Portugal’s river beaches are little gems of tranquility tucked into gorges, open along rivers or created in picturesque towns and villages. Each one is unique in its setting and offering, but all bring you into proximity with nature.
The clear river waters in this part of Portugal are often warmer than the sea and with no hidden undercurrents make river beaches perfect for beautiful summer days. The clearly defined swimming areas offer grass or sand for relaxing, sunbathing or playing and ancient trees provide dappled shade in the heat of the day.
Many river beaches have slides, rope swings, jumping platforms and ladders for your enjoyment and most have cafés and picnic areas. In the height of the summer many have a lifeguard on duty and most have a first aid point.
There are many river beaches within 30 minutes of Casa Azul, but within 10 minutes is our favourite, Fragas de São Simão. A twisty drive through the forest, taking you past a wonderful view point, brings you down to where the River Alge has been dammed to help provide several pools of varying depth. It is a beautiful natural setting, with little nooks under the trees to place your towel before swimming in the crystal clear water. There is a communal BBQ area, toilets and a cafe open in summer hours only.
Just a few mile upstream from São Simão and only 15 minutes away is the popular river beach Aldeia Ana de Aviz. Here the riverside has been laid to lawn with picnic benches and some shady trees. For those that are less mobile or steady on their feet, the river, again dammed, has easy access with steps and a slope leading into a flat river bed paved with flat stones. There is ample car parking and a nice summer time cafe.
Swimming in clean, soft river water in natural surroundings is a wonderful experience. You might not want to swim in a pool again!