Wondering what are the best beaches in Algarve to visit? Well, I’ve found them!
The Algarve region in Portugal is known for its beautiful golden sand beaches. You know the ones with the soaring cliffs, the crystal clear blue water, the sea caves and unusual rock formations. And why not, it’s surrounded by two sides of the Atlantic. And, it’s gorgeous!
With over 100 beaches in the Algarve, how do you choose which ones to visit? Everything from the western-facing oceanfronts with the pounding waves to the secret coves with soaring cliffs. Those that are family-friendly, or couples looking for a romantic stroll at sunset. There are too many to cover them all.
I spent a week in the Algarve, and I went at the end of February and early March – that means I had them all to myself. No crowds. Just me, the sea, the sand and the surf! It also means I was able to go beach hopping as there is no traffic. So I was able to visit a lot of beaches, and some were great recommendations from locals. And, now I get to share them with you!
This is your guide to the top beaches in Algarve Portugal covering the best beaches for families, for surfers, and the most secluded. From West Algarve beaches to the Eastern Algarve beaches.
Ready to “dive in”?
Table of Contents
About the Algarve Region
Let’s start first by getting to know a little bit about this amazing region in Portugal.
Portugal sits on the Iberian Peninsula, flanked by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and Spain to the east. Portugal’s most southern region stretches from west to east.
The western coast is known for its rugged cliffs and big waves, whereas the eastern coast is more natural, authentic and undeveloped with endless sandbanks and lagoons.
The tourist hotspot is right in the middle. It’s here, you’ll find the newly developed condos and resorts being built in close proximity to those beautiful beaches. Where you will find lots of shopping, restaurants, golf courses, water-sport activities and nightlife.
The further inland you go is where you will find the historic white-washed towns, the rolling countryside and farmland with its cork and olive groves. This is where it eventually meets up with the Alentejo region, often thought of as the new Tuscany.
Beaches in Algarve Portugal
1. Praia de Odeceixe is a favourite with locals
Praia de Odeceixe spans the border between the Alentejo and Algarve regions and is considered a bit remote and not on the radar for most tourists.
The Odeceixe beach is known as one of the best beaches in Algarve for families because it offers a calm river safe for younger children and bigger waves on the ocean side for older kids.
2. Praia da Arrifana is perfect for surfers
On the west coast is where you’ll find one of the Algarve’s best surf spots for all levels to enjoy. Surf camps, restaurants, and hotels make Arrifana Beach the ideal surfer’s destination.
3. Praia Do Camilo is a must for photographers
One of the smallest beaches in the Algarve is the secluded Do Camilo beach which can be reached at a descent of 200 wooden steps.
It may be small, but it’s one of the most well-known Algarve beaches. That means if you want to capture the unique rock formations woven into the beach before the crowds you have to get there early in the morning.
4. Praia dos Estudiantes is for history buffs
This beach offers one of the most scenic views, and it’s bound to delight history buffs too.
To access the beach you walk through a rocky tunnel. As you step out from the tunnel you’ll be greeted with an incredible sight of two steep golden cliffs surrounding the beach with an ancient Roman bridge connecting two of the cliffs. I’m so curious about how long and why the bridge appears.
5. Praia Dona Ana is one of the most photographed beaches
This beautiful beach checks a lot of boxes. The soaring cliffs create a dramatic backdrop for photos and block the wind making for calm waters that families look for.
The views are stunning especially from above looking below to the clear turquoise water and rugged rock formations. This is one of the most Instagrammable places in Portugal! And, it’s a great beach to watch a stunning sunset from.
6. Meia Praia is everyone’s favourite
The beaches close to the party town of Lagos will always attract a younger crowd as it offers a fun, social beach that even young families enjoy. But that’s not all it’s known for.
This is the longest beach in the Logos area of nearly 5 km and it’s one of the best beaches in Algarve for swimming. The water is clear and shallow and gets deeper very slowly. This is a popular beach, but because it’s so large, you can always find your own private spot.
7. Praia dos Três Irmãos offers a unique surprise
The beach’s name, Três Irmãos, translates to three brothers. Visit this beach and you’ll soon realize why- there are three incredible rock formations. This long white sand beach with its impressive red-coloured cliffs and rock formations offers a unique surprise – a series of caves and passages.
During low tide, you can walk from one cove to another leading to a series of small beaches. The most famous one called Prainha features a gorgeous double arch. Have your cameras ready for this beach!
8. Praia da Roche is one of the most popular beaches
The striking yellow and red coloured cliffs hug the 1.5 km stretch of sand. The views from above are a great spot for photographers as are the tiny coves. This is one of the most popular beaches to visit as its close to the town of Portimao and offers full amenities of showers and restaurants.
9. Benagil Caves is full of adventure
One of the few beaches in the Algarve that can only be reached by water is the Benagil Caves. Of all the Algarve beaches, this one is the most popular, and for good reason. The best way to see Benagil caves is by kayak. Be sure to book one of the boat or kayak tours to see it.
10. Praia da Corredoura is the perfect escape
Praia da Corredoura can only be reached by boat making this beautiful beach one of the most secluded beaches in the Algarve. Rent a paddleboard or kayak, from the nearby Marinha or Benagil beaches and make your way to your own private oasis.
This beach is popular with couples and solo travellers who are looking for the privacy of their own beach. Shhh, let’s keep this one a secret.
11. Praia Da Marinha offers that wow factor
Having earned a spot on the “Most Beautiful Beach in the World” list by CNN and Conde Nast Traveller you have to visit this one. The incredible cliffs have been cropped and changed into a series of pinnacles, crevasses and caves.
Aside from the incredible rock formations, the beach changes between low and high tides. At low tide, the beach becomes bigger, but during high tide, the sea turns an incredible turquoise colour.
