Amazing high cliffs over wild waves on one side and white strips of sand and clear, calm waters on the other. This is the setting you will find along the 124 miles of coastline in the Algarve. And in this post, I am sharing a list of the best 25 Algarve beaches to help you plan your amazing Itinerary in Portugal.
Located in southern Portugal, facing the Atlantic ocean, and with an average of 300 sunny days per year, the Algarve region represents one of the main touristic destinations in Europe.
Mainly because of its beautiful landscape, with golden sand beaches and turquoise water, and reasonable prices.
The Algarve coast can be divided into the south coast and the west coast, also known as Costa Vicentina.
The South coast is marked by astonishing golden cliffs and caves alongside long strips of white sand with calm waters.
The west coast is home to incredibly high rocky cliffs and some of the best surf spots in the country.
Disputed and sought-after by thousands of tourists every year, the south coast is where the most popular beaches in Portugal are located.
On the other hand, the west coast is where the beaches are wilder and more deserted.
Given the differences in landscape and infrastructure, I recommend including both coasts in your Algarve itinerary.
Not to mention the South coast has great resorts and hotels, while the west coast is home to the best Algarve AirBnB.
Having lived in Praia de Faro for almost 3 years, I have a special connection to the Algarve.
Between the surf trips to the West coast and the cultural tours across the old towns of Tavira and Olhão, it is hard to say what I like the most about the region.
The Best Beaches in Algarve Portugal
Here below you will find a detailed list of the best beaches in the Algarve with practical information on what you will find, their location, and the nearby facilities. Make sure you include some of them in your Portugal Itinerary.
Best beaches in Aljezur
Praia de Odeceixe
Odeceixe village sits on very steep green hills, background scenery for small white houses.
The Odeceixe beach itself is ideal for a family day because it is lined by the Seixe River, thus having a river beach with “warm” water for the little ones to enjoy.
With a white strip of sand encircled by the river, Odeceixe Beach is wild and preserved being surrounded by huge cliffs and wildflowers.
Considered one of the 7 Wonders of Portugal’s Beaches, Odeceixe attracts surfers year-round. Access to the beach is very easy with a stairway and a ramp. Besides lifeguards, it has restrooms, a parking lot, and snack bars.
Where to stay by Praia de Odeceixe
The best accommodations in Odeceixe village include Casas do Moinho with renovated and well-decorated village houses, the Monte do Cardal with its relaxing pool, and Carlos’s Beach Hostel, which is not only cheaper but also closer to the beach.
Praia da Amoreira
Sitting in the estuary of Ribeira de Aljezur, forming a beautiful landscape with a dune field, Amoreira Beach is a wild, authentic, and quiet beach.
The best time to visit is during low tide. This is also one of the most popular destinations among surfers and bodyboarders.
I suggest parking on the southern cliffs of the beach and admire the breathtaking view before going down the staircase and crossing the river.
But if you choose to park on the northern side of the beach the access is much easier. Besides lifeguards, this beach has a restaurant, bar, and parking lot.
Praia do Monte Clérigo
Sitting next to a small village, Monte Clérigo looks like it came out of a fairy tale. Its beach is long and a popular surf spot.
Sand, dunes, and rocks shape its landscape, which has natural pools during low tide. Featuring restaurants and parking, the beach has public restrooms free of charge.
Also, if you are driving it is worth following the southern cliffs towards Praia da Fateixa admiring one of the most breathtaking views in Portugal. The wrinkles on the rocks are out of this world!
Where to stay by Praia de Monte Clerigo
Praia da Arrifana
Extending for half a mile, Arrifana is a beautiful beach in a bay encircled by amazing cliffs.
From the top of the Arrifana Fortress, there is a beautiful view of the bay surrounded by the little fishing village with its white houses. This beach is well known by surf lovers, and you will see many surf schools there.
And if you do not like waves just stay on the right side by the cliff. The access is through a long zigzagging street that goes down the cliff to the stairs and ramps that lead to the sand. This beach has toilets, restaurants, bars, and parking.
