Algarve Top Beaches
you cannot miss in your visit

Most of the Algarve’s beaches have been awarded the European Union’s Blue Flag and are bathed by calm, clear and refreshing waters, being widely sought after every year by tourists coming to the region for some reinvigorating holidays.

Stretching for over 200Km of a diverse coastline, the Algarve offers some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, ranging from secluded coves sheltered by spectacular cliffs, to vast expanses of golden sand.

Enjoy yourself while you're in the Algarve, and, with this guide, you can choose the beach that is best suited for you.


  • Alagoa

    Alagoa
    Altura , Eastern Algarve Algarve

    The village of Altura, essentially a summer holiday resort, accompanies the extensive sandy beach and its wide sand dune system, which is crossed over by a network of raised wooden footpaths, making it possible to observe the difference in vegetation between the seafront and the more inland region. Close to the immense expanse of sand from which the dune gradually rises up is an abundance of european beachgrass, sea holly, the fluffy cottonweed and the eye-catching sea daffodils. Further inland, the vegetation grows taller and there begin to appear the typical bushes of bridal broom, which at least afford some shade and visual relief from the dazzlingly hot sunny environment of the summer season. The line of the horizon opens up eastwards, where the landscape remains green, with the buildings of Monte Gordo framed by a vast area of pinewoods.

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  • Armona

    Armona
    Olhão , Eastern Algarve Algarve

    The beach is situated at the western end of Armona island, close to Barra Grande and the small village inhabited by fishermen and shellfish pickers, and, once again, in order to reach the beach you have to pass through the labyrinth of sand and mud banks of the Ria Formosa lagoon system. There is a campsite on this island and you will find that it is fully equipped with all the facilities that you need to engage in a wide variety of water sports. The sand barrier is consistent and very wide and the beach disappears from sight as it stretches unendingly eastwards towards Fuseta beach, providing moments of pure peace and quiet for all those who enjoy walking or who have their own private boat. The sand banks by the bar of the river estuary contain some delightful natural swimming-pools. Here, you can also observe the rich and aromatic flora of the sand dunes, as well as savour the warm easterly winds and admire the invariably fiery hues of the sunset.

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  • Barril

    Barril
    Tavira , Eastern Algarve Algarve

    The beach is situated more or less in the middle of the Ilha de Tavira, a narrow tongue of fine white sand. To get there, you have to cross a narrow footbridge over one of the channels of the Ria and then continue on foot, or on one of the small tourist trains, for roughly one more kilometre to the beach. Along the way, it is worth taking some time to observe the different fauna of the mudbanks, especially the "bocas" (the typical crabs of these areas) which run and hide in the holes in the mud as the holidaymakers pass by, and, closer to the beach, the vegetation of the extensive sand dune system, from which there comes a very characteristic curry-like smell, originating from a small plant known as helichrysum. The tourist facilities at the beach have been adapted from old tuna fishing equipment, and it is still possible to see the original fishermen’s houses and some of the objects that they used in their work, as well as a group of anchors arranged in the space around the beach, planted with dune vegetation. The beach is a huge expanse of sand, and, by walking towards the western end of the island, you reach Homem Nu beach, a deserted and wild beach with a magnificent view over Barra da Fuseta and Ilha da Armona, to the west. Homem Nu beach is an official naturist beach.

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  • Cabanas

    Cabanas
    Cabanas de Tavira , Eastern Algarve Algarve

    To the east of Ilha de Tavira is Ilha de Cabanas, a narrow but long strip of land before the last bar across the river estuary to the east. The beach is situated opposite the village of Cabanas, whose origin dates back to the old days of tuna fishing in this area, and which even today remains a fishing village. From the long waterfront at Cabanas, fishing boats can be seen anchored in the Ria, together with the stores of fishing equipment. The branch of the Ria that separates the island from the mainland is quite narrow and you can swim across it at low tide. The preferred means of access is, however, by boat, a journey that only takes a few minutes from Cabanas. Walking along the beach is a pleasant experience and you only have to walk a short distance to be able to enjoy a few moments of peace and quiet and perfect isolation. On returning to Cabanas, you can visit one of the many restaurants along the waterfront and sample the local oysters and clams picked in the nearby nurseries, as well as the various octopus dishes.

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  • Fuseta

    Fuseta
    Olhão , Eastern Algarve Algarve

    The beach is situated at the eastern end of the Armona beach, opposite Fuseta, a fishing town located on firm land. Here, the Ria Formosa narrows to some extent and the boat wends its way through the same channels bordered by mud banks and salt-marshes, but on this occasion the journey is much shorter. You can even swim across to the Ilha da Armona or ford your way across from Fuseta when the tide is very low, although you are advised not to interfere with the numerous shellfish nurseries scattered around the mud banks. The spit of sand that forms the beach is also very narrow, but equally attractive and extensive. There is a small group of houses close to the anchorage point, but the natural landscape imposes itself once again both to the east and west of this area. After walking eastwards for roughly minutes, or possibly travelling by private boat, you can reach the deserted and unspoilt beach of Barra da Fuseta, as well as enjoy its countless naturally formed pools in the sand, which are particularly attractive at low tide.

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  • Manta Rota

    Manta Rota
    Monte Gordo , Eastern Algarve Algarve

    This is an extensive beach linked to the town of Manta Rota, which still retains some of its original character as a fishing village, although it is now an important tourist centre. The beach marks the eastern end of the Ria Formosa lagoon system. The line of sand dunes is wide, especially to the east and west of the town, since in the central part of the beach there is a predominance of tourist facilities. Raised wooden footpaths lead onto the sand, allowing visitors the chance to observe the vegetation of the dunes, stretching from the seafront, where there is a predominance of european beachgrass and sea holly, to the inland area where the more aromatic plants begin to appear, such as helichrysum, which impregnates the air with its intense curry-like smell, as well as some large-sized bushes, such as bridal broom, a characteristic plant of the sandy soils of the Algarve’s eastern region. A refreshing line of poplars marks the edge of the car park at the eastern end of the beach. This beach is less frequented than the neighbouring bathing area of Praia de Monte Gordo and offers some peaceful nooks and crannies, particularly at the ends of the beach.

