18 Best beaches in the Algarve

Algarve beaches are without a doubt the main attraction of the region. Although they are the main reason that brings millions of tourists to the Algarve every year, they are by no means the only one. There are many places to visit in the Algarve, trails to go, and delicious dishes to try.

This article focuses on the best beaches in the Algarve, from Odeceixe to Vila Real de Santo António. To obtain a more comprehensive article, we tried to select a diverse set of beaches. Some are fully developed, others less so, some are internationally renowned while others are popular among locals. We have the famous small beaches near the cliffs, but also others with long stretches of sand… therefore, a little bit of everything.

For your ease, we have separated the beaches into 3 main regions and ordered them from North to South, and then from West to East. We have it like this:

  • Sotavento (leeward) West, from Odeceixe to S. Vicente Cape
  • Sotavento (leeward) South, from S. Vicente Cape to Albufeira
  • Barlavento (windward), from Loulé to Vila Real de Santo Antonio.

General features of the Algarve Beaches

As we said, we have beaches with diverse characteristics in this list, but there are some general trends and common attributes in Algarve beaches. Thus, before choosing the areas and beaches of the Algarve to visit, we should bear in mind that:

  • The sea water temperature is warmer in the Algarve than in the rest of mainland Portugal;
  • However the water is much warmer in the Barlavento than in the Sotavento. The warmest water is in the area between Tavira and the border.
  • The famous beaches of the ocre cliffs are mainly in the Sotavento.
  • The Barlavento area has mostly flat beaches, with long stretches sands of almost white sand.
  • The west coast is the least developed and explored area of ​​the Algarve, but it is also the windiest and with the coldest water.
  • If you want wilder beaches and less crowded the best areas are the Sotavento West.
  • Still, note that it is difficult to find deserted and completely wild beaches in the Algarve (and especially in summer)

Important note: many of the beaches in the Algarve have huge and beautiful cliffs, but we have to alert that these cliffs bring the possibility of landslides and stones falling off. We recommend that you keep a safe distance from the cliffs. These areas are usually well signposted at the beach entrances.

Arches in Marinha beach

Best Beaches in the Algarve – East West

Odeceixe Beach, Aljezur

Odeceixe beach is a monument, a landmark of Portugal, and one of the highlights of the Fishermen’s trail. It is not only one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve, but also in Portugal. With a long stretch of yellow sand facing the Atlantic, it is a typical beach on the west coast of Portugal and the Costa Vicentina.

It is just 3 km from the village of Odeceixe, in the municipality of Aljezur, at the mouth of the Seixe stream. For those coming from the north, Odeceixe beach is the first beach in the Algarve, as Ribeira de Seixe is the natural border between Alentejo and Algarve.

Odeceixe beach has the peculiarity of being a river and maritime beach, as the Seixe stream bathes the north and east of Praia. So, we can choose whether we want to dive in the sea or the river.

With the stream winding through the valley, and the beach nestled between the Sea, the stream, and the high cliffs and gorges all around, Praia de Odeceixe is easily of the most impressive in the Algarve. Unfortunately, the water is usually quite cold as you would expect in this area. In any case, this is undoubtedly a beach worth visiting and one of the best postcards of Portugal.

Algarve beaches you shouldn't miss
The astonishing Odeceixe beach, from the lookout in Rota Vicentina
  • GPS: 37°26’28.53″N 8°47’52.66″W
  • blue flag
  • Watched: Yes
  • Infrastrutures: good access, bar, toilet and bathing support – suitable for everyone, especially families

Amoreira beach, Aljezur

Amoreira beach is located a few km south of Odeceixe and shares some of its characteristics. It is also located at the mouth of a watercourse; the Aljezur river has a high cliff on the south bank and allows bathing in the river and the sea.

While the sea tends to have powerful waves, the low tide forms lagoons that are very attractive and safe for children on the river beach. However, pay attention to the strong currents of the stream when the tide is descending. The sand is immense, and the possibility of enjoying the fluvial environment framed by the scenic rocky slopes of the valley gives this beach even more charisma.