Where to stay by Praia da Arrifana
Close by you will find the comfortable Arrifana Destination Hostel, perfect if you are traveling alone, and the Camping Serrão.
Praia da Bordeira
Probably one of the largest beaches in this area with a sandy beach of about 2 miles, Bordeira is located near the mouth of the Ribeira da Bordeira.
This beach is quite popular for water sport activities such as kitesurfing, paddleboarding, and surfing. You can access Bordeira by a beautiful wooden walkway.
The view from up there is already worth the visit. There are restaurants nearby and a free parking lot. This beautiful and peaceful beach also features beautiful dunes and fantastic cliffs.
Where to stay by Praia de Bordeira
Located in the nearby Carrapateira village, the Hortas do Rio – Casa de Campoque Hotel offers plenty of comforts, while Casa da Estela is a cheaper, yet lovely, alternative.
Praia do Amado
Also close to Carrapateira and extending over three valleys, the beautiful Amado Beach is also considered one of the best beaches in the Algarve for surfing.
Actually, this is another popular spot among surf schools. Surrounded by cliffs, the beach occupies a bay sheltered from the wind.
And one of my favorite highlights is to watch the sunset from the top of the parking lot or from the viewpoint located between both staircases that access the beach.
Access is easy via two small wooden walkways or an old cobblestone street. There are a couple of bars, a free parking lot, and lifeguards.
Where to stay by Praia do Amado
Besides the accommodations in Carrapateira, I recommend the off-the-grid Aqua Ventura eco-lodge, in Pedralva village, only 13 minutes by car from Amado.
Best beaches in Vila do Bispo
Praia do Castelejo
Castelejo Beach is my favorite beach on the West coast of Portugal. Maybe it is because of its incredibly high rocky cliffs or the fun surf memories I have from there.
Depending on the tide and the waves, this can be a great swimming spot. You can walk to the next beach, Praia da Cordoama, during low tide.
Around the area, there are also many rocks to climb and adventure yourself. Besides a parking lot, Castelejo features a restaurant, toilets, and surfboard rental.
During summer, the beach is monitored by lifeguards due to possible rip currents.
Praia da Ponta Ruiva
Although popular with surfers, Ponta Ruiva Beach is a secluded beach on Costa Vicentina. Its name derives from a fire-colored steep rock standing out on the water.
The reddish tones of this rock contrast sharply with the black of the surrounding high cliffs. Pedestrian access to the beach is via a trail, which descends the cliff in a place with gentler slopes.
The beach is very quiet, without any human marks. Just be aware that at high tide the beach has no sand strip and there are no facilities whatsoever.
The beach is located in a very isolated area, and I recommend staying in Vila do Bispo for better comfort.
Praia da Ingrina
About 3 miles from Raposeira village, the small Ingrina Beach lies in a bay protected from the winds and is a great place to put the kids at ease.
But if you are a fan of more radical activities, you can try cliff jumping, swimming, and exploring caves since all this is possible around Ingrina, especially when you walk west of the beach from the parking lot.
And I personally love the Sebastião restaurant located in Ingrina and their delicious fish soup.
Where to stay by Praia da Ingrina
If you want to stay close to Ingrina there are great options, especially if you are a solo traveler. Check out Hostel on the Hill and Surf Lodge Algarve Ingrina.
Praia do Zavial
Located between Ingrina and Salema, Zavial is one of the best beaches in Algarve.
It has an extensive sandy beach, and if you climb to the top of the cliff on the western edge of the beach, you will have a view worthy of the gods.
It is popular for surfing and with young visitors, although it has been receiving more and more young couples with children.
The beach has a restaurant and free parking. And as a bonus, located on top of the cliff, you can explore the ruins of the small Fort of Zavial.
Praia da Luz
With crystal-clear and transparent water, Praia da Luz qualifies as a Blue Flag Beach. It is divided into two smaller beaches.
One part has fine white sand and it is ideal for families with small children. The other part is full of rocks of all sizes, perfect for rock climbing and hiking.