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  • Monte Gordo

    Monte Gordo
    Monte Gordo , Eastern Algarve Algarve

    This area shows signs of human settlement from long ago, having been used for many centuries by fishing communities. Now the brightly-coloured boats and their fishing equipment are to be found only at the western end of the beach, although the activity is still continued on a non-industrial basis. Having been a pioneering region in the history of tourism in the Algarve, Monte Gordo is now an important tourist centre, equipped with all kinds of facilities, including a casino. The beach forms part of a wide bay and the environment here is one of the hottest, driest and sunniest in the Algarve, whilst the sea is famous for its warmth and the gentle nature of the waves. To the west and in the central area of the beach, the sand is backed by a busy seaside avenue, built with the typical Portuguese paving stones, along which there are gardens and a wide variety of tourist facilities. In the small dunes, which continue to be formed, only the prickly sea holly has withstood the constant treading of visitors’ feet. To the east, the beach is wilder, the line of sand dunes grows wider and you can already see the typical vegetation of sandy beaches. There is a picnic area nearby, shaded by pine trees and close to the campsite.

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  • Praia Verde

    Praia Verde
    Castro Marim , Eastern Algarve Algarve

    Doing justice to its name (Praia Verde literally means green Beach), this beach is surrounded by a vast area of stone pines, which make their way down the gentle slopes of the hills to the sand, and in the midst of which chameleons crawl around unhurriedly. The pine trees have the curious shape of giant mushrooms, and the undergrowth is rich and very green throughout the wood. The car park is sited in a planted garden area equipped with all the necessary tourist facilities and offering a fabulous panoramic view over the sandy coastline. In the middle of the beach, marking the landscape is a curious old pool that grows in size when the sea carries the sand away. The sand dunes exhibit the wide variety of their flora: european beachgrass, the beautiful sea daffodil, the aromatic helichrysum and, further inland, the bridal broom, the characteristic bush of the Algarve’s sandy eastern region. The environment is hot, sunny and dry, while the sea is calm and warm.

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  • Santo António

    Santo António
    Vila Real St Antonio , Eastern Algarve Algarve

    The beach starts close to the mouth of the River Guadiana, marking the beginning of twelve kilometres of uninterrupted sand and calm warm water stretching all the way to the Ria Formosa lagoon system. The Mata Nacional, a protected woodland of stone pines and maritime pines growing on the sand dunes, lends a refreshing green dimension to this hot, dry and very sunny Mediterranean environment. The use of this beach for bathing purposes is restricted to Três Pauzinhos beach, which begins at the small breakwater and then stretches westwards. The most interesting access to the seafront is via a footpath, along which a small tourist train also runs, through the pinewoods filled with the aromatic smell of thyme and the unmistakable helichrysum, which gives off a strong curry-like smell.

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  • Tavira

    Tavira
    Tavira , Eastern Algarve Algarve

    The beach is located at the eastern end of Tavira's Island, right in front of the city of Tavira itself. Access is by boat from the Cais das Quatro Águas, in Tavira, but the journey does not take long and there are even some people who prefer to swim out to the island. The route to the quayside accompanies the River Gilão and the artisanal fishing fleet that sails up and down the river or just rests there, as well as extensive areas of salt-pans, where black-winged stilts, small birds similar to miniature white storks, can be seen feeding. This is the more densely populated part of the Ilha de Tavira, with various holiday homes, a campsite and all kinds of tourist facilities in the surrounding area, including various bars on the beach itself. It is also possible to find local support for a range of water sports and even for cruises around the Ria Formosa. On the side of the island facing the Ria, the water quality is good, and children in particular appreciate the warm still waters of the lagoon, as well as the facilities provided for diving.

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Source: visitalgarve.pt
  • Alvor

    Alvor
    Alvor , Central Algarve Algarve

    Alvor Beach is a long sandy beach and is more of a sandy outcrop, separating the salt waters of the Atlantic Ocean from the lagoon of the River. With plenty of free space to play beach sports, even in high season and watersports for hire include, windsurfing, sailing, pedalos and motorised sports. If you prefer simply to relax and watch the world go by, Alvor Beach offers plenty of sunbeds and shades to rent. There are the two restaurants which serve snacks, drinks and more substantial meals throughout the day. There is plenty of car parking in shaded areas and thanks to its flat layout, the beach is highly accessible to all.

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  • Ancão

    Ancão
    Vale Lobo , Central Algarve Algarve

    The beach is situated at the western end of the Ria Formosa lagoon system, already within the confines of the Natural Park. Although the lagoons are not yet visible, the marshy areas are quite noticeable since these flood at high tide and are covered by the typical salt-marsh vegetation. Behind this is the wood of stone pines and cork-oaks that stands atop the red cliffs, where it is common to spot rabbits and the unmistakable azure-winged magpies. Crossing over the marshland, visitors will encounter a wide system of sand dunes opening up before them, filled with aromatic plants such as thyme and helichrysum. Already on the ridge of the dunes, on the side opposite the sea, you must make sure to see the eye-catching sea daffodils, the delicate sea bindweed and the typical prickly thrift, dotted about the white and pink dunes. The beach’s existing support facilities are carefully integrated into the landscape, giving you the chance to enjoy a snack while at the same time contemplating the sea.

