Praia dos Tres Irmaos, the Algarve Praia dos Tres Irmaos, Alvor – Photo courtesy of

Best Beaches in the Algarve

The Algarve offers a huge choice of golden-sand beaches, from secluded to lively and highly-organised. Some beaches front well-established resorts, while others lie just a short walk or drive away amid tranquil and picture-perfect settings.

The Algarve stretches for 155km (96mi) along the southern coast of Portugal, from the border with Spain at Vila Real de Santo Antonio to the westernmost point at Cape St. Vincent. Inland, it continues a further 50km (31mi) to the north.

As well as picture-perfect beaches, the region is also blessed with natural treasures from rolling countryside and historic castle towns to scenic whitewashed villages and bird-filled lagoons. Hiking trails crisscross the entire region.

Amid this scenic beauty lie more than 25 diverse resort towns that range from quiet, picture-perfect hideaways to bustling resort towns providing non-stop holiday entertainment from splashy water parks to vibrant nightlife nightclubs.

Discover long strands of golden sand indented with numerous tree-covered headlands framing idyllic coves with perfect conditions for swimming, snorkelling and diving.

On occasions some of the beaches are also good for surfing and windsurfing.

Beaches around Albufeira

The best beaches in Albufeira, and to the east, include…

Praia do Peneco, Albufeira

Praia do Peneco

Dig your toes into the soft golden sand of one of Albufeiro’s main beaches.

Praia do Peneco sits in the west, and is separated from Praia dos Pescadores by a protruding cliff. To the east, Praia dos Pescadores is bordered by Praia do Inatel. It's easy to walk from one beach to another.

If you like collecting shells, this is your beach, since so many shells lie scattered in the sand.

Praia do Peneco (also known as Praia do Túnel) can be reached through a 20m-long tunnel from the Old Town. This is the main entrance to the beach. Or you can take the escalator, staircase or elevator from the cliff top. The 28m-tall Elevador do Peneco also offer a great viewpoint over the beach.

Facilities include parasols, sun loungers, banana boats, jet skis and pedalos (foot pedal boats) for hire, lifeguards, toilets and showers.

There's also a beach bar, called the Roca Beach Bar, where you can buy ice cream, a cold beer or enjoy a meal. The beach bar also has free toilet facilities.

To the west, lies the cave of Xorino (Gruta do Xorino), once used as a shelter by the Moors to hide after the Christian conquest of the town, in the 13th century.

Directly behind the beach and in the nearby streets of the Old Town you can find numerous shops, restaurants, bars and cafés.

If beach gets too crowded for your liking, just wander east and you can find a quiet spot along this 2km-long (1.2mi) stretch of golden sand that links Praia do Peneco with Praia dos Pescadores and Praia do Inatel.

Praia dos Pescadores, Albufeira

Praia dos Pescadores

Framed by soaring rock formations, Praia dos Pescadores (Fisherman's Beach) – so-called because local fishermen once beached their boats here between fishing trips – is about 225m (246yd) in length. During low tide, it is more than 100m (109yd) wide.

As the fishing activities are no longer on the beach, many locals tend to call this beach simply Praia de Albufeira.

Together with Praia do Túnel, Praia dos Pescadores forms one big beach, ajoining Praia do Inatel to the east. It's easy to walk from one beach to another.

The fine and gold-coloured sand is soft, with many broken shells in some sections. It's a good idea to wear sandels or flip flops when walking on the beach. There is a wooden boardwalk on sections of the beach.

Facilities include parasols, sun loungers, banana boats, jet skis and pedalos (foot pedal boats) for hire, lifeguards, toilets, showers and a beach bar. In summer, there's also an inflatable water park for children

Make sure to check the magnificent views over the old city and beach from the Pau da Bandeira lookout, located on the cliff top at the eastern end of the beach.

From Pau da Bandeira, you can descend the cliff top to the beach via an escalator.

Directly behind the beach lies a large square, surrounded by many restaurants, bars and cafés.

Praia dos Pescadores is very popular with locals and visitors alike, and may become crowded, especially during the summer months. It is also very lively at night.

If the beach gets too crowded for your liking, just wander east and you can find a quiet spot along the 2km (1.2mi) stretch of golden sand that links Praia dos Pescadores with Praia do Inatel and Praia dos Alemães.

Praia do Inatel, Albufeira

Praia do Inatel

Praia do Inatel is named after the Inatel Hotel, which sits right on the 800m-long (874yd) beach. At low tide the beach is around 500m (546yd) wide.

Although close to the Old Town of Albufeira, Praia do Inatel is less crowded than the town beaches of Praia do Túnel and Praia dos Pescadores. Praia do Inatel is an easy 10-minute walk from Old Town of Albufeira.

The beach is mainly visited by guests from the Inatel Hotel and other hotels nearby. It's a good beach to visit if you want more space, but also want to stay close to the Old Town.

