Over two hundred kilometers of Algarve coastline wait for your discovery. From Odeceixe in the northwest of Algarve to Vila Real Santo Antonio in the south east, there are such distinctly varying landscapes that it is never hard to find beaches with that special feature to suit the tastes of every guest.
Algarve Beach side towns
Albufeira · Almancil · Alvor · Armação de Pera · Faro · Lagoa · Lagos · Olhão · Portimão · Sagres · Tavira · Vilamoura · Vila Real de Santo António·
Algarve - Main Beaches of Interest
Visitors to the Algarve will find so many lovely interesting sandy beaches located in the Algarve. You will find amongst them a good selection of the type you prefer on which to enjoy your holiday. Everyone has some favourites and these can often be hidden away from the more well known ones! When you see the sign indicating the word “Praia” this means in the Portuguese language “beach”.
These beaches vary from the the small sheltered coves to broad endless stretches of sea washed sand. The sea bed near to the beach can vary from a comfortable shallow shelve to a more sudden drop - so be careful!
As a rule is travelling from east to west along the coast the beaches become more likely to be subject to seasonal currents. Some excellent beaches are not immediately accessible from the holiday towns or main roads and we strongly recommend that these are very worthwhile to seek out.
An exception to the above suggestion is the coastline running from the west of Sagres going immediately north. This coast is very variable and being open to the winds and Atlantic Ocean waves from the west it normally presents different conditions to those found on the same day along the quieter southern coastline. This area has a natural rugged atmosphere and the at times the winds can be biting so it can be advisable to find a beach that is sheltered. Beware that the sea can be choppy with big waves and more often combined with a dangerous fast undercurrent.
All main beaches have during the main season one or more Lifeguards on safety patrol during daylight hours. They are usually working attached to a beach concession or a restaurant. These beach concessions can offer all the usual water sports facilities along with restaurant food and snacks. Out of the approximately 150 named beaches in the Algarve some useful ones are listed below.
Travelling from east to west
The beach is to be found located to the west of Monte Gordo and it stretches westwards towards the town of Tavira. This beach takes its name from the forest of trees and bushes that line the land side of the broad endless beach. It is ideally suitable for most families with their children.
PRAIA ILHA DE TAVIRA
Many people consider this to be the best beach on the eastern side of Faro. It is also often locally referred to as Praia das Cascas. A few minutes boat trip will take visitors from the jetty of Tavira across to the attractive long sandy bar. For visitors with naturist inclinations there is an area on the beach reserved especially for their needs which is about one kilometre walk towards the west end of this beach.
PRAIA DO BARRIL
The beach is an extension of the above beach known as Praia Ilha de Tavira. However, this section is easily reached from the tourist villages of Santa Luzia and Pedras d'el Rey. From Pedras d'el Rey a fun small train takes the visitor across a small intervening piece of water to the Island bar in a slow journey which reminds visitors that they are definitely on holiday!
PRAIA DA ARMONA
There are three Islands, named Armona, Culatra and Farol, all act as barriers to the sea and on the inland side there are extensive lagoons forming the nature reserve of Ria Formosa. Reaching any of these beaches can only be done by Ferryboat which leaves from the fishing Port of Olhão. The journeys can takes some 30 minutes and leave at about 15 minute intervals during the day – in season each ferry with its destination to one of the three Islands. When the visitor arrives at the chosen Island they are going to find themselves as one of the limited number of humans present.
PRAIA DA ILHA DE FARO
The sandy beach is a long narrow sandy bar that is accessed by a road traversing a lagoon just south of the Faro airport. In the season there is parking on the land side of the bridge and a small train takes visitors across. Being near to the principal town of the Algarve it is usually very busy and there are many restaurants and water sports faculties.of restaurants.
PRAIA DE GARRÃO
This is the beachfront to the "chic" area of the holiday resorts and expensive villas known as Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo. The beach can be easily reached by road and an area popular for its choice of beach restaurants. One is named after a women known to everyone as only “Julias” – a Mozambique lady with lots of and a character who opened the first beach shack at the time when access was either by horse or by a very sandy road through the pine trees.
PRAIA DA FALÉSIA
The fascinating gouged red cliffs that form a backdrop to the endless stretch of sand is where the name originates. As these cliffs are not very tall it makes access convenient whilst acting as a suitable barrier to any winds from the north. This beach is to be found west of Vilamoura before reaching Olhos de Água.
PRAIA DA GALÉ
This is another long sandy stretch of beach but as there are no cliffs it has many point of easy access by road. The beach is located west of Albufeira and runs around the Bay of Armação de Pera to the town.
PRAIA DA ROCHA
Probably the oldest tourist beach and the best know beach in the Algarve. Located south of the town of Portimão. It was originally much shorter in depth and presenting with a lot more charm. This beach has in the past been enlarged with the sand that was pumped out during the dredging of the Portimão Harbour. This beach can become very busy in the summer months but due to its size seldom seems overcrowded.
PRAIA DE ALVOR
The beach is located and accessed from the the popular fishing village of Alvor. It sandy beach stretches just over two kilometres from the village to the west in the direction of Lagos to an opening to the Alvor lagoon and its small port. Some twenty years ago a visitor could walk at low tide by beach all the way to Lagos by wading across a small shallow outlet from the lagoon before the opening was constructed.
The beach is the other half of the previous walk from Alvor to Lagos. It takes its name from being part of this walk as “Meia” indicates the word “half”. The approach to this beach is from the east side of Lagos and it is easily accessed. This beach is popular with windsurfers and surfers as it faces the open Bay of Lagos and also protected to the west by the promontory of Ponta da Piedade. The beach is possibly a little longer than that of the Alvor and there are many small beach bars to satisfy the thirst for those who wish to walk its length.
PRAIA DO MARTINHAL
This beach is located in the Bay of Baleeira on the east side of Sagres. A windsurfers paradise and a smaller beach in a reasonably shallow bay that is shouldered to the west by Ponta da Atalaia. It is recommended as a great beach if visiting the area of Sagres.
PRAIA DO CASTELEJ
One of the fewer beaches on the west coast were it is slightly safer to swim due to the underlying dangerous currents. This beach is to be found to the north-west of the small town of Vila do Bispo. It is a smaller beach and has a completely different atmosphere to those found on the southern coastline. It may not suit everyone but those that do visit this beach tend to return.
PRAIA DA BORDEIRA
Located on the west coast of the Algarve and can be reached by travelling north from Vila do Bispo, then after passing the small village of Carrapateira turn seaward where there is a sign that reads “Praia”. Virtually a long sandy beach with many sand dunes and very often virtually deserted out of the season. Enjoy the feeling of being open to nature and exploring the surrounding area on foot.
PRAIA DA ARRIFANA
A beach which is considered to be reasonably safe for swimming and a very special place with quite stupendous views. Take the road north to Lisbon from Lagos. Just before reaching the small town of Aljezur take the turning left when you see the name “Arrifana”. On reaching Arrifana you will find the beach to your left at the bottom of a very steep narrow road with little or no parking area at the bottom. A visit to this beach out of season is seriously recommended and there are some good restaurants in the small village
Information courtesy of general internet research and algarveuncovered.com, portugal-info.net, tripadvisor.com, algarve-guides.com and many more sources