- Water sports
- Open air
Today all roads lead to the Espinho beaches. The city boasts around 8kilometres of beaches and the most popular ones are Azul beach,Baía beach and Seca beach. The mild climate, extensive sands andease of accesses (the railway station is nearby) have made Espinho amajor bathing resort for the inhabitants of the Porto region.
In Espinho there are two beaches that stand out on the surfing mapin the north: Azul beach and Baía beach. Both boast waves that canbe surfed by all kinds of surfers, even inexperienced ones.
On Baía beach you'll find one of the "must" waves on the Portuguesesurfing route map: the "Direita do Casino" (Casio Right-hander). Asits name suggests, it is a wave that ends in tubular shape from rightto left and is formed on the beach which is right opposite EspinhoCasino. Thanks to its fame, it hosts several stages of surfing andbody boarding championships which are carried out on this beach andat weekends in summer and winter there are always lots of surfers onBaía beach.
On Azul beach the waves end in tubular shape from left to right whichis why the waves are called"lefthanders". When the wave and windconditions are just right, this wave bowls over surfer and bodyboarder aficionados. In any case, the breakwaters delimiting thebeach ensure surfing and body boarding conditions all the year round.
You will like
- Going on a walk on the Gaia-Espinho promenade which runs across the dunes of the beaches in these boroughs. You simplymust pay a visit to the Senhor da Pedra beach and take a look at the chapel located on the sands of the shore.
- Relaxing in the shade of the City Park after exercising in the sea.
- The train ride between Porto and Espinho where the sea appears on the horizon for a large part of the journey.
In harmony with nature
After a few hours fun in the sea it's time to relax and recharge yourbatteries. Taste the famous Espinho shrimp whose unique taste isrecognised by the inhabitants of the region. For seafood lovers there'smore to try out: lobsters, crayfish or crabs, usually boiled.
However,you're best bet is to start off with a fish soup, one of the city'sspecialities.
After lunch, return to Porto to be back alongside nature again. Thistime it won't be marine flora and fauna, but rather that to be found inthe gardens of the Serralves Foundation. This is one of the mostimportant Portuguese cultural institutions and the Foundation spacehouses the Serralves Contemporary Art Museum, the Serralves Houseand the Park.
Start off your visit in the Park and discover gardens of French andEnglish influence, small lakes and the animals that inhabit the treesof many species, including some very Portuguese ones like the CorkOak and the Chestnut Tree. With the peace of mind and scenariosoffered by the Park, it's as if we weren't even in the city.
What you need to know
- Espinho and Porto have several beaches awarded the European blue flag where the water quality is duly proven by the official institutions.
- Some beaches are provided with showers and first-aid posts. Access to people with reduced mobility is also ensured onseveral beaches.
- The streets of Espinho have no names, but numbers. The streets parallel to the beaches have even numbers, theperpendicular ones have odd numbers.
- FEST - Festival Novos Realizadores Novos Filmes (New Directors New Films Festival) celebrates filmmakers at the startof their careers. Every year Espinho hosts the festival whichpresents diverse competing films, promotes workshops andorganises the Pitching Forum where the selected film-makingprojects are shown to a group of investors and producers.
- The city of Espinho is situated around 30 kilometres from the city of Porto. Access to the city is easy by rail or road
Cultural and historical wealth
Despite its beaches with enticing waves, the city of Espinho is not allabout the sea. Its heritage is huge but it is worth highlighting theCastro do Covil (hill fortress) situated in the town of Paramos andwhose origin dates back to the Iron Age. Here you will find 13circular, schist structures and during the archaeological excavationsfragments of indigenous ceramics were found which allowed thereconstruction of pots, pans and bowls, amongst other utensils. Theremains were also found of household and craft activities such asmilling, weaving, fishing and pottery.
In the city of Porto you simply must pay a visit to the iconic Casa deSerralves, a major example of art deco style and the ContemporaryArt Museum which puts on regular exhibitions by national andinternational artists. The museum was designed by Siza Vieira, aPortuguese architect awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1992 so it's wellworth a taking a longer look at the building.
Leave Serralves and go in the direction of the City Park along Avenidada Boavista. This is the largest park in the city: it has 83 hectares ofgreen areas; sports' facilities; lakes and some footpaths. What willplease you most is the fact that the City Park is located rightalongside the International beach, the best beach in the city forsurfing/body boarding.
Round your day off having dinner in a restaurant along the coastalroad. Boasting a sea view, savour a grilled fish (sea bass, sea breamand sardine are all good choices) or one of the many Portuguese cod-based dishes.
What to do
- Try out a surfing or body boarding class in safety and guided by professionals from schools in the region.
- Savour the local gastronomy, particularly the fish dishes. Discover the remains of the first civilisations to live in the Espinho area on a visit to Castro de Ovil.
- Relax in harmony with nature and art at the Serralves Foundation.
Back to the sea
After a peaceful night and a nutritious breakfast, it's time to head offto the International Beach. Right alongside is Matosinhos beach whichcan be reached via the sands or on the broad promenade of thecoastal road.
These beaches are the most popular for surfing and body boarding inthe city of Porto. This is why there are several schools renting outmaterial and offering surfing or body boarding classes. At weekendsthe beaches are packed out by bathers and surfers.
Matosinhos beach is usually chosen by less experienced surfers as thebreakwater ensures that the sea is calmer. The International beach isrecommended for slightly more experienced surfers: here there aresome rocks and the waves are stronger and higher.
After intense activity in the sea, take a light lunch in the beachrestaurants. There's lots to choose from, from sandwiches to grilledfish. If you're a greedy guts, how about an ice cream?
How to get there
There are several direct connections to the city of Porto. If you'retaking a low cost option you can fly from London (Stansted andGatwick), Birmingham, Paris (Beauvais, Orly, Vatry and Charles deGaulle), Marseille, Dole, Lille, Strasbourg, Tours, St. Etienne,Bordeaux, Lyon, Nantes, Madrid, Barcelona El Prat, Valencia, MilanBergamo, Rome Ciampino, Brussels (Charleroi and Zaventem),Eindhoven, Maastricht, Amsterdam, Geneva, Basel/Mulhouse,Dortmund, Frankfurt Hahn, Karlsruhe Baden, Nuremberg, HamburgLübeck, Munich Memmingen and Dusseldorf Weeze.In summer there are low cost companies flying from Liverpool,Dublin, Bologna, Toulouse, Clermont Ferrand, Carcassonne, LaRochelle, Limoges, Rennes, Las Palmas, Palma de Majorca, Tenerifeand Bremen.With the traditional airlines you can fly to Porto from London (Gatwickand Heathrow), Madrid, Barcelona, Munich, Frankfurt and Paris Orly,Caracas, Geneva, Luxembourg, Amsterdam, Milan Malpensa, Luanda,Zurich, New York, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brussels Zaventem,Rome Fiumicino, Toronto and Luanda. In summer you can also flyfrom Montreal, Menorca, Brest and Brive.
At Francisco Sá Carneiro International Airport take the undergroundto get to the city centre. The trip only takes 30 minutes.Espinho is easily accessible from Porto centre.
If you take the train,you can leave from São Bento or Campanhã station and the trip takesless than 30 minutes. By road, you can get there via the A1 and theA29. If you don't wish to hire a car, buses leave from the centre ofPorto to Espinho.