The beach is bordered by an ochre-coloured cliff, which features several cliff-top walking trails that lead to special miradouros (viewpoints) where you can take in the panoramic views.

Facilites include sun longers, toilets, lifeguards as well as food and drink kiosks.

The Inatel Hotel offers an outdoor swimming pool, tennis court and sun-lounger terrace as well as bar and restaurant facilities – even if you're not a guest. The hotel provides several watersports activities, including diving.

Praia do Inatel is located between Praia dos Pescadores (to the west) and Praia dos Alemães (to the east).

Praia da Oura, Albufeira

Praia dos Alemães

Praia dos Alemães is an extension of Praia do Inatel and offers more space if the beaches closer to Albufeira are crowded.

This golden-sand beach stretches for around 500m (546yd) and is framed by low cliffs.

The beach is home to several holiday apartments and hotels along with numerous holiday and residential villas. These developments are separated by small pathways giving access to the beach.

A raised boardwalk runs east to west along the beach, with the main access point at the Hotel Monica Isabel Beach Club.

Beach facilities include parasols, sun loungers, toilets, showers, lifeguards and watersports equipment for hire. The beach is lined with several licensed bars and restaurants. In summer, there's also an inflatable platform for children a few metres off the beach.

At the eastern end of Praia dos Alemães, the beach ends at a rocky outcrop, however a wooden staircase gives access to a coastal path leading to Praia dos Aveiros.

Praia da Oura, Albufeira

Praia da Oura

Discover a scenic alternative to Praia dos Pescadores.

This 900m-long (984yd) crescent of golden sand is framed by sun-bleached cliffs topped with green trees and is easily accessible by following a coastal path over a rocky bluff. The beach has some small caves and coves.

Praia da Oura lies between Praia dos Aveiros (to the west) and Praia de Santa Eulália (to the east). At low tide, it's possible to walk east all the way to Praia dos Olhos de Água.

Facilities include parasols, sun loungers, lifeguards, toilets and showers, as well as banana boats, jet skis and pedalos (foot pedal boats) for hire. Nearby sit a large choice of cafes, bars, restaurants, apartments and hotels.

Come for a day or stay at the luxury Oura Beach Club, which overlooks the golden sand and turquoise water.

Praia da Oura comes alive at night, especially during the summer months. The beach is a short walking distance from the Strip entertainment district, which is home to numerous bars and clubs. Not surprisingly, Praia da Oura is considered the number one party beach on the Algarve.

Praia da Oura is located 3km (1.8mi) to the east of Albufeira, around 8 minutes by car. It is situated in a neighbourhood called Areias de São João and is very near the new centre of Albufeira, a lively district with lots of bars and restaurants.

Praia da Santa Eulália, Albufeira

Praia da Santa Eulália

Unwind on this 500m-long (546yd) crescent of fine, golden sand that nestles beneath ragged red-ochre cliffs topped with pine trees and pink spiny thrift and white sand lilies at the base.

The beach shelves gentle into the sea, which is generally crystal clear and calm. This beach is perfect for swimming and snorkelling the rocky headlands.

Facilities include parasols and sun loungers for hire, and lifeguards patrolling the beach during summer. Watersports for hire include jet skis, parasailing and banana boats.

Discover creature comforts at a choice of nearby hotels including the luxurious Grande Real Santa Eulalia – one of the most luxurious hotel resorts in the Algarve.

Praia de Santa Eulália is located 4km (2.5mi) east of Albufeira's centre, which makes it often less crowded than other beaches in Albufeira.

Praia dos Olhos de Água, Algarve

Praia dos Olhos de Água

Framed by rugged sandstone cliffs and fronting a small, charming fishing village of the same name, Praia dos Olhos de Água offers a soft sand beach shelving gently into usually calm water.

Praia dos Olhos de Água is famous for its natural springs, visible when the retreating tide uncovers a number of springs among rocks on the eastern side of the beach as well as several places on the beach. The water is fresh, cold and can be drunk.

This natural phenomenon gives the beach its name: local residents call the natural springs 'Olhos d'Água', meaning 'eyes of water'.

Behind the beach fishing nets hang out to dry alongside colourful boats and fishermen's huts.

A promenade separates the beach from a small pedestrian precinct where you can find several restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and hotels.

Beachfront facilities include sun loungers and parasols.

While relatively small, Praia dos Olhos de Água is less crowded than some beaches around Albufeira. During low tide, you can walk east all the way to Praia da Falésia and Vilamoura. To the west lies Praia da Oura.

On the east side of the beach a narrow path leads over the cliffs towards Praia da Falésia.

Praia dos Olhos de Água is located about 7km (4mi) east of Albufeira.

Praia da Falésia, Olhos de Agua

Praia da Falésia

Unwind on this 6km-long (3.7mi), narrow beach that lies beneath towering russet-coloured cliffs topped with pine trees.

Praia da Falésia stretches east from Olhos de Água to Vilamoura, and is famous for its impressive red cliffs, especially around Olhos de Água.

