastal fishing village located on the Silver Coast in Portugal, about 1 hour north of Lisbon.
It sits at the mouth of the Óbidos lagoon, one of Europe’s largest saltwater lagoons, and is only 20 minutes from Óbidos Castle and 15 minutes from Caldas da Rainha.
Óbidos Lagoon (Lagoa de Óbidos) is a huge tranquil estuary that is separated from the Atlantic ocean by a beautiful white sand bar that is called Praia da Foz do Arelho.
The best way to get to Foz do Arelho is by car, as it’s off the beaten path – making it a hidden gem. We have used Discover Cars for multiple car rentals in Portugal for the best price.
Weather & Best Time to Visit Foz do Arelho
The busiest time of year is July and especially August when Portuguese families head to the beaches.
The temperatures are never above 80 F (26 C) and there’s often a breeze that cools it off even more. It’s a welcome respite from Lisbon.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can practically have the beach to yourself during the winter.
Winter, temperatures are in the 50s (14 C) and while there are rainy days, there are perfect sunny days too.
In fact. we’ve only been to Foz during the off season and it has been gorgeous weather every time.
WINTER: The Atlantic Ocean is quite chilly. The coldest months are February and March when the water temperature goes as low as 57 F (14 C). You need a full 4/3 mm wetsuit and probably booties.
SUMMER: The warmest month is August when water temperature warm up as high as 72 F (22 C). It’s still cold but can be refreshing on a hot day.
Best Things to Do in Foz do Arelho, Portugal
Foz do Arelho has something for everyone! Whether you’re looking for some fun in the sun or just want to take it easy and enjoy a leisurely stroll through town, there are plenty of activities available.
You can go swimming or sunbathing on the beach, rent a paddle board or boat, explore the trails around Óbidos lagoon by bike, or even try your hand at bird watching.
Here are some of the best things to do in Foz do Arelho.
Swimming & Sunbathing
If it’s the traditional beach experience you’re after, Foz do Arelho has exactly what you’re looking for. This is just about the widest, prettiest white sand beach you’ll find,
It’s breathtakingly beautiful being flanked by the Atlantic Ocean and Óbidos Lagoon. There is plenty of room to stretch out and catch some rays.
While the ocean is always cold, the saltwater lagoon is much warmer and calmer so it’s perfect for kids and adults alike. There is still a current so you have to be careful.
Many Portuguese families bring beach umbrellas and a wind screen to block the wind and blowing sand on a gusty day.
Kiteboarding in Foz do Arelho Portugal
On a windy day, one of the first things you’ll notice on Praia da Foz do Arelho are the colorful kiteboarding sails.
Óbidos lagoon and the Atlantic ocean are a big draw in Europe for kite surfers.
Wind conditions here make this spot an all year round kite surfing destination for beginners and experts.
For a beginners lesson, The Kitesurf Lodge has instructors that will teach you how to get airborne and have an absolute blast.
Surfing at Praia da Foz do Arelho
If you’re into surfing or want to learn how to surf, Foz do Arehlo’s long white sand beaches are the perfect playground.
The waves break all along Praia da Foz do Arehlo which is the main beach.
Beginners will conveniently find the smallest waves in the summer.
From October through April, you can expect bigger waves that are good for more experienced surfers.
Kayaking in Óbidos Lagoon
If you want to take a kayaking tour or even a motorized boat tour in Óbidos Lagoon, Intertidal – Natureza & Aventura – Outdoor Experiences is one of the top outfitters.
You can also bring your own inflatable kayak or any other water equipment you may have.
The lagoon is the best environment for a great kayaking experience. When you take a guided tour, you’ll learn about the lagoon and see some of the flora and fauna that make it special.
If you are just looking for a fun water activity, the crystal clear lagoon and slight current are the perfect ingredients for your kayaking excursion.
Whether you’re a first timer or a hard core kayaker, the lagoon won’t let you down. Enjoy your kayaking adventure solo, tandem or as a group activity.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding
The lagoon is a haven for stand up paddle boarding. It’s so big that you can spend hours exploring it on your paddle board.
Most people will stop at different parts of the beach along the way. You can also step out on the little islands that are created by the current.
The shallow smooth waterway makes this activity fun while you’re getting a full body workout. Test your balance, strength and stamina on the water.
For lessons or equipment rentals, Funpolis Adventure has everything you need.
Enjoy a Drink or Meal at one of the Seaside Cafes
While visiting this charming coastal town, make sure to eat at a seafood restaurant.
There are several to choose from right next to the beach that have mouthwatering menus and some of the freshest seafood right off of the local fishing boats.
Here are a few of the best options.