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  • Culatra

    Culatra
    Faro , Central Algarve Algarve

    The beach is situated at the eastern end of the island with the same name, being associated with an old fishing village that until twenty or so years ago consisted entirely of wooden huts. The village is still inhabited by fishermen, but it is now equipped with a variety of infrastructures and services. In the surrounding area, you can observe the countless shellfish pickers scattered over the mud banks that are revealed at low tide, as well as discover some of the traditional equipment of artisanal fishing that is still used here, such as the basket trap and the octopus pots. The beach is a vast expanse of sand stretching both eastwards and westwards, so that it is possible here to observe the rich flora of the sand dunes which follow on from one another as you move inland, as well as to enjoy the warm peaceful water and the warm easterly winds. After two hours spent walking eastwards, you will reach Barra Grande, where you can bathe in the inviting natural pools formed in the sand and enjoy the constantly changing landscape

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  • Evaristo

    Evaristo
    Albufeira , Central Algarve Algarve

    This is a small and essentially rocky beach, nestling between low and aesthetically shaped cliffs. Enormous blocks of rocks are scattered around the sand and under the water and the smell of the sea is intense here. The hot dry sand is backed by areas covered in plants and trees, especially stone pines, mastic-trees and enormous aloes. Closer to the sand, the predominant plant is the wormleaf saltwort, which is resistant to salt spray. It is possible to walk eastwards along the cliff top, observing the curious landscapes produced by these rock formations, intensely sculpted and fissured by the elements. Snorkelling is recommended among the underwater rocks, where you can observe the marine life of the region, ranging from the fish and animals typically found in intertidal environments (buckshot barnacles, mussels, limpets and sea anemones), and which are visible on the faces of the rocks, to the shoals of common two-banded seabreams, white seabreams or sand smelts, which swim in and out of the rocks.

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  • Falésia

    Falésia
    Albufeira , Central Algarve Algarve

    This beach is extremely vast and stretches eastwards over more than three kilometres, backed by a continuous line of high cliffs with the typical colours of this region, either deep ochre or brilliant white, which create interesting contrasts of colour with the green patches of stone pines overlooking the beach. At the western end, the cliff is high but very soft, being carved out of sand and clay, so that the rain has no difficulty in creating deeply grooved sinuous patterns and furrows down its face. To the east, the cliff becomes gradually lower, but remains highly sculpted by the elements. It is the wearing away of this rock that produces the sand that forms the beach. It is therefore possible to see small cones of sand at the foot of these cliffs, on which the typical plants of dune areas can be found growing: sea daffodils, sea bindweed, prickly thrift,cretan trefoil and sea holly. These eye-catching and brightly-coloured species mix together with the typical vegetation of the cliffs, which are more monotonous in colour, consisting here mainly of sea orachs. The beach is a spacious one and has some very peaceful spots. All you have to do is walk a short distance.

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  • Faro

    Faro
    Faro , Central Algarve Algarve

    Also known as “ Faro Island Beach”, this long expanse of sand is, in reality, part of the Ancão Peninsula, which marks out the western boundary of the Ria Formosa. The “island” is reached by a narrow road bridge that crosses over a branch of the lagoon system with its marshland and mud banks. Despite the beach’s urban development and its intense tourist use in the summer months, at the eastern and western ends of the beach the holiday homes are replaced by the picturesque houses of the fishermen and shellfish pickers, themselves gradually giving way to the sand dunes and marshland that dominate the landscape. At the eastern end of the beach, there is a nature trail in the form of a raised wooden pathway that runs along the line of dunes almost as far as Barrinha (Barra de São Luís)

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  • Farol

    Farol
    Faro , Central Algarve Algarve

    Situated on the Culatra island, Farol beach owes its name to the enormous lighthouse built at its western end, at Barra Nova close to cabo de Santa Maria. This bar across the river estuary has been stabilised with breakwaters and marks a change in the orientation of the coastline: the barrier-islands now face south-east, being exposed to the warm Levante wind and its waves. When you arrive at the quay, you will note the island’s intense urban (mainly holiday homes) and tourist occupation, but the beach is a vast one and, as you move east, it gradually becomes more peaceful and deserted. The large mole to the west of the island is used by diving schools for their lessons, as well as by countless underwater fishers and anglers. Surfing is also possible here, taking advantage of the waves brought by the Levante wind. The line of sand dunes is immensely long, hot and dry, and the beach is very peaceful.

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  • Forte Novo

    Forte Novo
    Quarteira , Central Algarve Algarve

    Forte Novo beach is situated at the eastern end of Quarteira, but already in a more natural setting, far from the hustle and bustle of the urban environment and without the protection of breakwaters, which immediately results in a drastic reduction in the width of the beach. here, once again, there appear the soft, low cliffs that are characteristic of this stretch of coastline, their intense ochre colour contrasting sharply with the deep green of the pinewoods that grow at their top and the pearl-white colour of the sand. The sea frequently reaches as far as the foot of these cliffs, and here and there you can see pine trees with their roots exposed. This is a buffer zone between the tall buildings of Quarteira and Vilamoura to the west and the area to the east where the urban sprawl gives way to the green pinewoods that cover the tops of the red cliffs, occasionally interspersed with small coastal lagoons.

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  • Garrão

    Garrão
    Vale Garrão , Central Algarve Algarve

    At Garrão beach, which appears as a continuation of Vale do Lobo beach, the cliffs give way to vast sand dune systems, covered with typical vegetation, which are then continued by the sand barriers of the Ria Formosa lagoon system that follow on from this. The beach accompanies two valleys divided by a low cliff, in each of which a lagoon has formed: in the western valley is Lagoa das Dunas Douradas, and in the eastern valley is the smaller Lagoa do Garrão. Both are freshwater wetland areas, a rare feature along this coastline, and very popular amongst water birds. A footpath along the shores of Lagoa das Dunas Douradas invites visitors to observe the different birds that feed, rest and nest here, such as the coot, mallard or the emblematic purple gallinule. The line of pine trees which has accompanied the coastline since Quarteira continues here with its natural undergrowth along the shores of the lagoons, offering protection and shelter to the region’s aquatic life. A network of wooden footpaths crosses over the dunes and, as they walk over them, visitors can observe the rich and aromatic flora growing in the sand.