The beach is perfect for a long beach walk. From the small village of Olhos de Água to Vilamoura takes about 2 hours.

At low tide you may see people collecting small clams, called conquilhas – a delicious local specialty.

Praia da Falésia consists of two sections: Alfamar and Açoteias, which are quite different from each other. For instance, the beach is considerably narrower at Olhos de Água than at Vilamoura.

Praia da Falésia, Olhos de Agua

Praia da Falésia Açoteias is the west section of the beach (near Olhos de Água) and is famous for the high red cliffs.

Here, you can find several popular hotels a short walking distance from the beach, including the 5-star Epic Sana Algarve Beach Hotel, which was designed in the style of an Algarvian village and set amid a subtropical garden dotted with pine trees overlooking the beach.

Above the cliffs, a hiking trail (photo) offers spectacular views over the beach and the sea.

Praia da Falésia Alfamar is located at the east end of the beach (towards Vilamoura), named after the Alfamar Beach & Sport Resort, which has a beachfront restaurant where you enjoy a drink or meal.

Praia da Falésia, Vilamoura

The beach here has lower cliffs; the more you walk east, the lower the cliffs. The beach is also wider and the waters are quite shallow, especially during low tide, when you can walk up to 50m into the water.

On this section of the beach, there are excellent beach restaurants as well as all types of watersports, including paragliding, diving and a surfing school.

Sunbathe on the soft, golden sand and swim in crystal clear water. Or windsurf should the south-westerly winds kick-in.

Beach facilities include parasols, sun loungers and pedalos for hire, as well as lifeguards, toilets, showers and beachside snack bars.

Praia da Falésia is around 10km (6mi) east of Albufeira and adjoins Praia da Vilamoura to the east.

Beaches in Vilamoura

Vilamoura offers a choice of beaches: to the west lies Praia da Falésia, while to the east Vilamoura Beach continues into Praia da Quarteira…

Praia da Vilamoura

Praia da Vilamoura

Dig your toes into the soft golden sand of this 1km-long beach (also known as Praia Marina) that stretches infront of the popular beach resort of Vilamoura.

A choice of luxury, beachfront hotels including Dom Pedro Golf Resort Hotel, Vila Sol Spa & Golf Resort and Hilton Vilamoura lie just steps away, as well as numerous restaurants and beach bars.

Facilities include parasols and sun loungers for hire, lifeguards, toilets, showers and beachside snack bars. Water sports include pedalos, paragliding and jet skiing.

Praia de Vilamoura is situated between the marina of Vilamoura and Quarteira.

Praia de Quarteira, Algarve

Praia de Quarteira

This is the main beach of Quarteira, near Vilamoura. The beach is divided into small sections by breakwaters.

Facilities include an outdoor gym, masseurs, volleyball nets, toilets, sun loungers and lifeguards.

A wide choice of cafes, restaurants and beach bars line the beach, which is generally regarded as more touristic than some of the other beaches in the Algarve.

Praia de Quarteira is just 5km (3mi) east of Vilamoura.

Praia do Vale do Lobo, Algarve

Praia do Vale do Lobo

Relax on the soft golden sand of this idyllic 1km-long stretch of beach that nestles beneath red-sandstone cliffs topped by palm trees and the green fairways of the Vale do Lobo Resort’s world-class golf course.

Come for a day or enjoy a wide range of creature comforts at the resort.

The wide expanse of sand, immediately adjacent to the resort, is lined with beach umbrellas and sun loungers. Here you can find a massage station and several beach bars where you can treat yourself to delicious cocktails and home-made burgers.

A walk in either direction will bring you to more secluded section of the beach sandwiched between a backdrop of red cliff faces and clear blue water.

Facilities include parasols and sun loungers for hire, lifeguards, toilets and showers. Unwind at the several upmarket beachside bars, cafés and restaurants.

Praia de Vale do Lobo is located about 8km (5mi) south of Vilamoura, and the resort of Vale do Lobo is located around 24km (15mi) east of Albufeira.

Best beaches in Faro

Faro offers a choice of beaches just a short distance from the city.

All the beaches around Faro are located on islands, part of the natural park of Ria Formosa.

The only island that can be reached on foot or by car is Praia de Faro. The other islands can only be reached by boat. From Faro you can also visit Ilha da Culatra and Ilha da Armona. Boats leave from Cais das Portas do Mar, situated close to Faro marina.

The best beaches in Faro, include…

Hotel Faro & Beach Club

Praia de Faro

Considered the main beach of Faro, Praia de Faro is a 5km (3mi) stretch of soft, golden sand that extends along the seaward side of the Ilha de Faro.

On one side is the Atlantic Ocean and on the other side is the Ria Formosa.

As a city beach, Praia de Faro is popular with local residents and may get crowded, especially during summer. However, the further you walk away from the bridge, the more quiet and unspoiled the beach becomes. You can also sunbath naked on a section designated an unofficial nude beach.

