Contributor Review – Sofia Ferreira
Local Expert. Visited 2023
While Praia do Rei Cortiço isn’t one of the nine official nude beaches in Portugal, it’s recognized as a ‘tolerated’ nude beach. This means that sunbathing and swimming in the nude are both respected and common. The beach, set against a backdrop of stunning sedimentary cliffs and unique geological formations shaped by millennia of erosion, stretches southwards for nearly 7 miles until Baleal. However, be cautious: the surveilled area is limited to a small section near the wooden entrance. Even during the bathing season with lifeguards present, if you venture further for more privacy, you might be outside the monitored area.
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On the topic of safety, this tranquil, naturally adorned, and less frequented beach boasts a significant sea swell. It’s a hit among surfers and bodyboarders, though I didn’t spot any during my visit. The ocean’s mood was somewhere between calm and stormy, but its might was unmistakable. That’s why I stuck close to the shore, feet firmly planted in the sand. The currents, especially the rip currents, get more intense as you head north along the Portuguese coastline. So, while Praia do Rei Cortiço has won my heart, it’s essential always to prioritize safety. As for the water temperature, it’s a bit of a chameleon throughout the year. But on October 13, it was a delightful 19.7ºC (67.46ºF), suggesting that off-season visits could be just as enjoyable.
According to Visit Portugal, Praia do Rei Cortiço proudly waves the Blue Flag, an ecolabel that stands for water quality, environmental education, and sound management. This recognition comes from the NGO, Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). And it’s worth noting that a plethora of other Portuguese beaches have clinched this ecolabel, with a whopping 432 beaches being honored in 2023.
I can’t wrap up this review without gushing about the awe-inspiring natural beauty at Praia do Rei Cortiço and the encompassing Óbidos region. If geological wonders tickle your fancy, this beach, with its rainbow of cliffs and age-old rock formations, will be your paradise. It even boasts an archaeological treasure trove of lithic artifacts that might trace back to the Paleolithic era. And just a bit south, near the beach concession, there’s a mesmerizing water stream set against a backdrop of vibrant rock and sand formations. Pure bliss!
A stone’s throw from Praia do Rei Cortiço, after navigating the surrounding golf course, you’ll stumble upon Lagoa de Óbidos. This natural lagoon, a mere 10-minute drive away, is a haven for birdwatchers. And then there’s Praia da Foz do Arelho, where the lagoon kisses the ocean. Here, you can choose between the vastness of the open waters or the milder embrace of the lagoon. But remember, it doesn’t share the nudist reputation. And while we’re on the subject of nearby gems, Óbidos is a must-visit. This medieval village, just 30 minutes by car, is cocooned by castle walls and is a hub of cultural events. From the International Chocolate Festival to the Medieval Market, there’s always something happening. And when there, do indulge in Ginjinha de Óbidos, a cherry brandy that’s even more delightful when sipped from a chocolate cup, perhaps at the nearby seasonal restaurant, Alma D’Sal.
In wrapping up, Praia do Rei Cortiço stands out not just as a gem among the beaches of Portugal, but as my personal favorite spot for embracing nudism. Its allure isn’t just in its natural beauty, but also in the intimate privacy it offers. The expansive stretch of the beach, the secluded nooks by the rocks and cliffs, and the notable absence of crowds make it a haven for those looking to connect with nature in the purest sense. It’s perfect for nudism, kissed by the Atlantic, surrounded by natural and archaeological wonders, and nestled in a region dotted with magical spots like Lagoa de Óbidos and the medieval charm of Óbidos itself.
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