Beaches in the Algarve
Lagos boasts one of the biggest stretchaes of beaches in Europe—the Meia Praia. Situated halfway between the walk from Alvor to Lagos, its name was derived from “Meia” which means “half”. During the height of summer, Meia Praia offers tourists the opportunity to get way from the bustling crowds.
It has sheltered beaches between the cliffs that offer some privacy, and has top-notch sporting facilities that have everything water sports aficionados might need. The lack of rock formations makes the Meia Praia ideal for various water activities.
Because of Meia Praia’s width, its waters are generally calm, making it ideal for families with little children. Praia da Arrifana Praia da Arrifana is considered to be one of the more reasonably safe beaches for swimming, and is one of the best for family-friendly beaches near Aljezur. With its large, sandy beach and excellent facilities, it is ideal as a family getaway. Its open bay also offers great views of the sea and the surrounding vista. While Praia da Arrifana is a favorite among families during the high season, outside peak times, it is flocked by surfers, body boarders, and other water sports enthusiasts.
Other activities include water-skiing and jet skiing. Praia da Bordeira Praia da Bordeira is a clam, quiet beach in the coast of Aljezur. It’s a great place for rest and relaxation—the beach is often deserted during low season and is less frequently visited than other beaches in the area during high season. With long sandy stretches of beach and plenty of sand dunes, Praia da Bordeira is suitable for long walks and exploring on foot. The beach can be reached by traveling north from Vila do Bispo, then going towards the sea after passing the small village of Carrapateira. Praia da Carriagem
Praia da Carriagem is an isolated beach along the Costa Vicentina in the district of Aljezur. Unlike the surrounding beaches, it is not much frequented by people. It serves as a haven for nature lovers, as well as those wanting to explore coves, as well as nooks and crannies between cliffs. Praia da Carriagem is also an ideal place for enjoying some quiet time with activities like long walks and stargazing. Praia da Cordoama Praia da Cordoama in Costa Vicentina near Vila do Bispo Vila do Bispo is a wide, rugged stretch of beach situated in a huge bay surrounded by steep cliffs, with promontories along its sides.
Its cliffs and promontories contribute to the steady wind quality, making it popular with surfers, paragliders, and other water sports enthusiasts. Praia da Dona Ana Probably the most popular beach on the Algarve, Praia da Dona Ana offers fantastic views of its rocks, cliffs, grottos, caves, and other natural formations. This small beach is located on “Golden Coast” of Lagos and is split in two by a cliff. The rock formations are breathtaking, stirring the imagination—rocks can take on various shapes like a gigantic ship, a Mayan temple, and various animals, to name a few.
One of the popular activities in this beach is touring cave and grottoes by boat. Praia da Falesia Praia da Falesia in the west of Vilamoura features long stretches of sandy beaches against a backdrop of ochre cliffs. It is sheltered by low cliffs, which provides some privacy and makes it an ideal spot to soak up the sun and sunbathe. These cliffs are tall enough to bar northern winds during the off-season, but not too tall to prevent easy access. Praia da Falesia could be reached from Vilamoura by traveling west toward Olhos de Agua. Praia da Gale
Praia da Gale in the west of Albufeira has a considerable stretch of beach that runs along the bay of Armacao de Pera up to town. It looks out to the Armacao de Pera bay and provides great views of the sea. Since Praia da Gale has no cliffs and rock formations, it is easily accessible by road on many points. One can go to the beach by automobile and can park nearby. Water sports enthusiasts also frequent Praia da Gale—it is good spot for scuba diving, wind surfing, water-skiing, and jet skiing. Visibility under the water is remarkably high, providing the most ideal diving conditions.
Praia da Ilha de Tavira-Mar Praia da Ilha de Tavira-Mar on the island of Tavira has busy, active beaches with an extended dune system. During the summer and peak seasons, cafes and water sports facilities abound. Dubbed as a “jewel” in the crown of Eastern Faro, the islands beaches are huge and breathtaking. Praia da Ilha de Tavira-Mar, in particular, is situated within a locally protected natural area. The Ilha de Tavira itself is a protected natural park and has campsites for nature lovers and nature exploration enthusiasts. It is suitable for tourists with an inclination for nature.
