Best Beaches in the Algarve
Dreaming of beaches and sun? The Algarve is a destination that offers wonderfully warm and sunny summer weather to match its warm and friendly people. Golden sands and clear waters are one attraction but it’s also the safety and cleanliness of the beaches that make them perfect for family holidays.
The Algarve wraps around a cape in south-west Portugal with beaches on both the south coast and the west coast facing the North Atlantic Ocean. The west coast is wilder and more spectacular. The south is an idyllic stretch of beach resorts and calm bays.
Here we look at some of the best beaches, so if you’re travelling in the Algarve for any length of time, be sure to check out each and every one of them!
Praia da Marinha. Located near Lagoa, between Armação de Pêra and Carvoeiro, Praia da Marinha is one of the most emblematic and beautiful beaches of Portugal. Backed by a tall cliff sculptured by the effects of erosion, the beauty of Praia da Marinha has been ranked as among the top 100 worldwide and given its well-preserved natural environment the beach has retained practically its original state.
Praia da Marinha lacks the facilities and most importantly, the easy access of other Algarve beaches. To get to the beach involves a bit off a drive off the main road followed by a steep descent down to the beach via a set of steps. On the beach there’s a little café at the bottom of the steps that offers some shade as well as basics. There are toilets here, too.
The water quality and clarity here is exceptional, making Praia da Marinha ideal for snorkelling.
Praia da Rocha. The beach of Praia da Rocha near Portimão is one of the most spectacular beaches in Europe, a beautiful, wide swathe of white sand sheltered by craggy rocks and jagged mountains. It is by far the longest and the broadest of the beaches along this stretch of the coastline. Even in the height of summer there’s plenty of golden sand to go around. There are sun beds and parasols for hire in abundance and pedaloes are great fun for all of the family. A promenade runs along the surrounding cliffs, lined with hotels, shops and bars, making it an oasis for beach-bound holidaymakers.
A huge range of watersports are available on the beach such as power boating, surfing, jet skiing and diving.
Meia Praia. Meia Praia is a beautiful beach featuring a large stretch of golden sand, a calm sea and natural caves. Literally translating to “half beach”, this vast expanse of sand near the interesting old town of Lagos is curving around the edge of the bay all the way to the Alvor estuary. This unspoilt sandy beach is great for families as there are plenty of activities and facilities in season. The beach is still natural, almost rustic having escaped the scars of mass tourism and concrete high-rise. You will not find tourist shops along the seafront selling sun cream, sun hats and trinkets, just kilometres of natural beauty.
The eastern end of the beach is quieter and popular with naturists. The western end of the beach offers a good selection of water sports during the summer season. You can almost always find surfers and body boarders in the waters here.
Praia Três Irmãos. This 7-kilometre stretch of golden-sand marvel is one of the places you cannot afford to miss while in the Algarve. It is our favourite beach in Alvor! Translated into The Three Brothers, so named because of the three tall rock formations that rise from the ground and tower over the sands beneath offering shelter from the sun. This lovely beach is characteristic of much of the western Algarve coastline with golden cliffs. Facilities include parasols and sun loungers for hire, lifeguards, toilets and showers. There are bars, restaurants and hotels nearby.
The shallow turquoise waters are renowned for good diving and snorkelling in the underwater grottos and caves that indent the scenic shoreline.
Praia dos Pescadores. Praia dos Pescadores (Fisherman’s beach) is a lovely beach surrounded by the amazing Albufeira old town with its cobbled streets and winding roads. It is one of the resort’s main beaches along with neighbouring Praia do Túnel. The beaches are connected, and from the Praia dos Pescadores beachgoers can walk for miles eastbound and will find again and again a new beach.
There are sunloungers and umbrellas for hire as well as watersports like jet-skiing, parasailing and caneoing.
You’ll find a plethora of restaurants, bars and eateries around the area as well as some great street stalls selling local handicrafts. During the summer, the beach can become crowded but the atmosphere is fantastic.
Praia da Falésia. One of the best beaches in the Algarve, the sands at Praia da Falésia stretch for 6 km, bordered by neighbouring resorts of Vilamoura and Albufeira and backed by red cliffs and pine woods. The beach is very wide and covered in golden sand. It rarely gets crowded in the summer and is one of the safest beaches in the area with lifeguards on duty and the coloured flags telling you whether or not it is safe to swim.
There are a small amount of facilities at this beach including a couple of restaurants, toilets, parasols and pedalo rental. There is also a small parking area near the beach itself.
Water sports are limited but inexpensive.
Praia da Arrifana. Located within the Municipality of Aljezur, in a bay enclosed by tall cliffs, Praia da Arrifana is one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe due to its natural wealth. The beach is sandy, sheltered and hugely popular with both surfers and swimmers. The sand on Praia da Arrifana is of pale golden fine sand and is approximately 500 meters long. During the summer season the beach is patrolled by lifeguards. There are toilets and showers close to the car park.
Although the beach is backed by tall cliffs which afford the beach some protection from the ravages of the Atlantic Ocean, this is a very popular beach for surfing and body surfing. It was one of the first beaches where surfing was practiced in Portugal, so that is immerged in the history of surfing in Portugal.
The beach of Praia da Arrifana is inside the Vicentine Coast Natural Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty.
You won’t be disappointed if you visit any beach in the Algrave, but these seven are particularly special. Take a traveling beach vacation and visit all of them. Spend a couple of days at each to discover the unspoiled beauty and amazing sands and waters that draw so many people to the Algarve each year.