Praia de Faro is access via a narrow bridge. The area around the entrance is also the most developed, where you can find several bars, restaurants and shops.

Hotel Faro & Beach Club

Praia de Faro is perfect for long beach walks and is backed by dunes. To the east, you can walk all the way to the end of the island, to a area called Barrinha.

Praia de Faro is good for surfing and kitesurfing. Watersports equipment for hire, include jet skis, kayaks and body boarding.

There is a direct bus service from Faro city to Praia de Faro.

For an even more quiet beach near Faro, head to Ilha Deserta.

Hotel Faro & Beach Club

Ilha Deserta

Leave the crowds behind on this soft, white-sand beach that stretches for around 7km (4mi) along Ilha Deserta (Deserted Island) – the only uninhabited island in the Algarve.

Ilha Deserta is one of the five barrier islands of the Ria Formosa. The other four islands being Culatra, Armona, Tavira and Cacela. The island is typically peaceful and idyllic and perfect for a day trip from Faro.

Also known as Ilha da Barreta, Ilha Deserta is the perfect spot to enjoy unspoiled nature, take long beach walks in peace and quiet to the sound of the Atlantic Ocean in the background. The sea is clean and very clear. The only structure on the island is a restaurant.

Hotel Faro & Beach Club

A wooden walking path, called the Santa Maria boardwalk, offers easy access along the sand dunes from where you may spot native birdlife.

You can stroll all the way to the southernmost point of continental Portugal at a spot known locally as Cabo de Santa Maria (Santa Maria Cape).

Santa Maria Cape is part of the beach, and is located about 2km (1.2mi) from where the ferry boat arrives. It is marked with a wooden structure. You can reach it either along the beach or via the boardwalk.

Ilha Deserta is one of a few beaches in Portugal that is officially classified as an naturist beach. This section of the beach is situated on the western side of the island, about 30 minutes walking from the ferry dock.

Most of the day-trippers stay on the part of the beach near the restaurant and sunbeds. There's also a pier, with a small lighthouse.

Ilha Deserta is only accessible by boat, which transits several times a day. There are no roads or cars on the island.

Beaches in Tavira

While the town of Tavira lacks beaches, the nearby Ilha de Tavira (Tavira Island) offers a very long and wide golden-sand beach.

Ilha de Tavira stretches for about 11km (7mi) and varies from 150m to 1km (0.6mi) in width. The island is part of the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa.

Ilha de Tavira Beach, Tavira, Algarve

Praia da Ilha de Tavira

Ilha de Tavira is divided into three different beach areas: Praia da Ilha de Tavira (in the east) is regarded as the main beach (photo), Praia da Terra Estreita (in the center) is a quiet less-crowded beach, with little infrastructure, and Praia do Barril (in the west) is known for its anchor cemetery and old tuna factory.

Backed by sand dunes, the beaches on Ilha de Tavira offer clean, soft sand. The sea water is calm, clean and crystal clear, but is very cold, even in the peak of summer.

Ilha de Tavira is perfect for a long beach walk: from the main beach to Praia do Barril takes about 45 minutes walking. Two kilometres further, lies a nudist beach area – one of the best nude beaches in the Algarve.

Facilities on Ilha de Tavira, include lounge chairs and parasols for rent (about €15 a day), toilets and showers. Lifeguards patrol the beach during summer.

While there are restaurants and beach bars on the island, many people bring their own drinks and snacks. Several water sports are available, including jet skiing and banana boats.

Praia do Barril Beach, Tavira Island, Algarve

Praia do Barril

Praia do Barril is typically uncrowded and is known for its anchor cemetery consisting of more than 100 rusting anchors in the sand. The anchors originally held huge fishing nets, forming a large maze that funneled the tuna into the nets.

Praia do Barril is a long and wide beach stretching for kilometres in both directions. Even in the peak of summer, you can have a section of the beach all to yourself.

Behind the beach, sit some old buildings previously used by tuna fishermen that have been converted into restaurants, bars and other facilities.

West of Alfufeira

To the west of Albufeiro, lie a gorgeous string of small, secluded golden-sand beaches.

Framed by scenic ochre-coloured sandstone cliffs and craggy rock formations indented with numerous rock pools, caves and grottos, these beaches are a less-crowded alternative to Albufeiro’s bustling town beaches.

Visit the secluded tree-fringed Praia Evaristo and Praia Coelho, accessed by descending winding hillside tracks, or check out Praia do Castello and Praia São Rafael, a wide expanse of golden sand framed by scenic rocky outcrops.

Praia São Rafael, Algarve

Praia São Rafael

Framed by orange-coloured cliffs, Praia São Rafael offers a wide expanse of soft, golden sand that shelves gently into crystal-clear water. The beach is great for both swimming and snorkeling.

In summer, Praia São Rafael is divided into two sections: one with sunbeds and one without – you can bring your own parasol. A beach restaurant – Restaurante da Praia de São Rafael – serves fresh seafood, along with cold drinks.