On the other hand, the cliff to the north is not high enough, so it doesn’t protect the beach from the wind. In our opinion, despite some similarities with Odeceixe, it is less dramatic and, therefore, not as spectacular. Another disadvantage is that to reach the beach you have to take a long detour of more than 7 km from Aljezur. However, the road is good, and the car park is large and orderly. There is also a restaurant/bar, but if you are looking for wilder and more natural beaches, this is one of the best chances in the Algarve.

Amoreira Beach, one of the beaches to try this summer in Algarve
Amoreira beach, one of the great beaches of West Algarve
  • GPS: 37°21’7.26″N 8°50’38.72″W
  • blue flag
  • Watched: Yes
  • Infrastructure: good access, bar, toilet, and bathing support – suitable for everyone, especially families

Bordeira Beach, Aljezur

If Amoreira has an “immense stretch of sand”, Bordeira beach is even bigger. Due to its enormous size, this is a beach that, as popular as it may be, you will always find space for yourself. Bordeira beach is very close to Carrapateira ( so sometimes it is also called Carrapateira beach), and the accesses are excellent, with parking and a series of walkways.

The best way to go to Praia da Bordeira is through the cliff (there are some parking lots there) and then using the beach walkways. From the top of the cliff, you also have a wonderful view of the beach, and it’s from there that you can appreciate its actual size.

The stream that flows into this beach is quite small, and often it doesn’t even reach the sea, forming a small lagoon that children love. In addition to good access and a park, the beach also has a bar, bathrooms, and information panels.

Despite all this, the beach has relatively little influx of bathers (probably because it is quite windy). However, it is mainly popular among surf, bodyboard, windsurf and kitesurf enthusiasts.

List of the best beaches in Algarve
Stunning scenery at Bordeira Beach
  • GPS: 37°11’50.70″N 8°54’11.31″W
  • Watched: Yes
  • Infrastructures: good access, bar, toilet and bathing support – suitable for everyone, but water sports enthusiasts in particular

Algarve Best Beaches – East East

Camilo Beach, Lagos

Often considered the most beautiful beach in the Algarve, Praia do Camilo is aesthetically almost perfect. A small sandy beach, almost vertical orange cliffs, turquoise water, leixões, Algares, and sinkholes. It has everything we imagine to be an Algarve beach… maybe because it is used in many advertisements for the Algarve…

However, this beach has some issues. Access is via a staircase with more than 200 stairs, which makes access impossible for some people. The parking lot is small, and so is the beach. Due to the combination of its popularity and its small size, in high season, it is complicated going and enjoying this beach.

However, don’t let these details stop you from going to Camilo beach as it is really gorgeous, a postcard of the Algarve, and a place not to be missed when visiting Lagos. Our suggestion is to go to this area in low / shoulder season. Or if it is high season, wake up early and go there immediately.

one of the iconic beaches in Algarve - Camilo Beach
Camilo beach, one of the iconic beaches in Algarve

GPS: 37° 5’14.37″N 8°40’7.19″W
Watched: Yes
Access: not suitable for people with reduced mobility. The restaurant and toilet are on top of the cliff, not on the beach.

Dona Ana beach, Lagos

If Camilo beach is well-known, Dona Ana is right next door and is even more popular. It’s a bigger beach, so it accommodates many more vacationers, but that does not mean it’s much easier to find a place for your towel.

Located about 2 km from the center of Lagos, it is perfectly possible to walk there, but if you have a car, access is also easy, and it has a parking lot. Though, finding a spot can be a lot more difficult during the high season. Naturally, it has all the support equipment you’ll need.

This region’s typical cliffs and rock formations are one of the biggest highlights of this beach and a source of inspiration for all who visit it. So, in addition to being one of the best beaches in the Algarve, it is also one of the most beautiful. Moreover, it has been considered one of the most beautiful in Europe and the world several times.