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  • Maria Luísa

    Maria Luísa
    Albufeira , Central Algarve Algarve

    The walk to the beach takes you through the surrounding tourist development, along a valley of dense vegetation, down which there flows a fast moving stream. This is a cool gully, flanked by a row of bougainvilleas and some ancient stone pines and cork trees. The beach is backed by a patch of pine trees, growing denser in the various gullies, while the plants that predominate on the sand itself are rock samphire and wormleaf saltwort, both of which are resistant to the salt spray from the sea. The beach is fairly large, framed by warm-coloured cliffs, polished at the bottom by the action of the sea and furrowed at the top by the rain. Highly eroded by the elements, these rock formations offer visitors the shelter of a number of nooks and crannies, as well as the possibility of observing some curious shapes resulting in such features as potholes and arches. Quite remarkable are the remains of one enormous pothole that has formed at the eastern end of the beach and is reminiscent of a house with an arched doorway, where one of the walls and the roof are missing. The beach is fairly large, stretching over roughly a kilometre.

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  • Pescadores

    Pescadores
    Albufeira , Central Algarve Algarve

    Pescadores beach is a continuation of Praia do Peneco, being situated in a lower area where there is a break in the cliffs and bordered to the east by the quay. Doing full justice to Albufeira’s longstanding fishing traditions, this beach is largely reserved for the brightly coloured and highly decorated fishing boats, although there are also many boats setting off from here to show the tourists the region’s caves and potholes. The bathing area is thus limited to the western part of the beach. The surrounding area is entirely urban: Albufeira is arranged in the shape of an amphitheatre overlooking the sea and the foundations of the brilliant white houses seem to blend into the rock out of which the cliffs have been carved. The vegetation cuts the yellow tones of the cliff walls and is composed of the typical plants of these marine environments, especially sea orachs and wormleaf saltworts, which grow profusely in the crevices. Behind the beach is a large shopping area with countless bars and restaurants. The beach can get very crowded, because of its urban nature and its use as a fishing harbour.

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  • Quarteira

    Quarteira
    Quarteira , Central Algarve Algarve

    Once a peaceful fishing village, the town has greatly developed in order to support the growing demand for its beaches, so that it is now a major tourist centre. The local fishing activity, with its boats and equipment stores, continues to exist, but it is now limited to the western end of the beach. Most dining-tables in Quarteira would not be complete without a dish of grilled fresh fish and the sea also supplies the ingredients for traditional recipes such as bread soup with banded wedge shells or squid cooked in its own ink. The extensive sandy beach spreads over roughly three kilometres, and is interrupted by a series of breakwaters, next to which the sand tends to accumulate, thus offering holidaymakers the chance to swim in calm water. Running along the whole of the seafront is a busy and lively avenue, known locally as the "calçadão", offering all kinds of tourist amenities for the support of bathing activities, with sun- filled pavement cafés and restaurants, and lots of life and entertainment during the bathing season. This is an urban beach and therefore tends to be very crowded.

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  • Quinta do Lago

    Quinta do Lago
    Quinta do Lago , Central Algarve Algarve

    This beach is associated with a high-quality tourist resort and is situated in the heart of the Ria Formosa Natural Park. Access to the beach is provided by a 300-metre-long wooden bridge over the branches of the Ria, making it possible to contemplate the ebb and flow of the tides, the vast accumulations of mud, sand and organic matter covered with the typical marshland vegetation, the shellfish pickers at their work, and, if you’re lucky, flocks of gracious flamingos standing by the bright white saltpans. This is an excellent area for observing bird life and there is a nature trail in the area whose high point is the observation of the Lago de São Lourenço, where you can spot from close up such birds as the mallard, coot or purple gallinule. The dunes are well preserved and display a highly diversified flora.

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  • Salgados

    Salgados
    Albufeira , Central Algarve Algarve

    The beach is a continuation of Praia Grande to the east of Lagoa dos Salgados, the lagoon that is formed at the very end of the Ribeira de Espiche. To reach the beach, you have to pass through a tourist development linked to the golf course along the shores of the lagoon, walking down an avenue flanked by tall palm-trees. The area close to the beach still remains in its natural state: to the west are the robust sand dunes of Praia Grande and the broad mirror-like surface of the lagoon, surrounded by thick vegetation where coots in particular and sometimes shags can be seen fishing; to the east are sand dunes stretching into the distance, now much lower but just as abundant in flora and fauna. The beach is a vast expanse of sand with some very quiet and peaceful areas. Crossing over the area around the mouth of the Ribeira de Espiche, which communicates sporadically with the sea, you can follow the Praia Grande nature trail, which allows you to discover the flora and fauna of the sand dunes and Salgados Lagoon.

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  • Santa Eulália

    Santa Eulália
    Albufeira , Central Algarve Algarve

    In Santa Eulália, the blue of the sea and the bright colours of the sand blend harmoniously with the cool green surroundings of the pinewoods that frame the beach. The deeply orange cliffs are low and greatly furrowed by the rainwater, interrupted here and there by deep gullies. The stone pines form a dense wood at the top of the cliffs and seem to balance precariously overhanging the small precipices resulting from the crumbling away of the edges. Seen from the beach, the cliffs have been worn away and highly polished by the action of the waves and the stream that flows onto the sand in the rainy season, on the banks of which a thick reed bed has developed. The beach is quite large and has a number of pleasant little nooks and crannies provided by the various rock formations. There is a small promenade along the central part of the beach, lined by tall palm trees. To the east, you can see the continuous line of red and white cliffs that provide the backdrop to Praia da Falésia.