The beach is well known for its scenic rock formations with very peculiar shapes – the result of thousands of years of wind erosion. Nearby lie several caves and grottoes that are interesting to explore.

A cliff top walking trail offers panoramic views over the beach and surroundings.

Praia São Rafael is located around 6km (3.7mi) west of Albufeira.

Praia da Coelha, Algarve

Praia da Coelha

Backed by orange-coloured cliffs, Praia da Coelha (rabbit beach) offers a tranquil golden-sand beach that shelves into calm, crystal-clear water that is perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

Praia da Coelha is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve. Shelter from the sun under the shade of the cliffs or explore rock tunnels along the water's edge that lead to remote sections of the beach.

Facilities include a lifeguard and a café located at the entrance to the beach where you can cool off with ice cream, cold drinks and snacks.

Surrounded by coastal shrubland, the beach is accessed via a small trail lined with carob trees. Other trails branch off the track into the hilly coastal landscape. These paths lead to magnificent viewpoints and more hidden coves.

Praia da Coelha is located around 7km (4.3mi) west of Albufeira.

Praia do Castello, Algarve

Praia do Castello

Framed by picture-perfect deeply fissured sandstone cliffs, Praia do Castelo offers a 100m-long (109yd) expanse of golden sand that shelves into calm, crystal-clear water.

Facilities include sun loungers and umbrellas for hire, lifeguards and a beachside restaurant

Apart from the restaurant the beach is completely undeveloped and unspoiled.

The smaller cliffs and rocky outcrops that project out of the sea provide great diving and snorkelling opportunities.

The large cliffs may also provide shade, although for safety reasons you should heed the warnings about falling rocks and keep at a safe distance.

The beach is accessed down a wooden staircase from the nearby car park. A clifftop walking trail leads to an adjacent secluded cove.

Praia do Castello is located around 7km (4.3mi) west of Albufeira.

Praia da Galé, Algarve

Praia da Galé

(Galé) – Pick your own spot to unwind on the soft, golden sand of this 2km-long (1.2mi) beach that merges into Praia Armação de Pêra in the west.

Although in effect one long beach, Praia da Galé comprises several beaches that lie side by side, merging seamlessly into one another: Praia da Galé Leste (in the east) merges into Praia da Galé Oeste (in the west), which in turn merges into Praia dos Salgados, then Praia Grande de Pêra and finally the beach of Armação de Pêra.

Much of Praia da Galé still has an undeveloped feel and is a pleasant escape from the more crowded beaches of Albufeira, and is perfect for long beach walks by the sea.

An environmentally protected dune landscape stretches behind most of this long beach area.

The eastern side of the beach – Praia da Galé Leste – offers excellent swimming conditions and is characterized by rock formations, while the western beach side – Praia da Galé Oeste – is much wider.

Praia da Galé, Algarve

At Praia da Galé Leste the sea is quite shallow and there are natural rock pools, as well as sea caves. Small, intimate coves form on the beach.

The rock formations provide shade in addition to the sun loungers that are available for hire.

Facilities on Praia da Galé Leste include parasols and sun loungers, lifeguards, toilets and showers, with several beachside snack bars and restaurants nearby.

Water sports include banana boats, jet skis and pedalos. The beach is wheelchair accessible.

Access to Praia da Galé Oeste is by a wooden walkway from the adjacent car park. The long approach is also wheelchair accessible.

Praia da Galé Oeste offers several walking rails through the dunes, where you can see many different plants and birds.

Facilities here include sun loungers, lifeguards and some water sports, such as surfing and jet skiing. If you want more action, head to Praia da Galé Leste.

Come for a day or stay longer at the exclusive beachfront Hotel Estalagem Vila Joya; this luxurious boutique hotel boasts a renowned Michelin 2-star restaurant.

Praia da Galé is around 9km (5.6mi) west of Albufeira.

Praia de Marinha, Algarve

Praia de Marinha

(Benagil) – Relax on this secluded 300m-long (328yd) beach of golden sand that nestles beneath impressive steep sandstone cliffs facing the calm turquoise waters of a pretty cliff-framed cove.

Follow the cliff-top walking trail to find two smaller and even more secluded beaches.

Or snorkel beneath the towering headlands, indented with grottos and caves just waiting to be explored. Take your own food and drinks, as there are no facilities at this beach.

Praia de Marinha is located between the small towns of Benagil and Vale de Engenhos, around 23km (14mi) west of Albufeira.

Beaches near Silves

While Silves is located inland from the coast, it still has two beaches owing to the municipality of Silves extending all the way to the coast.

The beaches near Silves are large and sandy, but the sea water temperature is typically cold, even in summer.

Praia de Armação de Pêra, Silves, Algarve

Praia de Armação de Pêra

Praia de Armação de Pêra is the main beach of Armação de Pêra, a popular seaside resort near Silves.

The eastern section of the beach is still home to several traditional fishing boats, which are launched from and recovered to the beach, since there is no fishing port. This gives the beach a unique character.