Although the nearby Vila da Luz is a fishing village, it has become a great tourist destination, having developed different holiday complexes and services such as restaurants, bars, shops, and hotels.
Where to stay in Praia da Luz
For more affordable accommodation check out Jho’La Surf Camp and if you are seeking comfort in Praia da Luz, Casa do Mar is right in front of the beach.
Praia do Camilo
The famous Praia do Camilo is a wonderful beach with cliffs and rocks, green vegetation, and an incredible blue sea.
Accessible by an extensive staircase with over 200 steps, it is the flagship of Lagos. A kind of tunnel between the rocks reveals a second hidden beach, almost as beautiful as the main one. Camilo is great for snorkeling!
At the entrance of the beach, the O Camilo restaurant serves delicious fresh fish while providing an incredible view.
Where to stay in Praia do Camilo
And as accommodations go, you cannot go wrong with Casa Mãe, in Lagos. It is hard to describe how charming this place is.
Ponta da Piedade
Although not exactly a beach, Ponta da Piedade is one of the most beautiful natural areas in the Algarve, formed by cliffs and other rock formations.
Located 2.5 miles south of Lagos, it is a great place for photography and more recently for hiking, as wooden walkways have recently been built all the way to Canavial Beach.
The walkways run along the coastline, near the cliffs, for 1.5 miles in a landscape of contrasts between the sea and rock formations that leave you speechless.
When you arrive at the Ponta da Piedade Lighthouse, all you have to do is walk down the long stairs to begin to appreciate the extreme beauty of these natural caves.
Praia Dona Ana
Praia Dona Ana is a very accessible beach and the one with the best infrastructure in Lagos. The view from the top is incredible, and only a few steps from the main road.
While the beach is quite famous for its cliffs and arches, it is also suitable for children and has very clear water. There are parking, rental chairs, umbrellas, and a restaurant.
Where to stay in Praia Dona Ana
In a renovated historic building in the center of Lagos, Top City Hostel has a terrace with a swimming pool and sun loungers. And if you are looking for more comfort, you cannot go wrong with the Carvi Beach Hotel located right in front of the beach itself.
See more hotel options on my post on where to stay in Lagos.
Best beaches in Portimão
Praia dos Três Irmãos
Also known as Praia do Alvor Nascente, Três Irmãos Beach is a sheltered bay between rocks, located at the eastern end of the long sandy beach of Alvor, which extends for 4 miles without interruption.
One of its highlights is to explore the very characteristic small cave. And the low tide gives access to Prainha while allowing walks through the coves and creeks.
Where to stay in Praia dos Três Irmãos
Being located right in Portimão, which is the largest city on the western side of the Algarve, Três Irmãos has many excellent hotel options.
Also, Portimão has the advantage of being well located, as it is in the part of the region where the best beaches in Algarve and attractions are located.
Praia da Rocha
Despite the urban and tourist growth, Praia da Rocha remains the reference beach in Portimão and one of the best-known beaches in Portugal.
The long extension of its sand, the infrastructures, and the viewpoints with fabulous views of the adjacent coast add points to this wonderful beach.
The highlights include a visit to the Miradouro dos Três Castelos, located at the right end of the beach.
At night, the bustle is great along the street that runs along the coast, where there are several bars and clubs. And of the hotels facing Praia da Rocha, the best recommendations are the Jupiter Algarve Hotel and the Algarve Cassino Hotel.
Beaches in Lagoa Region
Praia do Carvoeiro
Located in Lagoa, Praia do Carvoeiro is one of the most emblematic places in the Algarve. It is a small beach, but with a spectacular view and a very cute village.
From the top of the cliffs, you can see the entire beach and tour the trails on top of the cliffs to a tunnel with a “window” to the sea.
Even though there has been an over-development in the area with the constructions of modern golf resorts, the beach old feel hasn’t been affected much and it still conserves its peculiar fishing tradition and culture.