Dona Ana beach with very few people
Dona Ana beach in low season – one of the best beaches in Algarve
  • GPS: 37° 5’30.27″N 8°40’9.55″W
  • Blue Flag
  • Watched: Yes
  • Infrastruture: not suitable for people with reduced mobility, restaurant, toilet and bathing equipment

Alvor beach, Portimão

Part of the dune cordon of the Alvor estuary, in the wide bay of Lagos, Alvor beach has a stretch of sand that goes as far as the eye can see. Extending for more than 3.5 km, it forms sandy barriers that allow an interior lagoon with marsh banks and calm waters. It is a sanctuary for several different species of birds, fish, and mollusks.

The calm waters of the Alvor estuary are also ideal for those who practice water sports such as SUP, windsurf and kitesurf. The entire dune system was recovered, and a network of walkways and roads were built, providing excellent access to the beach and the pier. It quickly became a great place for family walks and offering viewpoints, resting points, and the possibility of seeing the typical habitats of the estuary.

The entire area is surrounded by several hotels and accommodation, has good support infrastructure, several bars, and restaurants that include equipment for sailing, water skiing, or windsurfing. Thus, the beach is great for all types of travelers, from adventurers to families with children and the elderly. For all that, it is one of the best beaches in the Algarve, and if you are looking for a holiday area with a little bit of everything, Alvor is one of our favorite destinations.

Algarve beaches - Alvor
The long Alvor beach
  • GPS: 37° 7’22.50″N 8°35’57.62″W
  • Watched: Yes
  • Infrastructure: good access, restaurants, bathroom, bathing, and recreational facilities suitable for all.

3 irmãos beach (3 brothers), Portimão

3 irmãos beach is essentially the continuation of Alvor beach to the east. As it follows Praia do Alvor, it shares some of its characteristics but also has some rock formations that give it a more sheltered setting than Alvor. It is also a lovely beach, and very popular too.

Alvor’s walkways connect the marshland area of ​​the Alvor estuary to 3 Irmãos beach. There is also a car park, good access, support bars and huge infrastructure to support the beach with several hotels and accommodation.

During low tide, it is possible to explore rock formations, and it’s even possible to access a small hidden beach.

Best Algarve beaches -
Best beaches in Algarve – 3 irmãos Beach
  • GPS: 37° 7’12.69″N 8°34’56.69″W
  • Watched: Yes
  • Access: good access, restaurants, bathroom, bathing and recreational facilities, suitable for everyone.

Rocha Beach, Portimão

Rocha beach is one of the largest and most popular beaches in the Algarve and Portugal. The beach at Praia da Rocha is enormous, both in length and in width, thus accommodating thousands of tourists.

The normally calm, turquoise, safe waters, and the fine and spacious sand make it one of the most iconic beaches in the Algarve. It is an urban beach, extremely developed with buildings around and with all the infrastructure you can imagine, from sporting activities (basketball, football, volleyball, and aerobics) to a casino and a vibrant nightlife. It is truly a beach resort town.

For all these reasons, Praia da Rocha is one of the Algarve’s excellent beaches and one of Portugal’s international posters. Thus, it is one of the best beaches in the Algarve for tourists looking for a lively place, with lots of people, nightlife, and 24-hour activities. It is not the ideal beach for those who want wild and adventure tourism, wild or demure.

Tip: At both ends of the beach, some viewpoints provide fantastic views.

Praias famosas do Algarve
Praia da Rocha / Rocha beach – one of the most iconic beaches in the Algarve
  • GPS: 37° 7’2.93″N 8°32’10.46″W
  • Watched: Yes
  • Infrastruture: good access, restaurants, toilet, bathing and recreational facilities suitable for everyone, especially families

Carvoeiro Beach, Lagoa

Carvoeiro beach is nestled between the ocher cliffs, the village of Carvoeiro, and of course, the sea. It’s not a big beach, but it’s a medium-sized beach where many tourists can fit. The main distinguishing point of this beach is undoubtedly the white village of Carvoeiro, stretched along the cliffs, creating a picturesque but harmonious setting.