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  • Vale do Lobo

    Vale do Lobo
    Vale Lobo , Central Algarve Algarve

    Vale do Lobo beach is surrounded by a high-quality tourist complex and has as its distinctive trademark the red and ochre cliffs, which are soft and vulnerable to contact with both fresh and saltwater. Erosion has resulted in some deep gullies and crevices in the face of the cliffs that are exposed to the elements, forming some very curious natural shapes. The red colours of the cliffs form a sharp contrast with the pearl-white colour of the sand and the deep and refreshing green of the stone pines, which provide shelter for the golf courses below them. The beach is long but somewhat narrow, the sea frequently reaches as far as the cliffs, leaving the vegetation with its roots exposed and some buildings and some of the holes on the golf course in danger. For this reason, Praia de Vale do Lobo has already had sand added to it artificially on two occasions, in order to make the beach larger. There is a wide range of leisure and sports amenities to choose from, starting with golf, but also including tennis and water sports.

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  • Vilamoura

    Vilamoura
    Vilamoura , Central Algarve Algarve

    The welcoming Praia de Vilamoura is situated between the eastern mole of the Marina and the dock in the town of Quarteira, framed by one of europe’s largest tourist and real estate developments. The former Quinta de Quarteira has been transformed into an enormous leisure complex in the form of a garden city, where, besides golf, which is the prime activity here, visitors will also find a casino, aerodrome, horse-riding centre and shooting range, as well as cross-country courses, cycle tracks, tennis and squash courts, art galleries, mini-cruises, and, finally, the Marina, a vast sheet of water filled with luxury boats set amidst the delightful surroundings of outdoor cafés and restaurants and sophisticated shops. Vilamoura is also to be noted for its ecological importance: in its environmental Park, which incorporates the final section of the Ribeira de Quarteira, more than a hundred different species of birds can be observed amongst the dense reed beds along the banks of that wetland area. At the cerro da Vila Museum and archaeological Site, you can take an imaginary journey into the past of a Roman fishing villa from the first century a.d..

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Source: visitalgarve.pt
  • Amado

    Amado
    Aljezur , Western Algarve Algarve

    This is a large beach, although not as extensive and exposed as Bordeira beach, which stretches over three valleys. To the north, the predominant colours are the red and orange of the cliffs, and to reach the beach from this direction you must pass through the breathtaking landscape of Pontal, through the limestone karrenfeld (rocks that are deeply furrowed by erosion), as well as past the curious fishing harbour of Zimbreirinha, where the boats are anchored to wooden platforms hanging from the cliffs. To the south, the landscape is once again dominated by the grey of the schist. The vegetation is turned into a low-lying carpet by the frequent winds. Amado beach is famous for its very versatile and varied waves, justifying the constant presence here of surfing and bodyboarding schools. National and international competitions are also frequently held here. Although this is a very popular beach, it is always possible to find a peaceful spot – all you have to do is walk a short distance along the beach.

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  • Amado

    Amado
    Portimão , Western Algarve Algarve

    Framed by the typical cliffs of this stretch of the coastline, where there is an alternation in colour between bright red and ochre, as well as a different moulding of the contours of the rocks, resulting in some rather strange and fantastic shapes. The beach is reached via a set of steep steps that run down the cliff face, bordered by thick vegetation that has adapted to the saline environments created by the sea spray: wormleaf saltwort, sea orach, sweet alyssum and Mediterranean beach daisy. On the beach itself, in those places where the sand has accumulated next to the sand-clay cliffs, there is an abundance of cretan trefoil and sand couch grass, leading to the formation of small sand dune systems.

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  • Armação de Pêra

    Armação de Pêra
    Armação de Pêra , Western Algarve Algarve

    The western end of the beach is marked by the jagged limestone cliffs that are a typical feature of the Algarve’s western region. To the east, however, is the beginning of a large sandy bay, as well as the tourist resort of Armação de Pêra, which provides all kinds of important services for beachgoers. A promenade runs along the beach by the sea with areas of gardens and many sun-drenched outdoor cafés and restaurants where you can stop for a drink or a meal. To the east of the beach, doing justice to the longstanding fishing traditions of Armação de Pêra, the beach is full of brightly-coloured fishing boats and huts where the fishing equipment is stored. The beach’s name derives from the fact that this is the place where the fishermen from the village of Pêra (situated further inland to the east of the beach) used to prepare the “armação” (fishing equipment and nets), which was the very basis of their subsistence. Once you have passed the fishermen’s beach, the evidence of the human presence in the area gradually disappears and the horizon opens up before you. What you now see are never-ending dunes stretching into the distance and the wetland that is formed at the mouth of the Ribeira de Alcantarilha, with its typical vegetation and countless water birds, such as the enormous grey heron or the small and tireless plovers.

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  • Beliche

    Beliche
    Sagres , Western Algarve Algarve

    This beach is sheltered from the northerly and westerly winds, nestling in the wide cove formed by the headlands of Ponta de Sagres and cabo de São Vicente (cape St. Vincent). The beach seems to have been dug out of the high, warm-coloured cliffs, and can only be reached by climbing down a long set of stone steps. As you walk down these steps, you can appreciate the numerous endemic plants that have spread across the limestone karrenfeld (rocks that are deeply furrowed by erosion) and the reddish terra rossa earth, as well as the steep limestone slopes, highly stratified and shaped, with their spectacular caves and landslides. On the beach, you will find a wide diversity of jagged and sculpted rocks, forming some most curious shapes. The beach is very popular amongst surfers and bodyboarders.

