Check out our list of the best beaches in Algarve, in the south of Portugal and add some of these beauties to your travel wish list.
Algarve has more than one hundred beaches along 125 miles (200 km) of coastline. Here you will find stunning beaches of clear sand, bathed by clear and calm waters, some are smaller and surrounded by cliffs and caves and other are larger and flat.
What is the most beautiful beach in the Algarve?
It depends on your personal taste. The Algarve has the most beautiful beaches in Europe, where you can stroll, rest and take a great sea bath. Moreover, most of the Algarve beaches are Blue Flag beaches awarded, which certifies its high quality and cleanliness.
What is the best beach in the Algarve?
You’re probably wondering right now: What is the best beach in Algarve?
It will depend on your preferences. If you prefer the most deserted beaches, situated in the midst of nature and cliffs, but with more bustling waters, where you can go surfing, walking or resting, we advise the ocean beaches of the Vicentina Coast, from Alzejur to Cabo de São Vicente.
Or if you appreciate the smaller beaches, with calm waters, amidst the cliffs and beautiful rock formations with caves, you have the beaches on the Algarve coast from Sagres to Quinta do Lago.
Finally, if you like more flat beaches, with extensive sands and clear and calm waters, you have the beaches that go from Faro to the mouth of the Guadiana River in Vila Real de Santo António. Most of these beaches are located on the Ocean coast of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, which may make you take a small boat to get there, but well worth it!
Map with the best beaches in the Algarve
This Map shows our list of the most stunning beaches in Algarve, discussed in detail below.
Best beaches from Aljezur to Cabo de São Vicente
Odeceixe Beach and MONTE CLÉRIGO beach
Within the Natural Park of Sudoeste Alentejano and Costa Vicentina, the municipality of Aljezur has several stunning beaches that can be chosen to be the best beaches in the Algarve, such as the Odeceixe, Monte Clérigo and Arrifana beaches.
The Odeceixe Beach was elected as one of the Seven Wonders – Portugal beaches, winner in the category “Cliffs Beaches”. Due to its location it allows salt water and freshwater baths, that is, it contains a river beach because it is partially limited by Ribeira de Seixe. However, the cliffs are one of its most distinctive features. Not only the cliffs are nesting sites of several birds, but also a place with great natural beauty. Access to the beach is easy and it is guarded during the bathing season.
The Monte Clérigo Beach has impressive dunes that extend to the sea. At the extremes of the beach there are cliffs, which protect the vacationers from the wind. At the far south, the low tide unveils a rocky platform where you will find pools of water with fish and other marine animals. You can bathe in the largest pools. On the south side, also during low tide, you can walk to three beautiful rocky beaches. The beach has easy access, even for people with reduced mobility, and is guarded during the bathing season.
Arrifana Beach is a beautiful bay, surrounded by high cliffs. It is the ideal place where you can go surfing, bodyboarding, scuba diving and other water sports. At the southern end of the beach you can see a huge black rock emerging from the sea, called the “Pedra da Agulha” (Stone of the Needle). In the extreme north of the beach you find traces of the “Ribat da Arrifana” (former convent-Arab fortress), considered one of the largest in Europe. Nearby you have the Fortaleza da Arrifana (a fortress), from the top of which you have a magnificent panoramic view over the sea. Access to the beach is easy, one per ramp and the other by wooden stairs, and is guarded during the bathing season.
BORDEIRA BEACH and AMADO beach
Also in the municipality of Aljezur you can discover other excellent beaches, such as the Bordeira and Amado beaches.
Bordeira Beach is a 1.9 miles (3 km) stretch of a long sandy beach. It is a beach of outstanding scenic beauty, due to its cliffs, the mouth of Ribeira da Bordeira and a dynamic dune system. Water sports are popular at this beach, namely kitesurf. The beach is guarded during the bathing season and has easy access.
Amado Beach is a long sandy beach surrounded by high cliffs entering the sea. Since it has the ideal wave, it’s one of the main spots in Europe and one of the best beaches in Algarve and Portugal for surfing. Access to the beach is easy and it is guarded during the bathing season.
Castelejo Beach and Martinhal beach
In the municipality of Vila do Bispo, but still located in the South West Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park, we highlight the Castelejo Beach and Martinhal Beach.
The Castelejo Beach has a surprising contrast of the black shale rocks with the golden sands. Due to its heavy swell, it is ideal for surfing as well as bodyboarding. Access to the beach is easy and it is guarded during the bathing season.
The Martinhal Beach is a beautiful extensive sandy beach with transparent waters. From there you can see the Sagres village with its fishing port and the Pousada de Sagres. Sometimes the place is a bit windy, thus allowing windsurfing and kitesurfing.
In order to get there you have to pass through a five star resort. Access to the beach is easy and it is guarded during the bathing season.
