May 22nd, 2020
Modern social and sport opportunities in Portugal urban beaches
Portugal is home to some truly epic beach scenery with its golden sands studded with incredible cliffs, rock formations and waves perfect for surfers. In addition Portugal has some unique urban beach spots for active people as well – unique wakeboarding opprtunities and even the largest artificial beach in Europe. Take a look – and when it will be safe – we invite you to visit these places for your active beach stays.
River Beach of Castanheira, also known as “Lago Azul”, is one of the five river beaches located at the Castelo de Bode Dam. This beach has a cable park and has been the stage of several wakeboard World Championships since 2015, making this one of the most famous beaches between the other four:
- Dornes River Beach
- Aldeia do Mato River Beach
- Trízio River Beach
- Fernadaires River Beach
Castelo de Bode is the second largest lake in Portugal, situated west of Tomar, north of Abrantes and east of Vila do Rei. It is an artificial lake, located in the Zêzere river.
Wakeboard has been the major attraction in Castelo de Bode Dam. On June 2016, during the Nautique European Pro/Am world’s first wakeboard resort was set. “Wakeboard Portugal” mission is to guarantee that wakeboard is reachable and affordable for everyone and at the same time it turns this region and the country as a world-class wakeboard and tourist destination for all the fans all over the world.
Are the Beaches Accessible to All Visitors?
Aldeia do Mato beach is the only beach between the other four, who gained in the 2019 a “Blue Flag” and an “Accessible Beach Flag” title, which means that it has a reserved car parking, pedestrian access, walkways on the beach and adapted toilet facilities.
Activities and Ambiance
Wakeboard: There are five cable parks on Castelo de Bode Dam where people can have an easy and safe experience with this sport. The five cable parks are located in the River Beaches of Aldeia do Mato, Montes, Castanheira or Lago Azul, Fernandaires and Trízio.
Sport Activities: If wakeboard is not for you, in Castelo de Bode Dam, you can rent a canoe or a kayak, do windsurf or pedal boating, or just swim in the floating pool with a children’s and adults’ swimming area.
All of the five river beaches have lifeguards during the summer season and support facilities to visitors.
The largest artificial beach of Europe is located in Mangualde, Portugal. The British journal “Metro” considered this beach as one of the best artificial beaches in Europe.
It is a place with 22.500m2, with a salt-water swimming pool, and 6500 tonnes of sand, including a large grass area and a play zone for kids. Mangualde Beach’s entertainment team attempts to provide fun and recreation activities that are ideal for the whole family.
Are the Beach Accessible to All Visitors?
This beach has a car park, access ramp to the beach, amphibious wheelchair, and adapted toilet facilities.
Activities and Ambiance
Praia de Mangualde has an animation team which provides some fun and recreational activities for all families. In this scenario, the family can enjoy the facilities, taking part in sportive events and cultural programs.
For more information: https://www.livebeach.pt/
Local Level Activity
Inserted in the Nautical Centre of Monsaraz and in the heart of the Alqueva Dam (built in Guadiana River), the Monsaraz river beach has an excellent infrastructure, providing visitors with all the support they might need. With lawn and sand areas, a picnic area and a children’s playground, this beach has a floating swimming pool with a children and adults’ swimming area and is ideal for enjoying various water sports (canoe, sailing, water ski, etc.).
Monsaraz river beach has been declared, since 2017, one of the most accessible beaches in Portugal, which demonstrates that this is truly a beach for everyone, providing conditions that allow people with reduced mobility to enjoy the facilities.
On August 31th the River Beach of Monsaraz received an event “SUPerar” title, with the purpose of showing that disabled people can practice water sports.
In this event a female Portuguese athlete was present, Susana Barroso (Paralympic swimmer and top Portuguese medalist) and the canoeist Norberto Mourão, who recently won the silver medal at the World Championship in Paracanoe on VL2 category, leading Portugal to make his debut in this sport at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
This event gathered a local group of individuals with reduced mobility to practice Stand Up Paddle in Alqueva lake.
Local Level Activity
“Surfaddict” was officially created in May 2012 and is the first adapted surfing association in Europe. This association intended to create a national and perhaps European-wide movement that allows people with disabilities to enjoy the sea and beaches based on a simple principle: to train surf schools and to create a large volunteer movement among the surfing community to encourage the surf practice among this segment of the population. They are committed to transform the sport context so that everyone, regardless of any difficulty, could enjoy it. A disability or a wheelchair could not be the reason for someone not to enjoy the waves.
- Bring people with disabilities to the beach and help them to have the exciting experience of sliding on the waves, with all the benefits that come with it, such as improvement of self-esteem, resilience, social skills and promotion of healthy routines.
- Increase awareness among local government officials and the population at large scale about the needs of citizens with disabilities and the importance of accessibility and participation in this sport.
During the 2019 summer, more than 1500 people with disabilities throughout Portugal had the opportunity to surf, with the invaluable support of 500 volunteers!
Tag line: “We don’t care if it is hard, only if it’s possible”
For more information: https://www.surfadaptado.pt/