There are so many incredibly beautiful beaches in the Algarve that we quickly abandoned the idea of making a top 10 list. We simply couldn’t decide on just 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 frolic in the shallow waves, the Algarve is the answer to all your prayers.
Come get your feet wet with us at these 20 best beaches in the Algarve. Listed below from west to east, you’re sure to find exactly your favourite coastline. Check them out on the Google map at the bottom of the article.
Porto Mós Beach
This kilometre-long beach is popular with surfers, and is also a favourite retreat from the busier beaches of Lagos. Praia de Porto Mós lies between Lagos and Luz and offers no less than two beachside restaurants at your service. It’s very easy to get from the car park to the beach, making it a good choice for families and the disabled. The steep ochre-coloured, honey-coloured cliffs provide protection from the north winds and the sea is suitable for swimming. In addition, the beach has been awarded the Blue Flag which, among other things, means that there are lifeguards in summer.
Dona Ana Beach
Located near one of the most beautiful places in the Algarve, the Ponta da Piedade, this small beach is close to Lagos, but seems oblivious to the urban hustle and bustle. It is only one kilometre from the centre of Lagos, which is one of the most charming towns in the Algarve. There is a beachside restaurant and a cheap café nearby, and if you find the right spot on the beach you can look out over the many remarkable cliffs and geoforms towards Ponta da Piedade. The beach has also been awarded the Blue Flag which, among other things, means that there are lifeguards on duty in summer.
Praia de Alvor
Praia de Alvor and Meia Praia are the two sides of this huge crescent-shaped beach, suitable for children and with plenty of space for everyone. It is also an ideal place for bird watching, as the Alvor River creates a lagoon before flowing into the Atlantic Ocean. A promenade just behind the beach allows you to get up close to the wildlife. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot a flamingo.
We came across this lovely beach when we walked along one of the most beautiful trails in the Algarve, the Cabos Trail. With its steep, golden cliffs protecting the beach, turquoise waters and curious rocks jutting out of the sea, it is a perfect Algarve beach. Add to this a beach bar and a super cool restaurant with the humble name of “King of the Beach”. I’m not sure we’ve heard any canaries singing, but maybe it’s just the angels? The beach has also been awarded the Blue Flag which, amongst other things, means that there are lifeguards on duty in summer.
This is my favorite urban beach, simply because I find Carvoeiro charming. I love the way the colourful white houses cling to the steep rocks and create a vertical village. And all the houses look out to sea, adorning the stretch of beach that bustles from early morning until late at night. If you want to take a break from the sun at midday, just pop into one of the many restaurants and cafes that cater to holidaymakers. You are spoilt for choice. We also recommend a visit to Algar Seco, a cave and natural swimming pool, both free to visit and only 800 metres from the promenade. Praia do Carvoeiro has also been awarded the 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 bit more anxious about those imposing limestone walls that protect this beach. It’s a perfect place to rest before heading back to what is probably the most beautiful hiking route in the Algarve, the route of the seven hanging valleys. Its proximity to many holiday homes, its beachfront restaurant and the nearby car park make it a very popular – and in high season somewhat crowded – beach. But ahhhh: those golden cliffs against a deep blue sky, it’s a colour combination that is guaranteed to bring joy. The beach has also been awarded the Blue Flag which, among other things, means that there are lifeguards on duty in summer.
Praia do Carvalho
You have to walk down a long flight of stairs and venture through two tunnels, but when you’re on this beach, it’s all worth it. As it’s a little off the beaten track, you can get lucky and have the place almost to yourself. It’s a smaller version of the iconic beaches, which exemplify the Algarve, but smaller, more intimate, yet stunning with those impressive cliffs protecting you on either side in the ocean. And as a vantage point, right between these high limestone walls, a riant rock juts out of the sea and is – along with the numerous caves – a fascinating place to snorkel.
This beach in the small fishing village of the same name is often the starting point for kayaking and stand-up paddle tours to the famous Benagil caves. And while the caves are one of Portugal’s must-see natural wonders, they are not the only reason to visit this beach. Its turquoise waters and proximity to great seafood restaurants make it an ideal destination for a sunny day by the sea. If it’s too crowded with cavers in summer, opt for the old Praia do Carvalho or this one.
Praia da Marinha
This is one of my favourites. Maybe because it was the first beach I went swimming in after arriving in the Algarve. Maybe because it resembled paradise after a long walk along what is probably the most beautiful path in the Algarve, the Seven Hanging Valleys. Or maybe because it is practically perfect. It’s sheltered by steep, golden cliffs, facing this incredible turquoise ocean with gentle waves (the kind that don’t pull your bikini out of place) AND curious geoforms and rocks jutting out of the sea. It also has a restaurant next to the beach and I’m running out of reasons not to be there right now.
Another beautiful Algarve beach with a definite WOW factor, Praia Nova is near Armação de Pêra. This resort town is not one of my favourites, as I believe that a town must have a minimum of local residents to give it soul, or else it becomes a horrible concrete shell. For me, Armação de Pêra is the latter, but it serves a purpose, and if you find yourself trapped in this concrete jungle, now you know you can escape to this beach. It’s surrounded by steep cliffs that protect you from urbanity and it’s right next to the picturesque church of Nossa Senhora da Rocha.