Armação de Pêra is a long beach and offers plenty of facilities, including Lifeguards, sun loungers and shade rentals as well as numerous bars and restaurants. The town itself provides a beautiful promenade with stores and restaurants.

Praia de Armação de Pêra is around 14km (8.6mi) west of Albufeira

Praia Grande de Pêra, Silves, Algarve

Praia Grande de Pêra

Praia Grande de Pêra extends for 2km (1.2mi) from Praia de Armação de Pêra all the way to Praia dos Salgados in Albufeira.

A wide boardwalk allows you to stroll across the dune landscape and past two natural wetland areas, where you can spot rare waterbirds.

Apart from a small beach kiosk, Praia Grande beach is completely natural and unspoiled. Less visited than Praia de Armação de Pêra, the beach is great if you want some privacy and is also a great place for long beach walks.

In peak season Praia Grande is partolled by lifeguards. During July and August, the beach is particularly popular with windsurfers.

Praia Grande de Pêra is around 13km (8mi) west of Albufeira

Beaches in Portimao

Located just a short drive away from Albufeira, Portimao is known for the gorgeous beaches of Praia da Rocha and Praia dos Tres Irmaos as well as other golden-sand beaches that lie close to Portimao, including…

Praia da Rocha, Portimao

Praia da Rocha

Pick your own spot to sunbathe and swim on one of Portugal’s finest beaches – a scenic, 200m-wide, golden-sand beach nestled beneath dramatic red-ochre cliffs and facing the crystalline waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Go bodysurfing, swimming or snorkelling around soaring offshore rock formations. Join a game of beach football or volleyball and explore the neighbouring beaches of Praia do Vau and Praia do Alemão – accessed through an eroded tunnel in the cliffs at the west end of the beach.

A wooden boardwalk runs the length of this kilometre-long beach, providing access to a choice of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, oceanfront hotels and the 16th century Fortress of Santa Catarina de Ribamar.

Facilities include parasols and sun loungers for hire, lifeguards, toilets and showers. Water sports include banana boats, jet skis and pedalos. Beachside bars and restaurants nestle beneath the cliffs.

Be pampered at the luxurious Algarve Hotel Casino Hotel or the sea-facing Hotel Bela Vista, a former 19th century Moorish-style mansion situated on the cliffs overlooking the beach.

Praia da Rocha is located in Portugal's southern Algarve region, around 40km west of Albufeira.

Praia Grande, Ferragudo

Praia Grande

(Ferragudo) – Unwind on this broad expanse of pale golden sand that sits on the eastern side of the River Arade opposite Praia da Rocha.

Protected by twin breakwaters, the water here is always calm, making it one of the safest swimming beaches in the Algarve and perfect for small children.

Facilities on this 800m-long beach include parasols and sun loungers for hire, toilets and showers. Beachside bars and restaurants nestle beneath tree-topped cliffs.

At the northern end of the beach sits the impressive 17th century Fort of São João do Arade.

Praia Grande sits in the town of Ferragudo, opposite Praia da Rocha, around 38km west of Albufeira.

Beaches in Alvor

Alvor is home to a choice of several golden-sand beaches, just a short drive away from Albufeira.

The two main beaches of Alvor – Praia de Alvor and Praia dos Três Irmãos – are actually one huge stretch of sand, extending for more than 3.5km (2mi) and separated by rocks.

Praia de Alvor is located on the western side of Alvor, while Praia dos Três Irmãos is located on the eastern side.

Praia do Alvor, Alvor

Praia do Alvor

Find your own spot to sunbathe and swim on this long stretch of golden-sand beach edged by low, bush-covered sand dunes and indented occasionally by picturesque rocky bluffs riddled with arched passageways.

A boardwalk extends over the dunes behind the beach for around 3km (1.8mi) and offers scenic views over the river, the estuary and the surrounding area. Here you can spot different kinds of birds that inhabit the Ria de Alvor Nature Reserve.

The small lighthouse at the end of the boardwalk offers a great view of Alvor and Lagos.

Facilities at the eastern end of the beach include parasols and sun loungers for hire, lifeguards, toilets and showers. A choice of bars and restaurants dot the long beach and are close to the boardwalk.

Praia do Alvor curves around the bay into Meia Praia Lagos.

Praia dos Tres Irmaos, Alvor

Praia dos Tres Irmaos

Unwind on the soft golden sand of this picture-perfect beach framed by soaring bush-clad rock formations.

The shallow turquoise waters are renowned for good diving and snorkelling in the underwater grottos and caves that indent the scenic shoreline.

Facilities include parasols and sun loungers for hire, lifeguards, toilets and showers.

There are bars, restaurants and hotels nearby, including the luxurious Le Méridien Penina Golf Hotel and the Pastana Alvor Praia Hotel.

Merging with Praia de Alvor to the west, Praia dos Tres Iramos is located around 7km from Portimao and 30km from Albufeira to the west.