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  • Bordeira

    Bordeira
    Aljezur , Western Algarve Algarve

    In Bordeira, the black schist is suddenly interrupted and gives way to a limestone cliff, with bright warm colours, leading to greater diversification in the vegetation. From the beach, the extensive sand dunes make their way inland to the village of Carrapateira, on either side of the Ribeira da Bordeira, which occasionally forms a lagoon of warm water close to the mouth of the river and where it is possible to catch a glimpse of otters. Also to be noted here are the woods in the dunes filled with enormous and very old stone pines, some of which are used as agricultural stores because of the great diameter of their crowns. The beach is a vast expanse of sand, more than three kilometres long, but exposed to the winds from the sea and continuing almost deserted to the Pedra de Matez, an enormous reddish-coloured rock to the north of the beach. The cliffs of Bordeira beach are famous for their almost inaccessible fishing grounds and are highly sought after by various species of marine birds, which find shelter there.

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  • Burgau

    Burgau
    Sagres , Western Algarve Algarve

    Contained within the village of Burgau, this is an urban beach marking the western border of the South-west alentejo and costa Vicentina Natural Park. It nestles in a small cove that is sheltered from the elements and is used as a fishing harbour, where many of the traditional fishing arts are still to be found, such as the basket trap and the longline with hooks. Those using the beach thus share the sand with the fishing boats and the fishermen. On the cliffs is a 7th-century fort and the ruins of a 6th-century tower.

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  • Caneiros

    Caneiros
    Lagoa , Western Algarve Algarve

    This beach is a continuation of Praia do Vale da Azinhaga, and to the west of the beach it is still possible to see the lighthouse of Ponta do Altar and the Leixão da Gaivota. The beach is, however, much wider and longer than the previous one and is framed by high cliffs in which the most prominent features are the alternate strips of colour, with shades of ochre, pink and white. The rocky faces of these cliffs become smaller towards the centre of the beach and are intensely furrowed and eroded by the rainwater. At the foot of the cliff, the erosive action of the sea is quite visible, resulting in some impressive caves, severe undercutting and a whole host of nooks and crannies amongst the rocks. The remains of an earlier landslide are also quite visible along the eastern stretch of the beach, with many blocks of rocks already in the water and allowing for the colonisation of the area by the typical marine organisms of intertidal environments. At some points, the cliff has the appearance of having been “cemented”, through a chemical reaction that involves the effects of calcite. These are areas of the rock that are grey in colour and are more resistant, and here they have been colonised by a great diversity of typical cliff plants: thyme, rock samphire, Mediterranean beach daisy, sea lavender, wormleaf saltwort and sea orach.

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  • Carvoeiro

    Carvoeiro
    Carvoeiro , Western Algarve Algarve

    Carvoeiro, an old fishing village that has been converted into a cosmopolitan tourist centre, came into being through its association with a small and welcoming cove of calm water. The dazzlingly white village forms a natural amphitheatre with the surrounding cliffs and it has successfully taken advantage of the aesthetic work of time on the rocky faces of the cliffs to establish itself as the visual hallmark of the municipality in terms of tourism. The beautifully scenic cliffs are covered in green and filled with enormous caves. The fishermen’s brightly- coloured boats share the beach with the bathers and are still taken out to sea for fishing purposes, although they are also used to take holidaymakers on fabulous tours of the sea caves. The footpaths and viewing points on top of the cliffs offer visitors some fantastic opportunities for walking and some magnificent views over the ocean. The beach is continued by the sunny central square, which forms an attractive space for social conviviality and shopping. It is a very popular beach, with lots of life and entertainment. If you’re in Carvoeiro, then we dare you to pay a visit to Praia do Paraíso, a small shell-shaped piece of sand that comes into view as you round the cliff marking the western end of Praia do Carvoeiro. This tiny beach nestles amongst some tall warm-coloured cliffs and is reached by walking down a narrow, winding set of steps.

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  • Cordoama

    Cordoama
    Sagres , Western Algarve Algarve

    This is a vast sandy beach, disappearing from sight both to the north and south. The highly shaped and progressively more hazy-looking cliffs provide a breathtaking view. Because of its enormous length, it is always possible to find some peace and quiet on the beach, despite its frequent use by surfing and bodyboarding schools. The cliffs have an imposing and haughty appearance, reaching heights of up to a hundred metres. There is a small hillock on this beach, providing a natural viewing point and frequently used as a jumping-off point by paragliders. On the rocky faces of the north-facing cliffs, gleaming strata can be seen bleached white, although this is nothing more than extensive patches of lichens. A small stream runs down a gully to the beach. The smell of rock roses is intense here and, amidst the small dunes that have formed on the beach, it is possible to see plants such as european beachgrass, sea holly or the eye-catching sea daffodil.

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  • Dona Ana

    Dona Ana
    Lagos , Western Algarve Algarve

    The road to the beach brings you out onto a small viewing point from where you can contemplate the curious carbonate rock formations sculpted by both freshwater and seawater: crevices, isolated groups of rocks, the remains of potholes and caves. Countless white dots can be seen shining on the isolated groups of rocks scattered along the horizon: these are herring gulls, herons or black-headed gulls resting on the platforms overlooking the sea. Plants that have specially adapted to the salt spray from the sea, such as wormleaf saltwort or sea orach, cover the rocky faces of the cliffs, forming some enormous bushes. The beach consists of a series of small inlets caused by the shape of the cliffs, providing all manner of sheltered nooks and crannies for bathers. Once you’re in the water, you will find that snorkelling offers you the chance to discover a whole new range of different colours: seaweed, sea anemones, starfish, sea urchins, shrimps or shoals of small fish, all inhabit the submerged rock formations. There is a footpath along the top of the cliff, to the east of the beach, leading to Praia do Pinhão. Dona Ana beach is a famous and very popular beach, with a wide range of tourist facilities all around it.