12. Praia de Albandeira is a hidden gem of the Algarve
This lesser-known, small, secluded beach is one of the best-kept secrets of the Algarve. The Albandeira beach offers calm waters perfect for swimming and snorkelling.
Sitting in an alcove surrounded by cliffs with large dramatic arches in the sea makes this a dream for photographers and one of the best viewing spots at sunset.
13. Praia da Falésia is perfect for sunset strolls
A long 10 km straight strip of sand backed by incredible cliffs in white and ochre makes the Albufeira one of the best beaches in Algarve. This beach is easily accessible with nearby parking. You can walk along the cliff or down on the beach.
14. Praia do Ancao is for sun worshipers
Praia do Ancão is a long stretch of beach that sun worshipers flock to. Even though this is such a popular beach, there’s always lots of space to lay your beach towel down and have some privacy. For those that love to walk the beach, or run, this is a great long stretch of sand perfect for doing just that!
15. Ilha de Tavira, Tavira, is ideal for that island getaway
The eastern coast of the Algarve is drastically different than the west. Tiny sand inlets make up the Natural Ria de Formosa Park known for its migration of bird and marine life. A series of island beaches sit offshore, close to the charming town of Tavira, known for having some of the best beaches in Algarve.
Best Guided Tours in Algarve
- Benagil Caves Speed Boat Tour with Sunset. Discover the Algarve coastline and the famous Benagil Caves on this speed boat tour from Portimão. Look out for dolphins along the way and make a short stop for swimming.
- Benagil Caves Kayaking Experience. Discover the fantastic scenery of the Benagil Caves with kayaks, to access even the most hidden spots. You can stop and get out inside at the famous Benagil Cave for some breathtaking pictures.
- Boat Cruise to Ponta da Piedade. Admire the towering natural arches of Ponta da Piedade on a boat cruise from Lagos. Sail over turquoise water and see gems, like Dona Ana beach.
- From Lagos: Algarve Cruise by Catamaran. Enjoy a cruise from Lagos to Praia da Luz and back. Relax aboard a catamaran and take in the views of the caves and unique rock formations of Ponta da Piedade and the golden beaches of the Algarve.
Best places to visit in the Algarve
Some of the best coastline towns can be found in the Algarve. Here are the ones worth seeking out, starting in the west again and going east.
- Lagos, known as a party town, offers lots of accommodations and restaurants not to mention its close proximity to the best Algarve beaches
- Albufeira, known as the gateway to the Algarve, features lots of resorts, hotels, restaurants and some of the Algarve’s best beaches
- Faro, is known for its airport and is the main modern hub of the Algarve
- Olhao, known as a traditional fishing village, is now going through a major transformation
- Tavira, known as the prettiest town in the Algarve, is full of history and charm
Where to stay in Algarve Portugal
Lagos to Albufeira
- Let’s Build Sandcastles – 1-bedroom condo in the village of Armação de Pêra with balcony and sea-facing views
- La Petite Sardine – 1-bed, 1-bath with sea views from the balcony
- Maritime Pine Vistas – 1-bed steps from Falesia beach and access to a communal pool
- Ceramic Animal – 1-bedroom condo in a family-friendly resort in the village of Carvoeiro, walk-out to patio and communal pool
- Cocoon in Carvoeiro Cove – 2 bed, 2-bath apartment perched on Carvoeiro’s rugged coastline
Faro to Olhao
- Sunny Hues of Faro – 2-bed, 1-bath apartment in Old Town with wrought iron balcony
- Sunshine & Custard – 1-bed, 2-bath in the heart of historic Faro with terrace and views of rooftops
- Textures of Faro – 2-bed, 2 bath with private terrace and close to the marina in Faro
- All is Calm – 2-bed, 2-bath in the centre of Faro with shared access to a pool
- Best Seat in the House – 2-bed, 3-bath luxury apartment on the green of Monte Rei Golf and Country Club course with sea-facing views, includes all amenities of spa, tennis, restaurants, pool
Where I stayed in the Algarve
The modern retreat of Casa Modesta lies in the Ria Formosa just outside the town of Olhão.
A 9-suite retreat consists of two whitewashed buildings that offer guests a common kitchen and bar area, complete with a centuries-old bread oven and wine cellar. The second building features a small lounge and reception area as well as a dining hall where you will enjoy your breakfast each morning.
Every room, (ours was #9) offers a large private terrace where you can enjoy both the sunrise and sunset views.
What is the meaning of the Algarve?
The name “Algarve” comes from the Arabic word “the west”. The name refers to the fact that the Algarve is the westernmost region of Portugal, located at the southwestern tip of the European continent.
How many beaches are in Algarve?
The Algarve has over 150 beaches, stretching along its coastline, which is close to 200 km stretching from the west to the east.
Are dogs allowed on Algarve beaches?
The rules for dogs on Algarve beaches vary depending on the specific beach and the time of year. Some beaches may have designated areas where dogs are allowed, while others may prohibit dogs entirely.
What beaches in the Algarve allow naturists?
Although there are no nude beaches in Portugal, there are a few beaches where nudity is more commonly accepted like Praia do Barril, Naturista and da Gale.
What is the best time to visit the Algarve?
The best time to visit the Algarve is during the spring and fall. The months of May, June, September and October offer the best balance of weather and crowds. The warmest and busiest months are July and August.
How many days to spend in the Algarve?
At minimum spend 3 to 4 days in the Algarve. A week is a reasonable amount of time to explore the beaches in Algarve as well as visit the best towns.
Portugal Travel Resources
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As a Holidaymaker
I hope this has inspired your planning for the Algarve region. With so much to do and explore be sure to give yourself several days to experience as much as you can. You’ll want to take your time to see these beautiful beaches in Algarve.