Best beaches from Sagres to Quinta do Lago
Dona Ana and Meia-Praia BeachES
In Lagos municipality you can find the beautiful Dona Ana and Meia-Praia beaches, strong competitors for the best beaches in the Algarve.
Dona Ana Beach is perhaps one of the most photographed beaches in the Algarve due to its extraordinary beauty. It is a small beach surrounded by impressive rocky cliffs, sculpted by nature. It is also a good place for scuba diving. Based on specialised publications it’s considered one of the best beaches in the world.
However, bathers should maintain a safe distance from the cliffs due to the risk of collapse. Access to the beach is through a long staircase which hinders access to older people and makes it unfeasible for wheelchair users. The beach is guarded during the bathing season.
Meia-Praia Beach has an extensive sandy beach that invites to go for long walks. At one of its ends, you can find the amazing “Forte da Meia Praia” (a fortress), which in the 17th-18th centuries had the function of defending the Lagos bay. Ideal for scuba diving, surfing and windsurfing. Access to the beach is easy and it is guarded during the bathing season.
VAU beach And Rocha beach
In the municipality of Portimão we highlight the Vau and Rocha Beaches.
Vau Beach is one of holidaymakers favourite beaches in Algarve, with its fine golden sands and hot-toned cliffs. It is quieter, in comparison with Praia da Rocha, since it’s relatively farther from Portimão. Access to the beach is easy and it is guarded during the bathing season.
Rocha Beach is one of the most famous in the Algarve, being called the “Queen of Instagram” in Portugal. A golden sandy beach of about o.6 miles (1 km), protected by cliffs of warm tones. Access to the beach is easy and it is guarded during the bathing season.
This beach has two viewpoints where you can enjoy the fabulous coastline panoramic view. One is the Três Castelos viewpoint. The other is a mandatory place of visit, the Fortaleza de Santa Catarina de Ribamar (a fortress), which was created in order to defend the Arade River mouth.
CARVOEIRO beach, Benagil Beach and MARINHA BEACH
The municipality of Lagoa has several of the most beautiful beaches in Algarve, such as the Carvoeiro, Benagil and Marinha Beaches.
Carvoeiro Beach was considered by the European Best Destinations as “one of the most beautiful”. A fisherman’s beach, located in a small bay, next to a cliff, where the small houses of fishermen are placed in a charming way. Access to the beach is easy and it is guarded during the bathing season.
The Benagil Beach is a curious little beach at the bottom of a valley, where the cliffs carved by the elements of nature formed caves and algars. From the beach, and by boat or kayak, one can visit the famous Algar de Benagil (Algar is a natural cavity excavated in the rock). Access to the beach is not very obvious although it is not difficult.
Marinha Beach is considered the best beach in the Algarve. In such a way, that the Michelin guide has chosen it as one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in Europe and one of the 100 most beautiful beaches in the World.
This Beach is surrounded by cliffs of golden tones sculpted in artistic form by nature, forming arches, caves and algars. Not to be missed is the breathtaking view of the cliff top. Moreover, the beach has good conditions for diving.
Bathers should maintain a safe distance from the cliffs due to the risk of collapse. The beach has access through a long and gentle staircase.
GALÉ BEACH, Santa Eulália Beach and FALÉSIA Beach (near Albufeira)
In Albufeira we highlight the Galé, Santa Eulália and Falésia beaches. The latter, for many, is one of the best beaches in the Algarve.
Galé Beach is a beach for all tastes, with dunes and cliffs (typical rocky formations of the western Algarve). In addition, a touch of green is given to the beach, by pine trees at its top. These features allow the existence of more private corners for bathers. It is an extensive beach, that has its access, near the concession, through a trail on the cliff.
Santa Eulália Beach is a wide sandy beach, with low cliffs of golden tone and surrounded by pines or garden area. Access to the beach is easy and it is guarded during the bathing season.
The Falésia Beach (or Açoteias Beach) has a cliff whose colour varies surprisingly between red, gold, brown and white, which has been intensely sculpted over time, creating very interesting reliefs. Extensive beach of tranquil sea that invites to go for long walks. Wonderful beach in such a way that was considered, by the Travellers ‘ Choice Award of 2018 TripAdvisor, the twelfth best in the world and best beach in Portugal. Access to the beach is through a staircase and ramp and it is guarded during the bathing season.
VILAMOURA Beach And Ancão beach
In the municipality of Loulé we highlight the Vilamoura and Ancão Beaches.
Vilamoura Beach is in a chic area of the Algarve, where golf and water sports predominate. Its location, between the Vilamoura marina and the fishing port of Quarteira, makes it a cosmopolitan beach. It has a extensive shore and golden and fine sands. Its calm water are especially suitable for families. Vilamoura beach has good accessibility and it is guarded during the bathing season.
