The first thought that enters our minds when the weather begins to warm up a little bit is going to the beach for the day. However, as most beaches do not allow dogs, we frequently have to leave them at home. But the good news is that there are a few guarded beaches that do allow pets, but always with some restrictions.

According to the law, “it is essential to guarantee the hygiene, health, well-being, and safety of animals, as well as insurance in the case of dogs of potentially dangerous breeds”. As the Consumer Protection (DECO) explains, in order for your dog to enter a beach it must “have a chip and be properly legal”.

It is also recommended that the keeper possess the Companion Animal Identification Document (DIAC) or Companion Animal Passport (PAC). Moreover, do remember that collecting the animal's waste is mandatory, and carrying bags for this purpose is highly recommended.

A list of pet-friendly beaches, shared by Forever Young, can be found below:

1. Praia do Porto da Areia Norte - Peniche: Established in August 2016, this beach was the nation's first swimming location to permit dogs to access a beach. The beach features waste collection bag dispensers and written guidelines for the dog’s owners to follow.

2. Praia do Coral - Viana do Castelo: Praia do Coral in Viana do Castelo is a long sandy beach with few waves since it is situated between two jetties, which means the waters are usually calm. This pet-friendly beach opened in June 2017.

3. Praia Suave Mar - Esposende: The large sandy beach of Praia Suave Mar in Esposende was opened in July 2018 as part of the Municipal Strategic Plan for the Promotion of Animal Welfare in the municipality. It offers easy access, waste bag dispensers, drinking fountains, and a cleaning circuit.

4. Praia da Ramalha Sul - Esposende: The second beach in the area to permit dogs on the sand is Praia da Ramalha Sul in Esposende, which opened in July of 2018. Waste bag dispensers and dog drinking fountains are also available at this beach.

5. Praia das Amoreiras - Torres Vedras: This beach located in Torres Vedras was designated as a pet-friendly area in 2021 and now has water fountains, waste bag dispensers, and compact dog kennels in a variety of colours for four-legged companions to benefit from.

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6. Praia dos Pescadores - Oeiras: This beach, which has been designated as pet-friendly since June 2020, features drinking fountains, a waste bag dispenser, and a designated space for individuals who are spending the day at the beach with their dogs.

7. Praia das Furnas (Rio) – Vila Nova de Milfontes: Praia das Furnas (in the river area), located in the Alentejo region, is the only pet-friendly beach below Greater Lisbon. It is currently open for trial use.

8. Praia do Brito – Vila Nova de Gaia: This northern beach stands out for having fun obstacles for the dogs to enjoy. The beach has been designated as a pet-friendly beach since 2022.

Keep in mind that there are regulations in place regardless of whether the beaches allow pets or not. Dogs are typically not allowed on concessioned beaches during the bathing season, according to Consumer Protection (DECO). As DECO advises it is a good idea to check the signage at the entry or read the notice for the beach if you are planning to visit a specific beach. On the other hand, “non-licensed beaches can be visited by dogs throughout the year, as long as there is no signage from the city council indicating otherwise”, DECO states.

“In public spaces, dogs must be on a collar (indicating the name and contact details of the keeper) or on a harness, requirements that are cumulative in the case of dogs of potentially dangerous breeds” DECO explains, adding that unless “they walk on a leash, dogs are required to carry a muzzle and be accompanied by the keeper”. Now, grab your dog and go on and try one of these pet-friendly beaches.