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  • Grande

    Grande
    Lagoa , Western Algarve Algarve

    The beach is situated in the heart of the River Arade estuary, at the foot of the town of Ferragudo. The main access to the beach coincides with the opening marked by the two great moles at the river’s mouth, with it being possible to see, close to the western mole and already in Portimão Marina, a great profusion of masts and white triangles. The beach is a large and spacious expanse of sand, framed by a line of cliffs that have been greatly eroded and eaten away by the elements. The rocky faces of the cliffs are covered with all kinds of vegetation, especially those plants that have adapted to the spray of salt from the sea, such as wormleaf saltwort and sea orach, or the typical plants of sand dune systems, such as cretan trefoil, all of which grow in the small rocky cavities where there has been an accumulation of sand. Araised wooden footpath has been placed over the sand and runs along part of the beach, next to which are a variety of tourist facilities, open air cafés and restaurants and even a children’s playground.

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  • Grande

    Grande
    Armação de Pêra , Western Algarve Algarve

    The beach and sand dunes at Praia Grande stretch over more than two kilometres of open countryside, without any signs of human presence. Two wetland areas mark out the perimeter of the beach: the marshland of Alcantarilha to the west and Lagoa de Salgados to the east, this latter area being an internationally famous lagoon for watching water birds since it is home to important populations of different species, such as the elegant black-winged stilt or the emblematic purple gallinule. The system of sand dunes is a robust one here, reaching widths of up to 300 metres, where there is a predominance of aromatic plant species, such as the helichrysum with its typical curry-like smell. In the central area of the beach, there is a wooden pathway and bridge offering a delightful panoramic view over the area, and once you have crossed over it you can observe arenites (ancient dunes that are more than 3000 years old and have now become fossilised) and the eye-catching prickly thrift. When you stand on the beach close to the mouth of the Ribeira de Alcantarilha, you will see some rock formations that correspond to ancient beaches that have since been transformed into stone. On the other side of the immense sand dune is a farmland area, consisting essentially of wheat fields and dryland orchards, now semi-abandoned, where there is no shortage of old mills and hydraulic irrigation devices.

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  • Luz

    Luz
    Lagos , Western Algarve Algarve

    The beach is associated with a small but cosmopolitan resort. Bordered by large palm-trees, this avenue leads in the west to the walls of the fortress originally built to protect the church from attacks by the Moors. On the beach, at the foot of the wall, is an extensive rocky platform of warm colours, sculpted by the sea and displaying marine fossils and some of the typical life of intertidal environments: sea anemones, buckshot barnacles, limpets and top shells, wrapped in a carpet of green seaweed. On these ochre-coloured rocks and out of reach of the tides grow typical cliff plants, such as sea lavender. The cliff rises up to the east, becoming grey in colour and with many crevices that have been formed by the effects of trickling water. Standing out against this landscape of whitened cliffs carved out of limestone and marlstone is a notable rock formation: the so- called Rocha Negra(black rock), a volcanic seam originating in the Serra de Monchique that has reached all the way to the sea. This bay of calm water is particularly suited to water sports: windsurfing, kitesurfing, sailing and diving, and there is a variety of support facilities available for the use of holidaymakers

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  • Marinha

    Marinha
    Lagoa , Western Algarve Algarve

    A long but gently descending set of steps leads down into a small cove, and only by advancing to the line of the cliffs does the visitor manage to see the sand that stretches away westwards. The beach is surrounded by warm-coloured limestone cliffs, highly fissured and creviced and giving rise to a remarkable range of curiously shaped rock features: arches, caves, isolated rock formations and potholes (naturally formed shafts in the rocks that, in this case, can only be seen from the cliff top). There is also an impressive diversity of marine habitats: the rocky environments are home to sea anemones, sea urchins and starfish, shrimps, greater pipefish and shoals of white seabream, common two-banded seabream, rainbow wrasse or sand smelts. The most westerly area of sea grass along the Algarve’s coastline conceals within it young fish and the curious octopus and cuttlefish. You can follow an underwater nature trail here, accessible either to snorkellers or those with their own diving suits. When you’re back on dry land, allow yourself to be seduced by the fields of orchids that grow here in the spring, visible around the picnic area at the top of the cliff.

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  • Martinhal

    Martinhal
    Sagres , Western Algarve Algarve

    Situated to the east of the town of Sagres, and despite being sheltered from the prevailing westerly and south-westerly winds and waves, Ponta da Baleeira (where the Sagres fishing harbour is located) is nonetheless fairly windy due to the persistent northerly winds that blow down the wide valley from inland. The water is, however, calm and very good for windsurfing and diving, and there are frequent boat trips taking people to visit the beautiful limestone islets that are situated off the beach, famous for their rocky inlets and underwater grottoes. The beach is basically sandy, with high dunes in the centre and marshland vegetation stretching inland up the valley.

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  • Meia Praia

    Meia Praia
    Lagos , Western Algarve Algarve

    The sandy beach of Meia Praia accompanies the shore line of the wide bay at Lagos, starting at the eastern mole of the Ribeira de Bensafrim and stretching for more than four kilometres to the sand barrier of Ria de Alvor. To the west you can still see the city of Lagos, with its groups of rocks stretching into the sea. The horizon spreads into the distance between the low dunes of the beach itself and the gentle and very green hills that stretch inland, covered with patches of pinewoods and the typical scrubland of the “barrocal” region with carob-trees and olive-trees scattered here and there. A network of raised footpaths runs over much of the sand, helping to preserve the vegetation of the dune system, this being thicker at the seafront with a predominance of plants such as sand couch grass, european beach grass, sea holly, cretan trefoil and the eye-catching sea daffodil. As this is the only essentially sandy beach in Lagos, and also because of the huge expanse of sand that forms it, it is a particularly attractive spot for all kinds of water sports and beach sports: windsurfing, surfing, kitesurfing, sailing, water skiing, fishing, beach volleyball, beach football, etc., and various support facilities for these sports are made available on the beach for the use of holidaymakers.