Praia dos Salgados / Praia da Galé Beach
This huge stretch of beach is so long that it has several names: Praia dos Salgados, Praia Grande de Pêra and Praia da Galé. It is located right in front of the Salgados lagoon, which is ideal for bird watching while strolling along the promenade. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a family of turtles by the eastern bridge. The westernmost part of the beach is very wide and slopes gently into the sea. It’s the right angle to work on your tan. As you go further east, the golden limestone cliffs start to stand out, as do the restaurants. We were particularly impressed by Pedras Amarelas, where you can dine on the rooftop and savour the sea.The beach has also been awarded the Blue Flag which, among other things, means there are lifeguards in summer.
Praia do Castelo
We love this area and can spend hours walking the small paths along the coast. There is always something new to discover in this special limestone landscape. The golden sand and family-friendly waters make Praia do Castelo a privileged spot, especially in summer, when the palm leaf umbrellas are in great demand. The popular restaurant and beach bar contribute to its reputation. The beach has also been awarded the Blue Flag which, among other things, means that lifeguards are on duty in summer.
Praia da Coelha
Whether the beach harboured rabbits, meaning coelha, I can’t say. What I can say is that it is another iconic and beautiful Algarvian beach, surrounded and protected by steep cliffs to the north and with clear blue waters to the south, which means you’ll have the sun on your face when you look out to sea. It has a great beachside restaurant which makes it especially popular with families. The beach has also been awarded the Blue Flag, which means, among other things, that there are lifeguards on duty in summer.
Praia da Dédé
Pure “Blue Lagoon” fantasy. This hidden beach is, unfortunately, no secret, but if you arrive early (or in winter, when the 15 degree sea is considered warm enough for a dip) you can have the place to yourself. It sits in a so-called “sinkhole” generated by the millennia-long erosion of limestone cliffs and is completely surrounded by sheer walls. The ocean enters through a cave in front of the sea and completes the feeling of having entered a pocket of paradise. Just watch out for the tides.
Praia de São Rafael
Another personal favorite. The golden cliffs embrace you on this beach, where you can feel isolated from the world, but perhaps not from other sun seekers, as this is a popular beach, partly because of its beachfront restaurant. The waves can get quite strong and can guarantee hours of fun watching people have little mishaps when it comes to their underwear while being tossed about by the waves. Unless, of course, you’re the one getting groped by those ungracious waves. Also, the beach has been awarded the Blue Flag which, among other things, means that there are lifeguards on duty in the summer.
Praia dos Arrifes
The name “Arrifes” originates from the Arabic word “Al-rife”, meaning “reef” or coastal rocks. And that is certainly the case for this Lilliputian lagoon with its skeleton-shaped rock. This beach may not be ideal for families with small children, as the reefs are treacherously hidden by waves in rough seas. However, when it’s calm, it’s a perfect place to snorkel and investigate the marine life. The beach is especially popular for its beach restaurant, but if it gets too crowded, you can head to the neighbouring beach at
Praia de São Rafael. The beach has also been awarded the Blue Flag which, among other things, means that there are lifeguards in summer.
Praias da Albufeira
The urban beach of popular Albufeira stretches almost 2 kilometers from the beach lift to. Praia do Peneco on the west, covering Praia dos Pescadores in the center up to. Praia dos Alemães in the east. They are basically the same, that’s why we call them simply Albufeira beaches. You have the city at your back and the sea and the sun to the south, which guarantees many hours of sunshine. And the added advantage of a city: plenty of restaurants, cafes and bars to choose from. In addition, the beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag, which means, among other things, that there are lifeguards in summer.
Praia de Falésia
If we had to do a Top10, this beach would probably make the list. Not only because it stretches for more than 5 kilometers, but because it is backed by these ochre-colored cliffs that look like molten rock and sand. Mesmerizing and unique. The contrast between the white sand, blue sea, orange cliffs and blue sky is intoxicating. We loved the walk along the top of the cliffs to Vilamoura and the walk along the water’s edge on the way back. Also, the beach has been awarded the Blue Flag which, among other things, means there are lifeguards in summer.
Praia de Faro
Just a stone’s throw from the airport, but undisturbed by planes, this endless stretch of beach can be reached by walking 1km from the huge free car park or by bus no. 16. 16. Once there, you’ll have plenty of options for privacy if you keep walking in either direction. Or stay and enjoy the nearby opportunities for a bite to eat. The beach has also been awarded the Blue Flag which, among other things, means that there are lifeguards on duty in summer.
Praia da Ilha de Tavira
This unique beach has at least 3 nice things going for it: perfect white sand, beachside restaurants to satisfy your needs before venturing out to find your own stretch of sand, and also something unique compared to the other beaches in the Algarve: a cemetery. Mind you, it’s not creepy. Or maybe, just a little. It is a cemetery of anchors. And although it sounds a bit creepy, it’s actually very pretty. Getting here is a bit of a hassle, either via a 1.5 kilometre walk along a dyke across the Tavira marshes or on a little tourist train that costs 1.6 euros per nose. The beach has also been awarded the Blue Flag, which means, among other things, that there are lifeguards in summer.
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