Top 10 beaches in the Algarve
The Algarve is Portugal's most popular holiday destination, renowned for its glorious beaches, warm weather and fabulous sunsets.
While there's no denying that Portugal has a wide and varied appeal, most head to the southern stretch of the Algarve for the reliable weather and abundance of beautiful beaches.
Getting to the Algarve: given its popularity, it's no great surprise that there's a wealth of ways to get to the Algarve. For holidays of every shape, size and budget, however, look no further than First Choice*, which has many ways to save when you book online.
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. It's also popular with bird watchers - you might even see flamingos!
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 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 clifftop.
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 watchers 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 awhile. If you're only going 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, sheltered beach.
Although not that far from Albufeira, this beach is usually quiet as it's more popular with locals than tourists. The 8 km coastline is ideal for a romantic beach stroll; there are a few car parks, toilets and restaurants dotted along this section also.
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 busy 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; 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 beautiful and unspoilt making it well worth a visit.
Weather in the Algarve
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In summer, the Algarve is renowned for its long, sunny days and warm temperatures. Meanwhile, in winter, it remains mild with generous seasonal sunshine. Just consider the sea temperature, which is never that high; a heated pool might be in order.
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