Contributor Review – Sofia Ferreira
Local Expert. Visited 2023
Located in Marinha Grande, Leiria, Praia das Pedras Negras offers a wild and secluded escape. Distanced from urban development, its primary human touchpoints are the dirt road leading to it and the wooden trails providing cozy beach access. The ocean serves as a stunning backdrop, with dunes offering privacy for nude sunbathing and a vast sandy expanse ensuring tranquility. While I’ve heard it’s a hotspot for surfing and bodyboarding, my October visit was wave-free. If you prefer less crowded beaches, this one’s a top pick.
According to the Portuguese Naturist Federation (FPN), despite having only nine official nude beaches, Portugal’s 934-kilometer coastline boasts many more. From North to South, numerous ‘tolerated beaches’ exist where nudists and clothed sunbathers coexist. Pedras Negras is one such locale, standing out among the various nude beaches in Portugal. Its 10-kilometer stretch ensures ample space for those seeking a private spot. However, as it’s not officially a nude beach, the presence of nudists can vary. On my visit, I found none, but the Portuguese’s discreet nature ensures comfort for those who choose to sunbathe nude.
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The beach lacks commercial amenities like sunbeds, toilets, or eateries. While I’ve heard lifeguards might be present during peak months, it’s best to assume it’s unsupervised. For sports enthusiasts, besides surfing, fishing is also popular. I even spotted fishermen aiming for sea bass.
The overall atmosphere is welcoming, frequented by individuals, families, and groups. While I found it safe, some might prefer company. The ocean’s unpredictability, especially in northern regions, demands caution. Always gauge conditions, look at the current weather online before you go or consult locals.
Praia das Pedras Negras’s surroundings are breathtaking. The beach’s vastness, combined with the saltwater atmosphere, sometimes gives a fog-like illusion. The ocean can be tricky, especially in unprotected coastlines. Always be cautious. Moving inland, Leiria boasts agricultural landscapes and the historic Pinhal de Leiria pine forest, a legacy from the 13th century King D. Afonso III. Though parts were damaged in the 2017 fires, its majesty remains.
In summary, if you seek seclusion, wildness, and exploration, Praia das Pedras Negras and its neighboring beaches are ideal. Whether you opt for nudity or not, always be mindful of the ocean’s moods in this part of the Portuguese coastline.
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Praia das Pedras Negras is easy accessed by a short 100m walk from a dirt parking lot right above the beach. Getting here by car is really your only option and the stunning drive is worth the effort.
From Marinha Grande (20 minutes):
- Take 242-2 towards São Pedro de Moel, a charming seaside village once favored by Portuguese nobility for summer retreats.
- Head North on Avenida do Farol, passing the striking Farol Penedo da Saudade lighthouse.
- Continue on Estrada Atlântica, a scenic coastal route perfect for driving, walking, or cycling. This road offers views of multiple beaches, allowing you to choose your favorite spot.
- Pass Praia da Velha, and look out for a sign indicating Praia das Pedras Negras on your left.
- Turn left onto the dirt road, and you'll soon arrive at your destination.
From Nazaré (Approx. 30 minutes):
- Take the coastal Estrada Atlântica. While slightly longer, this route offers breathtaking views of various beaches and villages along the Atlantic Ocean.
- Opt for N-242, followed by Estrada de Paredes and then Estrada Atlântica. This route takes you through Pinhal de Leiria, Portugal’s largest pine forest, offering a different but equally captivating landscape.