Located in the south of Portugal, the Algarve region is known for it’s breathtakingly beautiful beaches. Golden sand. Turquoise-blue water. Towering cliffs. It’s a true European paradise! But Portugal has so many gorgeous beaches, it’s almost overwhelming to a tourist! I designed this list to provide some recommendations of some of my favourite beaches in the Algarve.
1. Praia da Bordeira
My jaw literally dropped when I arrived at Praia da Bordeira. I had seen pictures of the beach before coming to Portugal, but pictures don’t even do it justice. With an incredibly vast expanse of sandy beach and bright blue water, Bordeira is probably the most beautiful beach I have ever visited (bold statement, I know!) The beach is so massive that even on a busy summer day, you feel like you are the only one there. Bordeira is on the more exposed Atlantic coast of the Algarve, and like most other west coast beaches, is part of the Vincentine Coast Natural Park. Because of this, the west coast beaches are much more untouched and rugged than the south coast beaches, giving them a different kind of natural beauty.
Bordeira is a bit off the beaten path. It is near a small village called Carrapateira and you need a car to reach it. But because it’s more secluded, it is much less touristy than some of the other Algarve beaches, even in high tourist season. There are no facilities on the beach except for a small beach stand selling drinks and snacks, so make sure to bring your own lunch. Don’t be a fool like me and forget your packed lunch at home, forcing you to eat a popsicle for lunch. If you are planning a trip to the Algarve, Praia da Bordeira is a beach you definitely should not miss!
2. Praia do Castelejo
Also on the west coast of the Algarve, Praia do Castelejo is beautiful beach that is popular amongst sunbathers and surfers alike. The beach is surrounded by black stone cliffs, which, when set against the sandy beach and vivid blue water, makes for a stunning sight.
Castelejo is also a more remote beach and you will need a car to access it. The closest town is Vila do Bispo, and it is quite close to Sagres as well. The beach has lots of parking, a café, and toilets, so no need to worry about doing your business in the ocean 😛
3. Praia da Arrifana
Praia da Arrifana is a surfer’s paradise. Located on the west coast of the Algarve, Arrifana’s open exposure to the Atlantic makes it a great destination for surfing and body surfing. Tall cliffs enclose the beach, giving it the feel of a protected cove. Surfing lessons are offered at the beach, so Arrifana is a great place to try surfing for the first time!
There is a small village called Arrifana close to the beach, where there are lots of restaurants and cafes. It is a great place to get a taste of the local seafood! Another town that is close by is Aljezur.
4. Praia Dona Ana
Praia Dona Ana is a dazzling beach located in Lagos. It is on the south coast of the Algarve where the water is much more calm, making it an excellent spot for families with children. The golden sand beach is brushed by crystal clear water, and surrounded by towering cliffs, making it extremely picturesque.
Dona Ana is walking distance from Lagos, so if you are without a car, it is a great place to spend the day. Because of it’s proximity to the town, Dona Ana gets quite crowded during high season. Best to get there early in the day to secure a good spot! Chairs and umbrellas can be rented on the beach, and refreshments can be purchased at the top of the cliffs.
5. Praia da Marinha
While I haven’t been to Praia da Marinha, I’ve been told that it is the poster-girl beach of the Algarve. Situated in a small cove on the Algarve’s south coast, the incredible turquoise-coloured water remains quite still, without many waves. There are some interesting rock formations on the beach that you can explore as well. It is a great spot for a family beach day.
Though practically every Portugal guidebook recommends it, Marinha is less congested than some of the other south coast beaches. This is probably because you can only reach the beach by car, and there are lots of steps to descend in order to access the beach! The closest towns are Lagoa, Carvoeiro and Armacao de Pera.
In the summer, the temperatures get very hot in Portugal, so make sure you are prepared. I was there in mid-July and it was 33 degrees every day! Make sure to bring lots of water, and invest in some good sunscreen. If you are a ginger like me, make sure it’s at least SPF 50!!! Also, it is a good idea to purchase a beach umbrella to protect you from the flaming hot sun. I spent a mere ten minutes lying in the sun and became as red as the prawns we had for dinner that night!
And now you’re all set, so go and book the Portuguese beach holiday that you are now fantasizing about!
Do you have any other favourite beaches in the Algarve? Let me know in the comments below!