The village ends right on the beach, which means there is a good range of restaurants, bars, and terraces by the beach. This former fishing village is currently mainly a tourist village, where there are many fun activities. Still, the most popular will undoubtedly be the boat trips along the coast that show some caves and other rock formations.

Of course, it is a beach with good access, parking (which fills up quickly) and all the basic infrastructure such as WC, bathing and recreational facilities.

Note that close to Carvoeiro beach, there is another nice beach, though less accessible and known, called Paraíso beach (Paradise beach). This is a small shell of sand wedged between high cliffs. Access to Paraíso beach is via a long, winding, and narrow staircase. When you arrive, the feeling is of entering a rocky pool where the atmosphere is permeated with the salty air.

Praias recomendadas do Algarve
Praia do Carvoeiro
  • GPS: 37° 5’46.85″N 8°28’17.87″W
  • Watched: Yes
  • Infrastruture: good access, restaurants, toilet, bathing and recreational facilities suitable for everyone, especially families

Carvalho beach, Lagoa

Carvalho beach has a narrow but relatively wide sand, nestled between rocky, ocher walls. The huge leixão in the sea, in front of the beach, gives it the finishing scenic touch.

This is a very nice and pleasant beach, but what makes it really unique is the access. You have to go through a tunnel carved by hand in the rock wall to get to the beach. In addition to the access tunnel, a bar was also excavated on the cliff. Going to this beach is really a different experience.

There aren’t many parking spaces along the beach, and it’s probably best to leave your car in the upper area and go down the wooden stairs that will give the aforementioned access. Please note that this is not normally a guarded beach or a beach with support infrastructure.

Perhaps one of the best ways to go to Carvalho beach is to take the seven hanging valleys trail and take the opportunity to rest a little on this wonderful beach.

most beautiful beaches in Algarve - Carvalho beach
Carvalho Beach, seen from the seven hanging valleys trail
  • GPS: 37° 5’12.41″N 8°25’55.10″W
  • Watched: No
  • Access: not suitable for people with reduced mobility and does not have support equipment

Benagil Beach, Lagoa

Benagil beach is one of the obvious choices for this list of the best beaches in the Algarve. After all, it is the access beach to Algar de Benagil (Benagil Caves), one of the most internationally famous natural landmarks in Portugal and one of the Algarve’s hallmarks.

However, what is its glory is also his worst problem. Benagil beach is quite small, and at high tide, it is minimal, and the popularity of Algar means that thousands of people visit it. In a small space, we have boats constantly entering and leaving the beach, we have all the boats that leave the marinas from the larger cities that pass right in front to visit the Algar de Benagil and other rock formations, as well as kayaks and SUPs rented directly on the beach. Let’s just say it becomes crowded.

So, what could be an idyllic beach, as it has all the features, turns out to be a little unpleasant. In any case, don’t get us wrong, the caves are truly a fabulous natural monument and well worth the visit. But if you want to simply go to the beach, there are other alternatives, just as or prettier and without all the mess that Benagil has.

Benagil beach is easily accessible by car, a huge car park, toilet, restaurant, bar, kayak, SUP rental, etc. Basically, it has everything, maybe too much, as we said above.

One of the most famous beaches in Algarve
Benagil beach, one of the most famous beaches in the Algarve
  • GPS: 37° 5’14.55″N 8°25’35.24″W
  • Watched: No
  • Infrastruture: good access but not recommended for wheelchair users, restaurant and toilet near the beach

Praia da Marinha, Lagoa

Marinha beach is another of the most beautiful and photographed beaches in the Algarve. In fact, it is tough to say which is the most beautiful beach in the Algarve, but there is no doubt that Marinha beach would be a contender. It has all the characteristics that make up a good beach. Turquoise water. Clean and surprisingly long sand. Huge rock formations. Beautiful accesses and privileged views. Several viewpoints with different perspectives. Amazing and extraordinary marine life.