The Ancão Beach, which is located in the Ria Formosa Natural Park, is the most isolated of the municipality. It’s a beach of extensive shore, surrounded by a vast area of dunes, dune vegetation and pine trees. Due to its features, attracts tourists from all around, particularly high profile celebrities. It’s an accessible and guarded beach.
Best beaches from Faro to Vila Real de Santo António
Faro Beach (or Faro Island)
Next to the capital of the Algarve is Faro Beach (also known as Ilha de Faro Beach). This is located in the Ria Formosa Natural Park. The beach sand stretches for several miles. Over there the municipality nautical centre promotes sports practice, namely canoeing, sailing and windsurfing.
The access takes place by car, bus, bike over a bridge or by boat. The beach has good accessibility and it is monitored during the bathing season.
Armona BEACH and Fuzeta BEACH
In Olhão area you can find Armona and Fuzeta Beaches, but first you have to catch a small boat to get there.
The Armona Beach is located on one tip of the island that bears the same name and is situated in the Ria Formosa Natural Park.
Thus the connections are made from Faro, Olhão or Fuzeta and it’s a short boat trip.
The beach has an endless sandy shore, allowing to enjoy peace and quiet and to go for long walks. Also has good accessibility and it is guarded during the bathing season.
The Fuzeta Beach is located on the northern tip of the island of Armona in front of the Fuzeta village. It can be visited with a short boat ride.
In this location, the Ria Formosa is narrower and it’s the natural beauty that stands out. The extensive shore of white sands allows space for all who visit, far from the tourist bustle.
A short walk to the Barra da Fuzeta leads to a paradisiacal desert of sand and water.
Barril beach, terra estreita Beach and Ilha de Tavira beach
In the Tavira area we highlight the Barril, Terra Estreita and the Ilha de Tavira Beaches. Here is the home for some of the best beaches in the Algarve, with its vast area of golden sand and tranquil sea.
Barril Beach is a sandy beach, located in the Ria Formosa Natural Park, in the middle of the Tavira Island. In its dunes you can find the “Cemitério das Âncoras” (anchors cemetery) which is a very photogenic place. The Arraial, a formerly recovered tuna fishing house, is now a beach support facility.
To access the beach, you can go by boat or from the Aldeamento Turístico Pedras D’el Rei, cross the pedestrian bridge and then go by foot or by means of a tourist train. The beach is guarded during the bathing season.
Terra Estreita Beach is one of our favorites with its vast sandy beach and lots of space and privacy, avoiding the mass tourism. It is also located in the Ria Formosa Natural Park, on Tavira Island, in an area where the latter is narrower. To access it, you will have to make a 10 minute pleasant boat trip from the pier of Santa Luzia. During the bathing season the beach is guarded.
The Ilha de Tavira Beach, with its endless sandy shore, is right in front of Tavira. Surrounded by pine trees, it was considered by Lonely Planet magazine, one of the top ten destinations for family travel. Access can only be made by boat, from Tavira centre or from the Cais das Quatro Águas (a pier 2 km away from Tavira centre). The beach is guarded during the bathing season.
Manta Rota Beach
In the municipality of Vila Real de Santo António you find the Manta Rota Beach. It is a vast beach located at the Bay of Monte Gordo, in front of the touristic village of Manta Rota. Despite being quite popular, this endless beach is quiet and invites to go for long walks. Its water is one of the hottest in the Algarve. Depending on the tide, you can find shallow water in a considerable area, which makes it suitable for families.
In the Manta Rota we love to eat the “Bola de Berlim”, a pastry sold on the beach. The beach has good accessibility and it is monitored during the bathing season.
ALAGOA (OR altura) Beach And Praia Verde
Belonging to the municipality of Castro Marim you can enjoy the Alagoa (or Altura) Beach and Praia Verde.
The Alagoa (or Altura) Beach is perfect for families. There is plenty of space, small lagoons at low tide and absence of rocks. In fact, here the highlight is the large sandy beach of fine sand and tranquil sea. Also the beach has good accessibility and it is guarded during the bathing season.
Praia Verde Beach has white sand and warm, transparent waters. The pine trees that surrounds it provide visitors the perfect setting of natural beauty. Since it is far from the most sought after places and has an extensive sandy beach, it becomes a good holiday getaway. Praia Verde beach has good accessibility and it is guarded during the bathing season.
Other Places to Visit in Algarve
- Aljezur: Self-guided walking tour in Aljezur, Portugal
- Cacela Velha: Cacela Velha village: must-see Algarve gem at Ria Formosa
- Lagos: Self-guided walking tour in Lagos, Portugal
- Portimão: Self-guided walking tour in Portimão, Portugal
- Algarve: Best things to do in Algarve: Find our selection
- Algarve: How to Get to Algarve: Getting In and Getting Around
- Algarve: Sports in Algarve: What to play during the vacations
|To learn more about other LikedPlaces, go to our Destinations in Portugal page.|
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