Praia do Vau, Alvor

Praia do Vau

Unwind on this gorgeous crescent of golden sand that stretches from Praia da Rocha to a headland of towering rock formations and red-ochre cliffs topped by verdant woodland.

Beach facilities include parasols and sun loungers for hire, lifeguards, toilets and showers. Water sports include banana boats, jet skis and pedalos. Beachside bars and restaurants nestle beneath the surrounding cliffs.

If you tire of sunbathing and swimming, wander east to Praia da Rocha or follow the coastal path over the headland to explore the caves and rock pools around nearby Praia do Alemão, then continue on to Praia de Alvor in the west.

Praia do Vau is around 6km west of Portimao and 44km west of Albufeira.

Beaches around Lagos

This is arguably one of the most beautiful spots on the Algarve, with towering cliffs overlooking a collection of ragged, umber-hued sandstone outcrops that hide countless caves and grottos.

Lagos offers several beautiful beaches. The best golden-sand beaches in and around Lagos, include…

Praia de Dona Ana, Lagos, Portugal

Praia de Dona Ana

Relax on the pale golden sand of this 250m-long beach that nestles beneath towering sandstone cliffs overlooking a sheltered cove that is framed with spectacular rock formations, caves and grottos.

The sea here is perfect for swimming and snorkelling. Praia Dona Ana is a real snorkeling paradise, where you can swim among starfish, anemones, crabs and colorful shoals of small fish.

Beachside facilities include sunloungers and umbrellas, showers and toilets and a seafood restaurant. Lifeguards are on duty between June and September.

Praia de Dona Ana is located to the south of Lagos and is easily reached on the coastal path leading to the Ponta da Piedade headland. A set of wooden stairs lead down to the beach.

Praia de Dona Ana is less than 2km (1.2mi) from Lagos town centre.

Meia Praia, Lagos, Portugal

Meia Praia

Choose your own spot to unwind on the golden sand of this expansive 5km (3mi) long beach that stretches east of Lagos.

The western end of the beach is easily reached on foot from Lagos. During the summer months you can also take a water taxi from Avenida dos Descobrimentos to the beach. From the marina, it's just five minutes on foot.

Meia Praia is very popular with locals and visitors alike, and can get quite crowded in summer.

However, if you seek peace and seclusion then head to the eastern part of the beach. The further east you walk, the quieter and more natural the scenery becomes. If you walk far enough, you reach an area where nude sunbathing is allowed.

The eastern end of the beach is still easy to access from the nearby road via raised walkways across the sand dunes.

From October, Meia Praia is very windy and is considered a top spot for windsurfing and kitesurfing as well as surfing.

Facilities at the western end include sun loungers and beach umbrellas, showers and toilets. Lifeguards are on duty during summer. Several beach bars and restaurants sit along the beach.

A wide variety of watersports are available, including windsurfing, parasailing, diving, kayaking, jet skiing, water skiing, pedal boats, bodyboarding, stand-up paddle boards and banana boat rides.

Praia do Camilo, Lagos, Portugal

Praia do Camilo

Discover one of the most picture-perfect beaches in the Algarve.

Praia do Camilo consists of two small, soft-sand beaches that are surrouned by stunning rock formations and connected through a cave tunnel.

To reach this secluded beach you descend a long 200-step wooden staircase.

The rock formations of nearby Ponta da Piedade protect Praia do Camilo against the wind and waves from the southwest, which is why the sea here is so calm. In addition, the sea is quite shallow and the water not too cold.

The calm and crystal clear seawater here is perfect for snorkeling.

It's best to time your vist to Praia do Camilo during low tide as the beach is quite small – during high tide the beach loses half its size.

Also, due to its relatively small size, try to arrive early to avoid the crowds, especially in summer.

From the clifftop, you have an amazing view over the beach and the Bay of Lagos. Check out Ponta da Piedade as well; from Praia do Camilo, it's only a short walk away.

Praia da Batata, Lagos, Portugal

Praia da Batata

Locted just a few minutes from the historic centre of Lagos, and stretching for 160m (175yd), Praia da Batata offers a cool urban beach to sunbathe and relax for residents and visitors alike.

The main beach extends from the harbour area in the north to a rocky landscape in the south. Man-made tunnels and small passageways offers access to two adjacent small bays.

Praia dos Estudiantes – surrounded by massive rock formations – provides shade, rest and relaxation.

This low-lying sandy beach is wheelchair accessible. Beachside facilities include sun loungers and beach umbrellas, toilets and showers. Lifeguards are on duty in summer.

A beachfront restaurant and beach bar provides food and drinks.

You can also book kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and diving excursions from two watersports providers on the beach.

Praia do Canavial, Lagos, Portugal

Praia do Canavial

Praia do Canavial lies hidden in a beautiful bay just south of Lagos, and offers a tranquil alternative to some of the more crowded beaches in Lagos.