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  • Porto de Mós

    Porto de Mós
    Lagos , Western Algarve Algarve

    The beach is situated in a wide open valley, forming a vast expanse of sand framed by high cliffs at either end. Seen from the viewing point of Miradouro da Atalaia, at the top of the cliff, the landscape is superb, it being possible to follow the coastline all the way to Sagres. To the west, there is a predominance of light-grey colours and the cliffs are carved out of heavily stratified layers of marlstone (limestone with a high clay content) that seem to overhang in a very precarious state of balance. In the rainy season, a thick layer of clay builds up at the foot of the cliff, which the local people claim has special medicinal properties. growing on the cliff face are plants that can withstand the spray of salt from the sea, such as sea orach, wormleaf saltwort and shrubby seablite, or common reeds in those places where there are signs of trickling water. To the west, the cliffs display very warm ochre colours and it is already possible to see the rock formations that are part of the headland of Ponta da Piedade.

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  • Rocha

    Rocha
    Portimão , Western Algarve Algarve

    With a vast and spacious area of sand, stretching over more than one kilometre, protected by warm-coloured and aesthetically shaped cliffs, Praia da Rocha is an increasingly popular beach amongst holidaymakers and one of the best known beaches in the whole of Portugal. It has been subjected to major improvement work, so that the beach is now provided with a network of wide wooden footpaths that cover almost the whole of its area, along which you will find a wide variety of different support facilities designed for bathers. The avenue that runs along the seafront of Praia da Rocha has a succession of hotels, bars, open-air cafés and restaurants, discos, and a casino, finally culminating in Portimão Marina. This greatly diversifies the tourist supply and provides the beach with its distinctive lively and colourful atmosphere. From the high viewing points to be found at either end of the beach, Três Castelos to the west and Fortaleza de Santa Catarina de Ribamar to the east, the latter standing at the bar across the River Arade estuary, visitors can enjoy a fabulous panoramic view over the coastline between the scenic rock formation of Ponta João d ´Arens and the lighthouse of Ponta do Altar. The landscape is also marked by the mouth of the River Arade itself and the nearby hills of Serra de Monchique. Despite the heavily urbanised and tourist atmosphere of the area surrounding Praia da Rocha, the natural landscape also seems to impose itself here because of its extraordinary beauty.

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  • Salema

    Salema
    Sagres , Western Algarve Algarve

    The beach is located in the small fishing village of Salema, where it is used as a fishing harbour, so that the central part of the beach is occupied by boats and all the necessary fishing tackle, such as the basket trap and the longline with its hooks. You can watch the boats returning to the beach after a fishing trip and then sample some of the octopus, moray or white seabream that the fishermen have caught at one of the local restaurants.

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  • Senhora da Rocha

    Senhora da Rocha
    Armação de Pêra , Western Algarve Algarve

    This very welcoming beach is associated with the fishing harbour of Senhora da Rocha, so that the sand is shared with the fishing boats, the various fishing equipment (especially the octopus pots) and the fishermen’s huts. At the request of holidaymakers, the same boats are also used for taking people to visit the region’s sea caves, where you will find a fascinating interplay of light and colour, as well as isolated beaches that are only accessible by sea. The beach is marked out to the east by the line of cliffs, where it is possible to see various potholes, and to the west by the prominent promontory of Senhora da Rocha, from where you can see the whole of the coastline all the way to Albufeira. The beach is surrounded by a patch of deep green, with junipers, wild olive-trees and mastic-trees, over which there grows a great profusion of lianas. On the cliff face, it is common to see the typical plants of these saline environments, as well as the countless birds that seek shelter here: shags, kestrels, black- headed gulls, herring-gulls and swifts.

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  • Vale Centeanes

    Vale Centeanes
    Carvoeiro , Western Algarve Algarve

    The beach is a large expanse of sand stretching westwards and flanked by imposing sheer cliffs, aesthetically sculpted by rainwater and seawater. On the rocky face of the cliff to the west, you can see that the base has already been severely undercut by the sea, while in the central section of the beach the front of the cliff is marked by a series of minuscule furrows along which the rainwater runs. Snorkelling will help you to discover the secrets of marine life, from the characteristic animals of the intertidal environment (buckshot barnacles, mussels, limpets and sea anemones) that can be seen on the rocks to the shoals of common two-banded seabream, white seabream or sand smelts that can be seen swimming around the rock formations in the sea itself.

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  • Vau

    Vau
    Portimão , Western Algarve Algarve

    The red and ochre cliffs that mark out the two ends of the beach become lower in height and are interrupted in the central area. Behind the beach are a succession of tourist support facilities set amongst areas planted with gardens. Most of the vegetation in the area around the beach (aloes, ice plants and cactuses) is exotic in nature, having been introduced in a vain attempt to stabilise these cliffs, which are extremely vulnerable to contact with rainwater and seawater. At the edges of the beach, towards Praia dos Careanos, the cliff is covered in the typical vegetation of these systems, especially wormleaf saltwort and sea orach, species that are highly resistant to the sea breezes laden with salt spray. The faces of the rocks have been heavily moulded by erosion and form countless nooks and crannies that are the delight of bathers. To the west, on the top of the cliffs, there is a nature trail that runs along the breathtaking stretch of rocky coastline between Vau and Praínha. This is a fairly popular beach amongst holidaymakers and is much sought after for its clay, which falls off its cliffs and is believed to have medicinal properties.

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Source: visitalgarve.pt