Being a nature reserve however, tourism in the area is somewhat regulated. Regular ferries run by two ferryboat companies from the city of Tavira provide access to the island. Praia da Maina de Vilamoura Praia da Maina de Vilamoura in Loule features a wide stretch of sandy beach than runs from the marina of Vilamoura to the east, before reaching the small fishing port of the nearby Quarteira. Its excellent bay is well protected by rock plateaus and breakwaters, making it convenient and suitable for families with young children. Praia da Maria Luisa
Praia da Maria Luisa is a small, sandy but also stony beach set in the backdrop of cliffs in the eastern side of Albufeira between Olhos d’ Agua and Santa Eulalia. It is accessible from various villages and can serve as a good spot for strolling, long walks, and doing exercise. Praia da Luz Praia da Luz or “light beach” is a popular beach in the bustling tourist town of Luz in the city of Lagos. Its beaches are very busy during summer months. Praia da Luz is bordered by the Rocha Negra, which is a sheltered reef break on the eastern side of the beach.
It boasts excellent water sports facilities and a well-equipped water sports center. The waves are intermittent and are suited for surfing and water sports junkies looking for a challenge. Praia da Rocha Praia da Rocha or “beach of rocks” near Portimao is considered the best surfer’s beach in the south of Algarve, and is probably the oldest and most popular beach in the region. Like nearby Praia da Rocha, its waves are erratic and unpredictable, making it a hard but welcome challenge for surfers wanting to show their stuff.
Though many tourists and beach-goers frequent it, it is so wide and spacious that there is plenty of room to stretch out. The beach features great stretches of sand on the seafront, and a tunnel on one end leads to narrower beaches set in a stunning backdrop of cliffs and rock formations. The latter part is sheltered by the tunnel and cliffs from the sun during afternoons. Praia da Oura Praia da Oura, beautifully located near the amusement quarter in the east of Albufeira, features a long sandy beach surrounded by rocks and rocky bays. This beach is popular with surfers and windsurfers alike, and is very busy during the summer season.
Praia de Adegas Praia de Adegas is a beach located in the district of Aljezur. Access to this beach can be difficult, but is a popular destination for nature lovers and enthusiasts. This beach is within a protected area, and is one of the only five official naturist beaches in Portugal. Praia de Armacao de Pera Praia de Armacao de Pera in Lagos is a sandy beach near the Armacao de Pera tourist center promenade. It is very spacious and popular with families and is brimming with people (mainly locals and Portuguese) during weekends and the summer.
Here, the breeze is light and the water is reasonably safe for swimming, particularly for children. Praia de Armona-Mar Located in an island between the towns of Olhao and Fuzeta, Praia de Armona-Mar is only accessible through ferryboats originating from the fishing port of Olhao. Ferries are frequent (they leave in 15 minute intervals) so traveling to and from the island is fast and convenient. The beach is usually less populated and is only visited by a limited number of people. It is very peaceful and is great for a quiet, relaxing time. Praia de Burgau
Praia de Burgau, situated in the town of Burgau in Vila do Bispo, may be small, but tourists frequently visit it during the summer months. Promontories such as hills go all around the beach so it is sheltered from the cold northern winds in this area of the Algarve. There is a small bar near the beach for those wanting to satisfy their thirst, and a boat and canoe rental shop nearby for visitors wishing to go a small, secluded beach west of Praia de Burgau. Praia de Faro Praia de Faro just about seven kilometers south of Faro airport, features a long, narrow stretch of sandy bar.
Its sands are soft and the beach is wide and spacious. Beaches along the coast of Faro to Tavira are only accessible through ferry, but Praia de Faro is an exception in that it can be accessed through a small bridge on the sandbank. Being near a bustling urban town, it is usually busy; there are also plenty of restaurants and water sports facilities. The beach is in the warmest region in the mainland, with winter temperatures never going below 0? C. The summer temperature, however, seldom reaches 35? C. This nice, warm, and even weather makes it a popular spot during the summer months.
Praia do Garrao Praia do Garrao is a large, beautiful sandy beach that features protected dunes. It is located between the chic and exclusive resort towns of Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo in Loule. The beach is readily accessible by road, but is also ideal for walking towards the Faro or Vilamoura directions. One section of the beach locally called “Julias” is popular for its excellent restaurants. Praia de Olhos d? Agua Praia de Olhos d? Agua is a small, but charming beach located in the new village of Olhos d? Agua in Albufeira. Rocks surround its small bay.