The access to Marinha beach is via a staircase that leads to what appears to be a small beach, which then surprises us, extending into a much larger space. Very fissured cliffs of warm colors surround the whole beach. There are a huge number of rock formations with immense variety, including ledges, arches, caves, and sinkholes.

Tip: there is an accessible underwater route on the beach, which allows you to easily explore the habitats that are home to colorful urchins and anemones, several species of fish, octopus, and cuttlefish, and even seahorses. You just need a snorkel.

The only negative point that we can think of is that all these qualities bring lots of people, making it very crowded in high season.

There is a huge new car park on top of the cliff, the beach has a bar/restaurant with WC, and on top of the cliff, there are even some picnic tables. Marinha beach is also the starting point of the Sete Vales Suspenso Trail, the most beautiful trail in the Algarve and one of the best trails in Portugal.

impressive rock formations in Marinha beach
Marinha Beach and its wonderful rock formations
  • GPS: 37° 5’23.67″N 8°24’42.08″W
  • Watched: Yes
  • Infrastruture: Access by stairs. Not recommended for people with reduced furniture, restaurant and toilet.

Falésia Beach, Albufeira

Situated right next to Vilamoura’s marina, Falesia beach is top-rated, one of the most popular in the Algarve. In addition to the beach itself, the sunset parties held here are legendary and attract thousands of people every year. This makes it a popular beach with young people and groups of friends.

However, this huge beach extends for several km, so it’s always possible to find quieter areas with less noise. One of the curiosities of this beach is the reddish-yellow tone of the sand as it comes from the cliffs that have these strong colors.

Of course, there are plenty of support infrastructure along the beach, with bars and restaurants spread out. It is a guarded beach during the summer and has walkways that run along almost the entire beach.

toda a informação sobre as praias do Algarve
The warm colors of Falesia beach
  • GPS: 37° 5’0.65″N 8°9’32.73″W
  • Blue Flag
  • Watched: Yes
  • Infrastruture: good access, restaurants, toilet and recreational services; suitable for everyone.

Best Beaches Algarve – Barlavento

Farol (Lighthouse) Beach on Culatra Island, Faro

Farol beach is located on Culatra Island, and it is only accessible by boat from Olhão (all year) and Faro (in summer). Located in the extreme west of the island, next to the fishing village, it is a typical beach of the Ria Formosa, with long stretches of white sand, warm (but not as much as the next beaches on this list) crystal clear waters. Note that the currents near the bar are usually powerful, so be very careful.

This is a very calm beach and island. Although there is a village, there are no motorized vehicles, creating a peaceful and relaxing environment for those looking for a beautiful beach to rest. Given the size of the beach, it is always possible to find isolated places, particularly towards the east. You just need to walk far enough.

Praia do Farol is very popular with locals and some connoisseurs but has relatively few foreign tourists. It has a good support infrastructure as there are several bars and restaurants along the beach.

  • GPS: 36°58’33.68″N 7°51’42.56″W
  • Blue Flag
  • Watched: Yes
  • Infrastrutue: Access to the island by boat, restaurants, toilet and bathing facilities specially indicated for families

Barril Beach, Tavira

Barril beach is one of the most iconic in the Western Algarve. It’s a huge beach, with an almost endless white sand and a crystal clear sea. With few waves and a delightful temperature, this is a wonderful beach to go for a swim. Another striking feature of Barril beach is the anchor graveyard that’s at the entrance to the beach.

Located on the island of Tavira, access to the beach can be done by a small pedestrian path or by a tourist train that connects the island of Tavira to Santa Luzia. The experience and the route are, to say the least, curious and very popular with both children and adults. There is a parking lot next to the mini train stop, but it is quite small for the number of tourists that the beach attracts.

Despite being on a deserted island, Barril beach has several restaurants and bars that offer the possibility of having lunch and a snack comfortably. It also has a lifeguard during the bathing season, which makes it even safer. For all that, this is one of the best beaches in the Algarve and one of our favorites to relax, sunbathe and go for a swim.

