Top 10 beaches in the Algarve, Portugal
Portugal is one of the most visited countries in the world and the Algarve region in the south is particularly popular. Literally meaning 'the west', the Algarve is renowned for its glorious beaches, warm weather and fabulous sunsets, and is a popular destination for family, couple and group getaways.
There's no denying that Portugal has a wide and varied appeal, however, most come for the reliable weather and selection of beaches. Read on to discover our top 10 beaches in the Algarve before experiencing them for yourself...
1. Praia da Marinha
Considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Praia da Marinha is situated on the Atlantic Coast in Caramujeira. Surrounded by cliffs that provide shelter from the wind, this beach is a true natural wonder with white sand and calm waters suitable for swimming or snorkelling. There's even a tunnel to a more secluded part of the beach for the adventurous. Anyone fond of hiking can walk along the cliff paths and visit several other nearby beaches en route to Carvoeiro.
2. Armação de Pêra
One of the busier Algarve beaches, Armação de Pêra was once simply a quiet fishing village in the municipality of Silves. Its turquoise waters, surrounded by cliffs, are popular with tourists, particularly those staying in the resort. The old village beach is quieter, with a ruined 17th century fort still standing, and is popular with bird watchers - you might even see flamingoes!
3. Praia de Albandeira
For those looking for a quiet, shady beach, Praia de Albandeira is perfect as it's not rammed with tourists. Many visitors stumble across it accidentally, but this little beach is a thing of beauty, nestled between sandy rocks and with a small wooden bar on the cliff top. The perfect place for romance, the beach is easily accessible by wooden steps. A rocky cave provides shade and there's another bay nearby that can be reached by a short swim or boat ride.
4. Praia da Amoreira
Praia da Amoreira sits inside the Vicentine Coast National Park and is home to sand dunes and impressive volcanic rock formations. The waves here make it a popular place with surfers, but it's also a good place for walking, either on the golden sand or on the cliffs above the beach. There's also a freshwater river and plenty of rock pools for children, plus when the tide is out there's a shallow beach pool for paddling.
5. Meia Praia
The longest beach in the Algarve, Meia Praia snakes its way around the bay towards the Alvor estuary for almost five kilometres. This does make it a popular beach, but there's plenty of room for everyone and tends to naturally split into those wishing to sunbathe and those looking for water sports. The water and sand are both close to perfection, and as the bay curves, the views are spectacular. On clear days you can see as far as the towns of Lagos and Sagres...
6. Praia da Ilha de Tavira
If you're up for an adventure, catch the ferry from Quatro Águas, south of the town of Tavira and experience the stunning beaches of Tavira Island. Popular with bird watches and families, the beaches can get busy in the summer but the white sand, sunsets and warm sea make it worthwhile. There's also a shady campsite covered with pine trees if you want to stay a while, but if you're only visiting for the day, return to the mainland via the little train and the floating bridge from Santa Luiza.
7. Praia da Falésia
With endless sand stretching out beneath the impressive red cliffs that give this beach its name, Praia da Falésia is a pretty and sheltered beach. Although not that far from Albufeira, this beach is usually quiet as it's more popular with locals than tourists. It's also ideal for a romantic beach stroll, with eight kilometres of coastline to walk along and there are a few car parks, toilets and restaurants as well.
8. Praia dos Pescadores
Known locally as Fisherman's Beach, if you come here early enough you can see the local fishermen unloading their day's catch. This beach is right in the centre of Albufeira, so does get crowded, but its proximity to the shops and bars makes up for this. Despite the crowds, it has a sense of tranquillity and is perfect for families with young children as the beach is cleaned daily and has shallow clear water that is ideal for paddling.
9. Praia Verde
Named after the sea of green pine trees that greet you as you approach the beach, Praia Verde is another spot that's quite peaceful and not too touristy. It does get a little busier in the summer months when the beach is supervised but it has a calming atmosphere and your children can play in the sand dunes and among the trees. It's safe to swim and there's also a nearby golf course if you're feeling sporty.
10. Praia de Vale Figueira
Situated inside the Vincentine Coast Natural Park, the beach of Praia de Vale Figueira feels like it's in the middle of nowhere. Take a peaceful stroll across the golden sands or along the cliff tops and try and to spot the rare osprey. Popular with surfers, this beach is not recommended for inexperienced swimmers due to the strong undercurrent and the lack of lifeguards. However, it is a beautiful and unspoilt making it well worth a visit.
If we've whet your appetite and you're now dreaming of a seaside escape, check out our dedicated Algarve holidays, transfers and car hire pages to see if there's a deal to help get you there. If you've already been, tell us what we've missed!
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