Local fishermen also use the bay and could often be seen getting their day’s catch. Excellent restaurants serving the local fare like fresh seafood dishes are also nearby. Praia de Vale de Lobo Vale do Lobo in Loule near Almancil boasts the beautiful sandy bays of Praia de Vale do Lobo. Flanked by small cliffs running along its length and its sides, the beach had to be constantly maintained by the holiday resort town of Vale do Lobo from shoreline erosion. Great endeavors, such as re-transplantation of sediments, are made to prevent the sea from eating up the shoreline. Praia de Vales dos Homens
Praia de Vales dos Homens in the city of Aljezur is a small beach ideal for nature lovers. The beach is situated at the western coast near Rogil between Praia da Carriagem and Praia da Samouqueira, and is home to an interesting variety of flora and fauna, as well as a breathtaking array of marine life. It is in a relatively unpopulated area and is less frequented by tourists, making it a nice refuge for people looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Praia do Alvor Praia do Alvor is beautifully located in Alvor and borders the eastern half of the bay of Lagos.
The beach has low dunes; but since there is almost no rock and cliff formations barring access, it can easily be reach from the road and from the village Alvor. Its long, sandy beaches are inviting for long, leisurely walks. This beach acts as a low sand bar, creating an interior lagoon that acts as a form of port for the old fishing village of Alvor. The waters are calm, which is great for families and children. The beach, which faces an open bay, is popular among windsurfers and kinds of water sports aficionados. Praia do Amado
Praia do Amado, located in Aljezur at the western coast, is a popular and very much sought-after spot for extreme sports by surfers and other water sports enthusiasts. The beach is lively and brims with people during the summer months, and little cafes overlooking the beach are in the area. It is known in the surfing world for its strong, challenging currents, its roguish waves, and rock formations in places that get covered at high tide. Praia do Amado has already served as a venue of several local and international surf and body-boarding competitions.
Praia do Barril The beach of Praia do Barril is an extension of Praia Ilha de Tavira on the island of Tavira. It is situated within the Ria Formosa Natural Park and features extensive sand dunes. Praia do Barril can be accessed via either a wooden bridge from the tourist villages of Santa Luzia and Pedras del Rey, or a small train that shuttles from Santa Luzia. The train ride running across the waters separating Praia do Barril and Praia Ilha de Tavira is slow and leisurely, giving visitors a chance to experience the island’s stunning view. Praia do Castelejo
Praia do Castelejo is a sandy beach on the west coast of the Algarve, right on the rugged Costa Vicentia and just to the northwest of Vila do Bispo. It has strong breakers and is thus a somewhat popular surfing spot. The beach has many water sports facilities and with all the equipment one needs for a session on the waves. Being a relatively small beach with an atmosphere drastically different from beaches on the southern coast, it might not be preferable to everyone, although there is a relatively high return rate among its visitors. This beach is also one of the safer ones on the west coast. Praia do Martinhal
Praia do Martinhal is a large, flat sandy beach in the shallow Bay of Baleira and east of Sagres. It is located in the town of Vila do Bispo, with Ponta da Atalaia to its west. It is a good place to visit when in Sagres. It is conducive for contemplative walks, but is also very good for surfing. This beach is a favorite windsurfing spot for many. Praia do Vau The striking beach of Praia do Vau in the city of Portimao is a massive beach located at the far western end of Praia da Rocha’s seafront road, and is adjacent to the Praia da Rocha beach to the east end. The beach can be well-populated during the peak season, usually by locals.
It is flanked by residential areas and is mostly managed by hotels nearby. It is easily accessible from the road and there is a car parking area nearby. Medium-rise cliffs at the beach’s far end provide shade during hot afternoons. Praia Verde Praia Verde situated in the west of Monte Gordo is a long, endless beach that stretches westwards towards Tavira. Its name “Verde”, which means “green”, was taken from the backdrop of plants and trees lining the side of the beach. It has great facilities ideal for most families and their children, and its waters are calm and safe for swimming.