From Barril, we can walk to the east and reach the island of Tavira beach, but if we walk west, we will find ourselves in the Homem nú (Nude man, but that’s just a name) beach then the naturist beach (not just a name ). So, in practice, this is all a very long beach with several km as there’s no separation between them. In fact, to access the naturist beach, the best way is to go to Barril beach and then walk west.

anchor graveyard at Barril beach
anchor graveyard at Barril beach
  • GPS: 37° 5’9.88″N 7°39’43.87″W
  • Watched: Yes
  • Access: Access on foot or by train. Accessible to people with reduced mobility, suitable for everyone.

Cacela Velha beach, Vila Real de Santo António

The beach of Cacela Velha is another one of the beaches of Ria Formosa, in this case, located in Barra da Cacela. It is a long sandy beach with a fabulous sea. It’s an undeveloped beach and probably the closest to a wild beach you’ll find in this region of the Algarve. There is no car access, no support infrastructure, no lifeguards.

When the tide is high, access to the beach is via boat from the village of Cacela Velha, but if it is low enough, it is possible to cross the water on foot to the sand spit. It is undoubtedly a curious way to go to the beach, but that is why it is a less suitable beach to visit with children and people with less mobility. Though popular among youngsters.

From the top of the Cacela Velha village, next to Fort D. Paio Peres Correia, there is a magnificent lookout to the Ria Formosa. It is also the best way to see all the beauty of this area and the beaches in this region.

Cacela Velha beach -  from the village
Cacela Velha beach – from the village
  • GPS: 37° 9’4.55″N 7°32’56.83″W
  • Watched: no
  • Access: not suitable for people with reduced mobility, it does not have support equipment.

Manta Rota Beach, Vila Real de Santo António

Although the access is completely different, Manta Rota beach is next to Praia da Cacela Velha and “only” about 2/3 km to the east. Unlike Cacela Velha, this is a developed and urbanized beach, with a huge car park, walkways, several beach bars, restaurants, etc…

The beach at Manta Rota is extremely popular among Portuguese looking for a beach resort with warm water and where they can rest and relax. The sand is white and fine, and the seawater is one of the warmest in mainland Portugal.

The large square next to the beach offers plenty of entertainment during summer, both day and night. It has a children’s playground, an arts center, and several shopping facilities. It is one of the cult beaches in Portugal and naturally one of the best beaches in the Algarve, especially for families with children. The availability of support services makes it a very comfortable destination.

As 18 melhores praias do Algarve que não pode perder este Verão
Praia de Manta Rota
  • GPS: 37° 9’48.84″N 7°31’8.95″W
  • Watched: Yes
  • infrastrure: good access, restaurants, bathroom, bathing and recreational facilities, suitable for everyone.

Monte Gordo Beach, Vila Real de Santo António

Monte Gordo beach is one of the pioneers of tourism in the Algarve. Its calm and warm waters and the clear sand of this seemingly endless beach have always been its main attractions. In fact, in our experience, this is the beach with the warmest water in mainland Portugal, and therefore it could never miss this list.

Monte Gordo was originally a fishing village, and the west side of the town still retains some of its fishing charisma, but nowadays, it is mainly a tourist village and therefore has everything a holidaymaker needs. On the lively waterfront, we have garden spaces, tourist facilities, restaurants, bars, and various commercial establishments, while on the sand, we have plenty of shades and chairs for hire.

At the summer peak, the village and beach of Monte Gordo have lots of tourists, which can become uncomfortable, especially in the central areas. However, we must mention that Monte Gordo beach is really endless, and it is always possible to walk a little further and find a more secluded place.

If hot water is the priority, the best beaches in the Algarve are Monte Gordo and Manta Rota.

the endless sand of Monte Gordo beach
Monte Gordo, one of the favorite beaches among Portuguese
  • GPS: 37°10’39.18″N 7°27’4.59″W
  • Watched: Yes
  • Infrastruture: good access, restaurants, toilet, bathing and recreational facilities, suitable for everyone, especially families.

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18 Best beaches in the Algarve

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