Beaches are now the most popular tourist destination and increased demand in the past 40 years has led not only to beach congestion but also to a differentiation between urban (resorts, overcrowded and under huge pressure), to natural (less crowded beaches). This diversity needs to be further explored not only to characterize individual beaches in a precise way, but also to understand the distinctive characteristics responsible for options made by beach users. Some attempts have been made to create a universal beach typology but sparse research has been undertaken. The topic is of extreme importance for beach management, as most studies only take into consideration beach usage type and few consider the surrounding environment (landscape). This paper presents an exploratory work for Portuguese beaches which creates a new classification, according to usage and surrounding environment, based on several variables, measured and weighted. The results scale between zero and five and assess how a beach can be classified along an urban (0) to natural (5) spectrum. Variables studied include population density, number of hotels urban density, car park distance to the beach, etc. A pilot study applied to 100 beaches in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, found that a densely populated region, can also contain beaches with natural characteristics.