To reach this hidden, unspoilt treasure simply follow the winding path south of Lagos through dense overgrown shrubland on the cliff top to the steep, wooden staircase that descends to the beach.

Very few people come here. The spacious beach offers so much privacy that you can be one with nature – nude bathing is allowed.

There are no facilities here but untouched nature, so you'll need to bring your own cool refreshments.

Praia do Canavial is bordered by beige rocks from the neighbouring beach of Praia do Porto de Mós.

Praia do Porto de Mós, Lagos, Portugal

Praia do Porto de Mós

Praia do Porto de Mos is the second largest beach in the Lagos region, and lies 4km (2.5mi) to the southwest of the main tourist center.

The beach sits amid steep cliffs and is lined with soft golden sand.

The western portion of the beach offers a range of facilites including parasols and sun loungers, toilets, showers, beach bars and restaurants. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer season.

The eastern end of the beach is backed with high cliffs and is more secluded.

Given that it faces the southwest, Praia de Porto de Mós receives more stronger wind and waves than the neighbouring beaches in Lagos. Subsequently, it's the best beach for surfing and body boarding.

Compared to other beaches in the region, Praia de Porto de Mós is significantly quieter and less crowded due to the distance from the city center.

Watersports include stand-up paddle boards, banana boats, pedal boats, kayaks and floating sofas. Two restaurants provide snacks and local dishes.

Praia do Porto de Mós is also great for long walks at low tide. The eastern portion of the beach is separated by a cliff from Praia do Canavial. During low tide, you can walk around the cliff and reach the other beach.

Both the beach and cliffs surrounding Praia de Porto de Mós offer good walking and hiking trails. The most popular cliff top trail follows the coast to the lighthouse at Ponta da Piedade, and offers great views of the Lagos coast.

There is also a walking trail to the west, which leads to the scenic Atalaia viewpoint from where you can see the village of Luz and the coastline, all the way up to Sagres.

Praia do Burgau, Lagos, Portugal

Praia do Burgau

The pretty beach of Praia do Burgau sits beneath a rocky hillside and the old, authentic fishing village of Burgau.

The town's whitewashed cottages are home to several restaurants that offer typical regional cuisine, including fresh seafood dishes.

Praia do Burgau is sheltered on both sides by high, crumbling rock faces. The broad beach slopes gently into the calm water.

In addition to the nearby restautants there are beach bars, sun loungers, beach umbrellas and lifeguards. Pedal boats and kayaks are availbe from the small hire centre.

Praia do Burgau is located along the south-western coast of the Algarve around 12km from Lagos.

Praia da Luz, Lagos, Portugal

Praia da Luz

Dig your toes into the soft golden sand of this kilometre-long beach that gently curves eastwards from the whitewashed town of Luz to beneath a ridge of barren hills and dramatic cliffs known locally as Rocha Negra (or Black Rock).

Swim in the warm and calm waters of the Atlantic, sunbathe on the soft sand or pick a secluded spot to unwind at the western end of the beach where you can also follow hiking trails up into the hills for panoramic coastal views.

Once the wind picks up, the eastern end of the beach offers good conditions for surfing and body boarding.

Beach facilities in front of the town include parasols and sun loungers for hire, lifeguards, toilets and showers. Water sports include banana boats, jet skis and pedalos.

A pedestrian promenade edges the beach and offers access to a good mix of bars, restaurants and hotels, just a short walk away in the town.

Come for a day or enjoy all the comforts of the Hotel Palm Bay or the Luna Luz Bay Club Hotel.

Away from the beach, explore the 18th century church of Nossa Senhora da Luz and various Roman remains including stonewalls, an aqueduct and mosaic-tiled floors.

Praia da Luz is located around 7km west of Lagos and around 63km west of Albufeira.

Praia da Mareta, Sagres, Algarve

Beaches in Sagres

Choose from four beaches all located within walking distance of central Sagres: Praia do Tonel, Praia da Mareta, Praia da Baleeira and Praia do Martinhal, while the more secluded Praia do Beliche is 3km out of town.

These beaches face different sides of the Sagres headland, so at any time at least one beach is good for surf or just relaxing on the beach.

Praia do Tonel faces a westerly direction and is the most exposed to huge waves, strong winds and ocean currents. Popular for surfing.

Praia da Mareta faces south and is slightly better sheltered than Praia do Tonel. This is generally where most people prefer to surf.

Praia da Martinhal, Sagres, Algarve

Praia do Martinhal faces south-east, is generally sheltered from strong waves and currents and offers a beautiful expanse of golden sand, with lifeguards on duty during the summer season.

This is where to head to for a conventional day on the beach.

Praia do Martinhal is the most popular beach in summer. The beach is located around 2km (1.2mi) from the town centre – a 25 minute walk or 5 minutes by car.

Praia da Baleeira faces east and is located next to the fishing harbour. It is sheltered from the breeze and waves but the beach is not as good as the Praia do Martinhal

More about the Algarve…

Latest update: Best Beaches in the Algarve: 23 December, 2019

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