Best Beaches of Algarve | European Travel Magazine

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Posted: April 23, 2021
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Best Beaches of Algarve | European Travel Magazine


There are just so many incredibly beautiful beaches in Algarve that we quickly gave up on the idea to make a Top10 list. We simply couldn’t decide on only 10. Whether you’re looking for small, cave-like beaches where you can live out your “Blue Lagoon” fantasy, or endless stretches of sand where the kids can cavort in the shallow waves, Algarve is the answer to all your prayers.

Come and dip your toes with us at these 20 Best Beaches of Algarve! Listed below from west to east, you’ll be sure to find exactly your coast of choice. Check them out on the Google Map in the bottom of the article.

Praia de Porto Mós

This one-kilometre long beach is popular among surfers, and is also a favoured refuge from perhaps the more busy beaches closer to Lagos. Praia de Porto Mós lies between Lagos and Luz and offers no less than two beachside restaurants at your service. It’s super easy to get from the car park to the beach, making it a good choice for families and disabled. The steep, honey & ochre coloured cliffs offer shelter from northern winds and the sea is safe to swim. The beach has also earned a Blue Flag which, among other things, means that there are lifeguards in summer.

Praia de Dona Ana

Located near one of the most beautiful spots in the Algarve, the Ponta da Piedade, this small beach is close to Lagos but appears untouched by the urban bustle. It’s only one kilometre from the centre of Lagos, which is one of the more charming towns in Algarve. It has a beachside restaurant and an inexpensive café nearby, and if you find the right spot on the beach you can check out the many remarkable cliffs and geoforms out towards Ponta da Piedade. The beach has also earned a Blue Flag which, among other things, means that there are lifeguards in summer.

Praia de Alvor

Praia de Alvor and Meia Praia are two sides to this huuuge crescent-shaped beach that is child-friendly and with enough space for everyone! It’s also a great place for bird watching, as the river Alvor creates a lagoon before it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. A boardwalk right behind the beach will take you up and close to the wildlife. And if you’re lucky, you may spot a flamingo!

Praia dos Caneiros

We came upon this charming beach when we hiked one of the Most beautiful trails in Algarve; Trail of the Headlands. With its steep, golden cliffs sheltering the beach, turquoise waters and curious rocks perching up from the sea, it’s a picture perfect Algarve beach. Add to this a super cool beach bar and restaurant with the humble name “King of the beach”. I’m nut sure we heard any canaries (caneiros) sing though, but perhaps it was just the angels..
The beach has also earned a Blue Flag which, among other things, means that there are lifeguards in summer.



Praia de Carvoeiro

This is my favourite urban beach, simply because I find Carvoeiro enchanting. I adore the way the white and colourful houses cling to the steep rocks and create a vertical village. And the houses all look towards the sea, worshipping the stretch of beach that is buzzing from early morning to late at night. If you want to take a midday break from the sun, simply step into one of the many restaurants and cafés that cater to the holidaygoers. You are spoilt for choice. We will also definitely recommend a visit to Algar Seco, a cave and natural pool, both free to visit and only an 800 metres boardwalk stroll away. Praia do Carvoeiro has also earned a Blue Flag which, among other things, means that there are lifeguards in summer.

Praia do Vale de Centeanes

I personally loved this beach while my husband was a little more anxious about those towering limestone walls, that shelter this beach. It serves at a perfect place to rest up before heading back on, what is probably the most beautiful hiking trail in Algarve, The Seven Hanging Valley’s Trail. Its proximity to many summer homes, its beachfront restaurant and nearby parking makes it a popular – and in peak season a somewhat overrun – beach. But ahhhh: those golden cliffs against a deep blue sky, that’s a colour scheme that’ll guarantee gladness.
The beach has also earned a Blue Flag which, among other things, means that there are lifeguards in summer.



Praia do Carvalho

You have to descend a long flight of stairs and venture through two tunnels, but when you stand on this beach, it’s all worth it. Because it’s a bit off the beaten path, you can get lucky and have the place almost to yourself. It’s a smaller version of the iconic beaches, that exemplify Algarve, but smaller, more intimate, yet atoll with those awe-inspiring cliffs sheltering you on both sides into the ocean. And as a crosshair, right between these tall limestone walls, a riant rock shoots up from the sea and is – together with the many caves – a fascinating place to snorkel.



Praia de Benagil

This beach of the small fishing village by the same name is generally where the kayak and stand-up paddle tours to the famed Benagil caves start our from. And while the caves are some of the must-see natural wonders of Portugal, they are not the only reason to visit this beach. Its turquoise waters and proximity to great seafood restaurants makes it a great destination for a sunny day by the sea. If it’s too crowded by cave-goers in the summer, opt for the former Praia do Carvalho or this next one.



Praia da Marinha

This is a personal favourite. Perhaps because it was the first beach where I bathed after arriving to Algarve. Perhaps because it resembled paradise after a long walk on probably the most beautiful hiking path in Algarve, The Seven Hanging Valley’s Trail. Or maybe because it’s just practically perfect. It is sheltered by steep, golden cliffs, fronted by this amazing turquoise ocean with gentle waves (those that won’t knock your bikini out of place) AND curious geoforms and rocks protruding from the sea. It also has a beachside restaurant and I’ve just run out of reasons as to why I’m not there right now!



