Going to the beach with a dog in Portugal: rules, signs and warnings
Going to the beach as soon as summer arrives. Being under a sun hat, enjoying the sea breeze. Perfect plan, isn’t it?
Yeah, but we’re not the only ones who love the beach. Rafa loves it too! He likes to join us on walks along the beach, splashing around in the water and even making holes in the sand! Unfortunately, most of the portuguese beaches forbid the entry/presence of dogs. But are these signs and warnings legal? That’s what we went to find out!
Read this article and find out about our findings!
There is a 900-kilometre coastline, full of beautiful beaches from North to South of mainland Portugal, but not all of them allow the presence of our four-legged friends (Rafa doesn’t like this idea at all!). But first of all, let’s clarify which types of coastline beaches are there, across our country!
In Portugal, there are three types of maritime beaches: concessionary beaches, non-licensed beaches and beaches for dogs.
- The best known (usually larger), where the total or only partial area is licensed or authorized for service provision to users by a private entity, such as bars and/or restaurants. The management of these spaces is carried out by the concessionaire and inspection is Polícia Marítima‘s responsibility.
On these Portugal beaches, it is not allowed the movement or permanence of dogs during the bathing season.
- The bathing season is a norm that came into force in 2015 and is now defined every year through a decree-law in Diário da República – Decree-Law 102-C/2021.
Officially, the 2021 bathing season started on May 29th and ended on October 15th, this year, as in 2020, with special measures due to COVID-19. Each bathing area has different features, which means that concessionaires can define for themselves the beginning and end of the season on the beach assigned to them, as well as the rules to apply. These include, for example, the movement and presence of pets in the space or sports activities such as playing ball, rackets and others.
- These Portugal beaches are in charge of the city council. Inspection is done by PSP or GNR. Here it is not common to forbid entry and presence of animals. However, if this prohibition exists, there are some rules to make it legal:
- Signalling in places where it is supposed to restrict the access of animals to beaches.
- This sign will have to be approved and needs to have a serial number on the back.
- A public notice that legitimizes the prohibition in a place that is visible to users of the space.
Are there pet-friendly beaches?
Yes. As in other countries, some concessioned beaches already allow dogs to stay there. Here, there is usually some equipment available that makes the owner’s life easier, such as waste bag dispensers, for example. Currently, these are the pet-friendly beaches along our coast so far:
- Praia do Porto da Areia Norte, Peniche
- Praia do Coral, Viana do Castelo
- Praia Suave Mar, Esposende
- Praia da Ramalha Sul, Esposende
- Praia das Amoreiras, Torres Vedras
- Praia dos Pescadores, Oeiras
- Praia de Furnas Rio, Odemira
- Praia do Porto da Areia Norte (Peniche)
However, it’s good to remember that these are public spaces. Therefore, taking our dogs to the beach always implies civic duties and responsibilities, such as:
- Take animal documents with you
- Keep him on a leash whenever necessary
- If it is a potentially dangerous breed, the dog must use a muzzle and a short leash
- Pick up their waste
- Provide him with fresh, running water to keep him hydrated
- Avoid the hottest hours
- Bring a sun hat and provide shade, as we do with humans (yes, dogs also get scalds, especially on the nose)
- Avoid drinking salt water as this can lead to diarrhoea and vomiting.
Going to the beach should always be a fun time. That’s why we always prefer late afternoons when there are few bathers, more silence and plenty of space for Rafa to run and make holes in the sand without disturbing anyone! At the end of the day at the beach, just like us, our buddy also deserves a great bath to remove sand and saltwater from his fur, right?
We hope that these tips can be useful for you on your next trip to any of the Portugal beaches with your pet!
Kisses, hugs and licks
Sara, Pedro and RAFITA 🐶
- Decree-Law no. 159/2012 July 24th
- Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente (Portuguese Environment Agency)
- Beaches for dogs