The Top 10 Beaches in the Algarve, Portugal
The beaches (praias) in the Algarve are among the best in the world. The wide expanses of sand, the golden cliffs peppered with arches and caves, the excellent surf, along with the wide variety of villas, resorts and hotels makes the Algarve extremely popular with sun seekers and beach lovers. But with around 150 beaches to choose from it is good to know which are the best beaches to aim for when you are on holiday in the Algarve.
The Algarve boasts over three hundred days of sun, average temperatures ranging from 15°C (59°F) in the winter, to over 30°C (86°F) in the summer, and more that two hundred kilometres of coastline. The variety along the coastline means that there are plenty of things to do all year round besides just enjoying the sand. Angling, surfing, golf and boating are just a few of the activities you can enjoy while in the Algarve.
When you step off the plane at Faro airport it is good to have something of a plan, so here are ten of the best beaches you should visit when you go on vacation in the Algarve:
Western Beaches (Atlantic Coast)
The beaches along the western coast of the Algarve, from Aljezur down to Vila do Bispo, are dominated by steep cliffs and are renowned for their excellent surf. Some of the best beaches on the western coast are:
Amoreira is inside a national park just to the north of Aljezur. The area, overwatched by outcrops of black volcanic rock, is great for wildlife as well big waves and sand dunes.
Bordeira has excellent surf but if the sea is too rough for you there is a boardwalk along the cliff tops (popular with anglers) from where you can people catch the waves and enjoy the stunning scenery.
Amado is set among the rugged crags further to the south of Bordeira. It is another surfing haven and home to various surf schools, so it is a good place to go if you fancy learning to ride the waves. It also has good facilities such as cafes and restaurants.
Central-Western Beaches (Barlavento Coast)
There are more cliffs on this stretch of coastline particularly from Sagres to Albfeira, but here the rock has been hewn into fanciful shapes and pockmarked with caves and tunnels that can be explored on foot or by boat. This stretch of coast hosts many of the Algarve’s most popular beaches; highlights include:
Sagres is home to various beaches interspersed around the rocky headland. Praia de Mareta is a good option but if you search along the cliffs you will find other secluded spots such as Joao Vaz.
Lagos has a marina and a lovely promenade as well as good beaches. The main options are Praia de Sao Roque and Meia Praia.
Alvor beach is ever popular. It has plenty of facilities, a boardwalk in the dunes, and a long sweeping expanse of sand before the coast becomes rocky again towards Torralta and Prainha beaches.
Ferrugudo is full of local culture and actually home to several beaches; Praia Caneiros, and Praia Pintadinho being two of them. A third, Praia Grande, is pleasantly situated between the harbour wall and the castle.
Praia da Rocha is busy in high season but there are great facilities and the cliffs make this a stunning beach to explore.
Eastern Beaches (Sotavento Coast)
From Faro out to Vila Real de St Antonio, the eastern coast has some of the largest expanses of sand in the region. It is also home to the picturesque Ria Formosa Natural Park and the Ria Formosa islands (accessible from the Vilamoura Marina).
Faro has several beaches but it is worth seeking out Ilha da Barreta. Here you can find nearly ten kilometres of uninhabited sand to enjoy, and yet still be within striking distance of the city and Faro airport.
Alagoa (also known as Altura) is nestled among aromatic pine trees and herbs but the real attraction is that it is connected to the beaches of Verde, Cabeco and Monte Gordo by one long stretch of sand.