Praia Nova

Another beautiful Algarve beach with definite WOW factor, Praia Nova is close to Armação de Pêra. This tourist town is not a personal favourite, as I believe a town should have a minimum of local residents living there to afford it a soul, or else it becomes an hideous, concrete shell. For me, Armação de Pêra is the latter, but it serves a purpose, and if you find yourself stuck in this concrete jungle, now you know you can escape to this beach. It’s surrounded by steep cliffs, sheltering you from the urbanity and it’s right next to the picturesquely situated church of Nossa Senhora da Rocha.

Praia dos Salgados / Praia da Galé

This huuge stretch of beach is so long, that it has several names: Praia dos Salgados, Praia Grande de Pêra and Praia da Galé. It’s located right in front of the Salgados lagoon that is great for watching birds while strolling along the boardwalk. If you are lucky you might even spot a turtle family next to the Eastern bridge. The westernmost part of the beach is really wide and slopes gently towards to sea. Just the right angle for working on that tan. As you move to the east, the golden limestone cliffs start protruding – and so does the restaurants. We were specially impressed with Pedras Amarelas, where you can dine on the rooftop and savour the sea.
The beach has also earned a Blue Flag which, among other things, means that there are lifeguards in summer.

Praia do Castelo

We really love this area and can spend hours hiking the small paths along the coast. There’s always something new to discover in this special limestone landscape. The golden sand and family-friendly waters makes Praia do Castelo a favoured spot, especially in the summertime, when the palm leaf parasols are in demand. The popular restaurant and beach bar adds to its reputation. The beach has also earned a Blue Flag which, among other things, means that there are lifeguards in summer.

Praia da Coelha

Whether the beach used to shelter rabbits, which coelha means, I can’t say. What I can say is, that it’s another emblematic and beautiful Algarvian beach, surrounded and sheltered by steep cliffs to the north and with clear, blue water to the south, meaning you’ll have the sun in your face when Staring at the Sea. It has a great beachside restaurant which makes it especially popular with families. The beach has also earned a Blue Flag which, among other things, means that there are lifeguards in summer.

Praia da Dédé

Pure “Blue Lagoon” fantasy. This hidden beach is unfortunately no secret, but if you come by early (or in the wintertime, when the 15 degree sea is considered warm enough for a dip) you can have the place to yourself. You find yourself in a so-called “sinkhole” generated by millennia’s erosion of the limestone cliffs and are completely surrounded by steep walls. The ocean enters through a seafront cave and completes the feeling of having entered a pocket of paradise. Be aware of tides, though.



Praia de São Rafael

Another personal fav. The golden cliffs embrace you on this beach, where you can feel isolated from the world, but perhaps not from other sunseekers, as this is a popular beach, partly because of its beachfront restaurant. The waves can get quite forceful and might guarantee hours of fun watching people having small mishaps in regards to their undergarment while being tossed around in the waves. Unless, of course, it’s you that’s being manhandled by those discourteous waves. The beach has also earned a Blue Flag which, among other things, means that there are lifeguards in summer.

Praia dos Arrifes

The name “Arrifes” has its origin in the Arab word “Al-rife” as meaning “reef” or coastal rocks. And that’s certainly the case with this Lilliputian lagoon with its skeleton-shaped rock. This beach may not be ideal for families with small kids, as the reefs are treacherously hidden by waves in rough sea. When quiet though, it’s a perfect place to snorkel around and investigate the marine life. The beach is especially popular because of its beach restaurant but if it gets too crowded you can head for the neighbour beach of Praia de São Rafael instead. The beach has also earned a Blue Flag which, among other things, means that there are lifeguards in summer.

Praias da Albufeira

The urban beach of popular Albufeira streches almost 2 kilometres from the beach elevator at Praia do Peneco in the west, covering Praia dos Pescadores in the middle to Praia dos Alemães in the east. They’re basically the same which is why we just call them Albufeira Beaches. You have the city to your back and the sea and sun to the south, guaranteeing many hours of sunbathing. And the added bonus of a city: Lots of restaurants, cafés and bars to choose from. The beaches have also earned a Blue Flag which, among other things, means that there are lifeguards in summer.

Praia de Falésia

If we were to do a Top10, this beach would probably make that list. Not only because it stretches more than beautiful 5 kilometres, but because it’s backed by these ochre-coloured cliffs that look like molten rock and sand. Mesmerizing and unique. The contrast between the white sand, azure sea, orange cliffs and blue sky is intoxicating! We loved the hike along the top of the cliffs to Vilamoura and the stroll at the water’s edge the way back. The beach has also earned a Blue Flag which, among other things, means that there are lifeguards in summer.

Praia de Faro

Just a skip and a hop from the airport, but not particularly bothered by the airplanes, this endless stretch of beach is accessible either by a 1 km walk from the huge, free car park or by bus no. 16. Once you’re there, you’ll have ample choice of privacy if you just keep walking in either direction. Or stay and enjoy the nearby chances for snacking. The beach has also earned a Blue Flag which, among other things, means that there are lifeguards in summer.



Praia da Ilha de Tavira

This unique beach has at least 3 nice things working in its favour: perfect powdery white sand, beachfront restaurants to cater to your need before you venture out to find your own stretch of sand and then something singular in comparison to the other beaches in Algarve: a cemetery. Not a creepy on, though. Or perhaps, just a little. It’s an anchor graveyard. And though it may sound a bit creepy it’s actually quite beautiful. It’s a bit of a hassle to get here, either by 1,5 kilometre walk along a dike through the salt marshes of Tavira or on a little tourist train for € 1.6 per nose. The beach has also earned a Blue Flag which, among other things, means that there are lifeguards in summer.

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