The beach at Leça da Palmeira is located on the northern edge of the city of Porto, just across the harbour from Matosinhos. It is a similar mix of the industrial, historic and residential.
The beach here is a good sized stretch of fine white sand. However, it is somewhat blighted by the huge stone pier at the southern end which protects the mouth of Leixões, one of Portugal's major sea ports. Beyond this are glimpses of cranes and to the north the tanks of the oil refinery.
Despite all this Leça retains a certain degree of charm. At the southern end is the 17th century Fort of Leça da Palmeira whist at the northern end is the huge Farol da Boa Nova - Porto's lighthouse. Standing at 46m (150ft) the lighthouse dates back to 1926 when it was built to protect ships from overrunning the entrance to the port and ending up on the rocks.
One great feature of the beach at Leça is the Piscinas de Marés; two tidal swimming pools built into the rocks near the middle of the beach - perfect for kids.
Whilst Leça da Palmeira is often cited as Porto's best surfing beach I never found it that inspiring and Matosinhos often provided better waves.