Beaches Of The Algarve

The Algarve's extraordinary coastline – stretching for over 150km along the Atlantic Ocean – is incredibly diverse and offers an abundance of enticing choices.

There's everything from small, secluded coves to wide stretches of rugged, dune-backed shores, and simple rock-backed nooks with calm waters (great for kids) to rugged coasts with huge swells.

The coast's varied geography changes dramatically along its length and makes for some distinctive beachscapes. From Vila Real de Santo António to the tiny village of Cacela Velha, the beaches are a dune system. The central coast sees kilometres of limestone cliffs with eroded rock towers and plenty of nooks and caves.

The increasingly rocky coast from Lagos to Sagres culminates in the wind-scoured grandeur of the Cabo de São Vicente. Here, dramatic black cliffs, bordered by beautiful sandy stretches, head north along the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina (Costa Vicentina Natural Park). This stretch is made for serious surfers.

Top 10 Beaches of the Algarve

Fabulous beaches include the following stretches of sand.

  • Odeceixe This beach has a river on one side and the ocean on the other.
  • Praia da Falésia A posh 'resort' beach backed by high ochre-hued cliffs.
  • Praia da Marinha Great snorkelling, with a novel entry via a long staircase.
  • Meia Praia Vast, popular and scenic, with options for water sports.
  • Praia do Barril Crown jewel of Ilha de Tavira, with an anchor cemetery.
  • Ilha da Barreta (Ilha Deserta) Accessed by boat through nature-filled lagoons.
  • Praia de Vale Figueira Long stretch of wild, little-frequented coast.
  • Praia da Bordeira Untamed beauty and pumping surf.
  • Praia de Dona Ana & Camilo Enchanting, golden rock formations.
  • Praia de Vale do Lobo Has all the tourist services within reach.

Need to Know

Planning

Most of the Algarve’s museums are small: good to bear in mind when budgeting your time.

Discounts

A student card will get you reduced admission to almost all sights. Those aged over 65 with proof of age will save cash.

Churches

It is considered disrespectful to visit churches as a tourist during Mass. Taking photos at such a time is definitely inappropriate.