Where to stay in Praia do Carvoeiro
So, besides getting to know the beach, you can stroll around the alleys of the village, buy souvenirs, and have lunch. Overall, there is a good infrastructure of hotels and restaurants.
Praia de Benagil
The small Benagil Beach is nestled in a sheltered bay, next to the village of Benagil. The beach itself is not that special but the Benagil Cave, right next to it, is the most famous postcard of the Algarve.
And this is because of its amazing rock formations which resulted in a huge hole in the ceiling of the cave.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to reach Benagil Cave on foot. The only ways to access are by kayak, paddleboards, or boat. There is a way to see the cave from the top along the 7 Hanging Valleys Trail, but it does not reveal how beautiful the place is seen from below.
Praia da Marinha
Praia da Marinha is another iconic beach on this list of the best Algarve beaches, ranking among the most scenic beaches in Europe.
Marinha features eroded cliffs of warm tones mingling on the horizon, shades of blue in the sea, caves, and natural wells.
To have the best view, take a walk and climb the cliffs to the left of the beach. You can visit the beach from the top, sitting on a wooden deck and take photos or stay on the sand enjoying the incredible view of the cliffs.
Access is via a long staircase and there is a bar and a free car park. Although the Suites Alba Resort & Spa is 7 minutes driving from Praia da Marinha, it is definitely worth your stay when visiting the area.
Beach in Silves
Praia de Armação da Pêra
With crystal-clear waters, the sandy bay of Armação da Pêra Beach has a large break wall, where there are several restaurants and bars.
The sea has a fishing area, with several small fishing boats, and at the end of this area begins a natural beach, surrounded by dunes and a small lagoon. The beach also has some caves which can be accessed during low tide. The infrastructures at Armação da Pêra Beach are great, with disabled access, restaurants, sunbeds, and wifi.
With an economy based on tourism and fishing, the cities’ highlights include the Fortress of Armação da Pêra, the Santo António Chapel, and the Mother Church. Besides typical houses available for rent, you can also stay at the beachfront Holiday Inn Algarve.
Beaches in Albufeira
Praia de São Rafael
São Rafael Beach is well known in Albufeira, which is one of the main cities in the Algarve. You can get very close to it by car, then there is a small trail for about 600 ft.
The beach is rocky and not very big, but with amazing crystal-clear waters. Because of its calm waters and a small strip of sand (only 330 ft long), this is a great beach to lay down, read a book, and go for a very relaxing swim.
At São Rafael Beach there are no showers, but there is a very nice restaurant. You can also rent kayaks and paddleboards.
Where to stay in São Rafael Beach
Apartamentos São Rafael is the perfect accommodation if you want more privacy to enjoy some peace and quiet.
Praia da Falésia
The first thing you will notice at Falesia Beach is how long it is, not to mention the incredible sandy cliffs that give a yellow and orange color to the beach.
The sand is so smooth that it seems like someone walks around at night picking up the stones and shells from it. The sea is wonderful for swimming, especially at low tide when it looks like an authentic pool.
The best way to explore the beach is to go hiking up to the cliffs. It has good infrastructure and easy access. The only downside is that there is no longer a free car park nearby.
Where to stay in Praia Falesia
Best beaches on Barrier Islands
Praia de Faro
And we have finally made it to Faro Beach with this breathtaking list of the Algarve beaches.
This is the first barrier island of the Ria Formosa, a coastal lagoon adjacent to Faro. I recommend walking to the eastern end of Faro Beach, where you will find a channel.
This sandy edge of Faro Island is known as Barrinha and you can also choose to walk back on the wooden path and observe the local fishermen while they collect mussels in the Ria during low tide.
At Faro Beach, you can go tubbing and rent kayaks, paddleboards, and surfboards.
The beach has many restaurants and Barrinha, public restrooms, and chair rentals during summer. There is also free parking along the entire island.
Where to stay in Praia de Faro
Also known as Barreta Beach, the 4.5 miles long Ilha Deserta is one of the least frequented beaches in the Algarve.