- Cocos Beach Club – This cute little beach cafe with a healthy food vibe serves up everything from burgers and seafood to vegetarian dishes.
- Cais da Praia – great seafood with views to match and a perfect place for an afternoon cocktail.
- Tibino Casa de Petiscos – another very popular local seafood restaurant.
The annual Foz do Arelho Seafood Festival takes place at the beginning of summer and is a real treat.
Do a Day Trip to Óbidos Castle
Since there’s an impressive ancient medieval castle dating back to the 9th century, only a 20 minutes drive from Foz do Arehlo, you just have to go see it!
Óbidos Castle is a massive medieval fortress perched on a hill, with the cutest village inside.
Enter the charming walled town through the illustrious Porta da Vila, where you’ll get a great view of the beautiful azejulo adorned balcony gracefully perched above. It’s such a nice way to be welcomed.
Once inside, wander around the cobblestone streets where you’ll find shops with ceramics, olive oil, handmade goods and hidden treasures, perfect to purchase a souvenir or two.
One thing you’re sure to notice are the multiple spots where you can try a shot of ginja liquor (cherry flavored) served in a chocolate cup.
This chocolate, cherry combination is a favorite of anyone with a sweet tooth.
Last but definitely not least, the best thing to do is take a stroll along the ancient castle walls, where breathtaking views await around every corner.
If you can time your visit to enjoy one of the local festivals; a culmination of colorful traditions, music, food, and cheer, it adds an unforgettable touch to an already captivating adventure.
Óbidos Castle is touristy but completely worth a visit. Even our boys, who are in their 20’s, loved it!
How to Get to Foz do Arelho From Lisbon
There are multiple ways to get to Foz do Arelho but the best is to drive yourself.
However, even if you don’t have a car, don’t miss the opportunity to see one of the prettiest beaches in Portugal.
The Quickest & Best Option:
Since Foz do Arelho is off the tourist track, the easiest way to get there is to rent a car and drive.
The drive time from Lisbon takes about 70 minutes via toll roads.
Once you arrive in Foz do Arelho, parking is available along multiple beach areas in town.
Take the Fast Green Bus (Rapida Verde) bus from Lisbon (C. Grande Terminal) to Obidos and then a taxi to Foz do Arelho.
The bus ride is approximately 60 minutes and an adult ticket costs 8.60€. The taxi ride from Óbidos is approximately 20 minutes and the cost is approximately 15€. Here is the bus schedule.
Take a private guided tour. This is another good option because your driver will pick you up from your hotel in Lisbon and take you to see multiples sightseeing spots along the Silver Coast.
It’s a great day trip from Lisbon and you will definitely make the most of your time in Portugal that way.
Where to Stay in Foz do Arelho Portugal
It’s surprising that there aren’t any large hotels located in Foz Do Arelho but it’s also what probably keeps it so pristine.
There are some great rentals though and it’s a nice place to stay with the family.
If you prefer a resort, you can stay on the opposite side of the lagoon in Vau. The best places are recommended below.
Best Places to Stay in Foz do Arelho
- Quinta da Foz (9.2) – if you want an authentic experience, stay in this 16th century traditional Portuguese farm. They offer rooms and apartments and guests love the experience.
- Silver Coast – Casa do Oceano (9.3) – a well appointed one bedroom apartment with a queen bedroom and sofa bed in the living area. Enjoy gorgeous ocean view sunsets from the balcony, take a swim in the pool or relax in the hot tub.
- Foz – West Shore Retreat (8.5) – a nicely decorated 2 bedroom apartment that sleeps up to 6 people with a full kitchen, large terrace and water views. There’s a garage for parking and laundry facilities too.
Best Resorts on the Opposite Side of Óbidos Lagoon
On the opposite side of Óbidos lagoon, you can stay in a big, fabulous resort hotel with golf courses. You can walk down to the beach and cross over the lagoon to Foz when the tide is low.
You can also ride bikes or drive and park closer to the beach if you don’t want to walk very far.
- West Cliffs Golf Villas (9) – choose from 1-4 bedroom villas next to a golf course.
- Royal Obidos Spa & Golf Resort (8.7) – beautifully decorated rooms, suites and apartments with amazing ocean or garden views. Full spa, fitness center and golf course.
- Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf & Beach Resort (9.2) – a little further south, this resort is one of the most popular on the silver coast. It’s positioned more in the middle of Foz and Peniche on a golf course.
Final Thoughts About Foz Do Arelho, Portugal
If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience full of adventure and relaxation in equal measure, then Foz do Arelho, Portugal is for you.
With its beautiful beaches and scenery combined with plenty of activities to keep you busy day or night, it’s no wonder why this is one of the best beach towns in Portugal that continues to draw travelers from far and wide!
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