Last Updated on August 15, 2023

Over the past decade Portugal has become one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe, attracting thousands of tourists, digital nomads and surfers from all over the world.

Those with an interest in sandboarding will also find that the country hosts one of the tallest sand dunes in Europe, located near the beach of Salir do Porto near the seaside village of São Martinho do Porto, a few hours drive from the two major cities of Lisbon and Porto.

Sand surfing at the huge sand dune at Salir do Porto
Duna de Salir do Porto. Photo courtesy of Vitor Oliveira.

Surfing the Giant Sand Dune at Salir do Porto

Salir do Porto is located in the municipality of Caldas da Rainha, but you’ll find the beach (Praia de Salir do Porto) across the shell-shaped bay of São Martinho do Porto, near the bank of the river Rio de Tornada (or Rio Salir).

There is a majestic white sand dune of around 50m of height, where sandboarding and sand sledding are popular.

The area surrounding the dune is well-maintained, with parking lots, bars, and recreational facilities. The water of the river is very clean and calm making it a popular family destination, and the place can get quite crowded especially in the summer. Off-road vehicle driving on the beach and sand dune is prohibited.

Getting there

Salir do Porto is a popular destination for beach vacations and outdoor activities, such as surfing, kiteboarding, sandboarding, and beach volleyball. The town has a long history of fishing and agriculture, and is known for its fresh seafood, local wines, and traditional Portuguese cuisine.

There is a regular bus service that connects Caldas da Rainha and Salir do Porto. The bus departs from the Caldas da Rainha bus station and stops at various points in Salir do Porto. The journey by bus takes approximately 30 minutes.

The journey from Caldas da Rainha to Salir do Porto lasts about 20 minutes, while from Lisbon it takes around one hour.

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