Sitting across the channel from Faro Island’s Barrinha, the access to this beach is only by boat through the pier of Porta Nova in Faro. The access is easy and the pier is next to the guarded beach.
But if you want to be more secluded you can walk through the wooden walkways looking for a deserted corner. A lovely walk around the whole island will last a few hours.
But go prepared and take snacks as there are no restaurants. You are also not allowed to sleep on this deserted island.
Praia do Farol
Praia do Farol is actually located on Farol Island which is joined to Culatra Island and the walk between the two is an attraction in itself.
With pristine white sand and turquoise blue sea, this is the postcard of paradise. To get there just take a ferry from Faro or Olhão. In fact, this was my first tour as a female solo traveler in Portugal.
At first, glance what you will notice is the cute colorful little village you have to cross from the pier to the beach. The main activities there include swimming and sunbathing, and you can also go for a walk to the Barra Nova Lighthouse.
Where to stay in Praia do Farol
Praia do Farol has a few restaurants and a couple of hotels such as The Lighthouse and Lenea and Rui Andrade Guest House.
Praia da Fuseta
Fuseta Beach is another beautiful and deserted beach, perfect for a long walk on the beach followed by a swim. The long island of Fuseta can be reached by boat from Olhão.
Once you arrive at the island, the access to the beach is easy and made by a wooden walkway. If you want to be more isolated, I recommend walking on the left side until you find a quieter corner.
There is a restaurant and lifeguards on the island. In Fuseta, the big attraction is the Ria Formosa Natural Park.
It is a must to take a boat ride through the waters of the Ria Formosa and be dazzled by the marine life.
Where to stay in Praia da Fuseta
Since there are no hotels on the island, the best option is to stay in Olhão.
Ilha de Tavira
Just south of the city of Tavira, the island is famous for its secluded beaches. Qualified with Blue Flag, the environmental quality of the beaches and the water is excellent.
There are four beaches on the island of Tavira: Praia da Terra Estreira, Praia do Barril, Praia de Tavira, and Praia do Homem Nu. All four beaches are paradisiacal beaches with few visitors, especially in the off-season months.
There are two options to go to Tavira Island, from the town of Quatro-Aguas, or from Tavira itself. The island offers a good variety of tourist infrastructure, including restaurants, bars, and the Camping Park of Ilha de Tavira that is open from May until September
The town of Cacela Velha is actually a small village about 20 minutes driving from Tavira. Made up of just a small group of white houses with blue doors and windows, your visit is worth for three reasons:
- the city, which despite being small is very beautiful
- the Casa Velha Restaurant, where you should try the incredible Octopus Rice
- and of course, the beach itself.
With its white sand, clear and warm waters, and tranquil environment, Cacela Velha Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal.
Access to the beach is done by crossing the Ria Formosa. Whether you cross the Ria on foot or by boat there, it will depend on the tide.
And be aware that there is no infrastructure on this beach.
When it’s the best time to visit Algarve beaches
The Algarve sea has icy waters all year round, which in summer are welcome due to the strong heat in the region.
So, you might think the best time to visit the Algarve beaches is in summer, June to August.
But during these months, the beaches and parking lots are crowded, and accommodation prices go up.
This makes the months of May and September the best time of the year to visit Algarve Beaches to avoid the crowd and still enjoy the beach.
The winter months make an ideal time to visit for those who just want to see the attractions and admire the views and landscapes. Or, of course, for those who want to surf since that is when the best waves arrive in Portugal!
Map of the best beaches in Algarve
Click on the image to open the map of the best Algarve Beaches
Liked it? Pin it for later
About the author
I’m Camila, an Oceanographer from Brazil which is where my journey began. My studies have taken me to unique places around the world since I was a teenager. I found in my academic career the chance to come across different cultures and languages while working as a scientist. By having lived in several countries I have been able to share my experiences as a travel content writer for the last 4 years and I still have plenty more to tell. I have a great passion for the outdoors and animals, especially dogs and seals (which, let’s be honest, are basically sea dogs!).