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The best Algarve beaches to visit

The Algarve is home to some of the best beaches in the whole world. In fact, people come here for this exact reason. Unlike beaches elsewhere in Europe, the landscapes here are far from flat. Some of them are consist of rugged cave and rock formations with breath-taking views from the top; others are long stretches of white sands with crashing waves. There’s so much variety with the Algarve’s beaches and you’ll be spoilt for choice!

The beaches of Portugal’s south coast make excellent photo spots and are easily accessible no matter where you’re staying. Having spent a month in the region, we’ve assembled a list of the best beaches in the Algarve, influenced by our own experience and reviews of other travellers. If you want to visit the beach during your holiday, you have to check these out!  

Browse our collated list of the best Algarve beaches below and be sure to send us your beach photos if you do decide to visit. 😊

Praia do Camilo

View on map | ARea: Lagos

Starting with one of our favourites, Praia do Camilo has appeared on many lists as one of the best beaches in Portugal, and is even regarded as one of the best in Europe. This small but picturesque cove is only accessible by a winding staircase of 200 steps. Descend downward to be greeted by golden sands, crashing waves and an intricate series of caves and rock formations.

It’s the surrounding rock face that makes Praia do Camilo so unique. Peer out at sea stacks and swim amongst the rocky shoreline to get a good view of Camilo. We recommend arriving early to find a good spot on the sand – it’s a small Algarve beach so it can fill up quick. It also has an excellent bar/restaurant at the top of the staircase called O Camilo, which is perfect for a light lunch or sunset cocktails.

Praia Do Camilo beach from above - Best Algarve beaches
Praia do Camilo rock formations and beach

Praia do Beliche

View on map | ARea: sAGRES

Praia do Beliche is the surfer’s paradise of the Algarve. As it’s located in the windy south-western-most region of Sagres, it has aggressive waves that are perfect for surfing. Active travellers flock to the beach in the summer months, creating some great people-watching opportunities and ‘chilled beach vibes’. The scenery is rugged and it is truly something amazing to look at.

Whether you’re a surfer or not, Praia do Beliche is a must-see during any trip to Sagres. We recommend seeing the fortress, lighthouse and this magnificent beach all in one afternoon. It doesn’t get too busy either!

Side of the cliff at Praia do Beliche
Surfer walking down a path by the beach - Best Algarve beaches

Praia da Marinha

View on map | Area: Carvoeiro

Praia da Marinha is widely regarded as one of the best Algarve beaches, though it’s not necessarily the most popular. Its slightly remote location means that you’ll need a car to access it, which is a bonus in our opinion. Beat the crowds and arrive early to have this scenic golden paradise to yourself. It’s home to tall, rugged cliffs, caves and a narrow golden-sand beach. A great way to see Praia da Marinha is by kayak. Rent one from neighbouring Benagil beach and tour the coastline visiting the beach and caves.

Top Algarve beaches - Drone shot of Praia da Marinha
Praia da Marinha sand and cliffs

Praia dos Três Irmãos

View on map | Area: Portimão

Continuing on with the trend of beaches with amazing golden cliffs and unique rock formations, Praia dos Três Irmãos is Portimaos answer to one of the best Algarve beaches. Turquoise water meets golden sands as tourists flock to this sunspot. There’s only a small strip of beach to relax on, but that’s all you need when the scenery is so mesmerising.

You can reach the beach by parking your car in the town of Prainha and walking the short trail down to the sand. It’s somewhat secluded, but the top reviews and popularity this beach gets ensures that you won’t be the only one exploring it. Aim to arrive early.

Rock formations by the beach
Image courtesy of Rogier Want Wiki CC

Praia da Rocha – Portimão

View on map | Area: Portimão

A stark contrast from the rest of the locations on our list of the best Algarve beaches, Praia da Rocha is highly developed and has a ton of amenities. It has a long boardwalk of bars and restaurants that are open from the early hours for breakfast, up until the early hours again for cocktails. The size of the beach is enormous!

Rows upon rows of sun loungers fill the sand and there’s plenty of space for volleyball, sand castles and all of the other things you like to do at the beach. We personally recommend checking out No Solo Agua beach club. It’s a place where you can chill out all day, tasting their delicious menu, swimming in the pool or heading out onto the beach for some water sports. Praia da Rocha is also a great beach to base yourself during your trip, with plenty of hotel options to choose from.

Praia da Rocha boardwalk with restaurants
Drone shot of Praia da Rocha beach - Best Algarve beaches

Meia Praia

View on map | Area: Lagos

Sometimes you want a beach with a stretch of long sand that’s perfect for relaxing in your own space and going for a swim. That’s exactly what Meia Praia is. It doesn’t have the epic natural cliffs of other Algarve beaches, but it has the relaxation and activities aspect perfected. Go for a long sunset walk all the way to Lagos beach, swim in the ocean or play some volleyball. It’s a great place for families!

Parts of Meia Praia have loungers and umbrellas that you can rent and other sections are long patches of empty white sands. You can either park your car right by the beach or walk there from Praia de São Roque by Lagos marina. This is a much quieter section of the same beach.

Woman walking across Meia Praia by the shore
Image courtesy of user: Muffinn Wiki CC

Praia dos Estudantes, Praia do Pinhão and Praia de Dona Ana

View on map | Area: Lagos

Not one option for the best Algarve beaches but three-in-one, this trio of golden-sand beaches is located right next to Lagos old town. We’ve included three in one suggestion as they’re right next to each other and all worth seeing for their unique land formations and cliffside scenery.

Start your beach adventure at Praia dos Estudantes, glancing at the sea caves and the notable Roman Bridge that connects the mainland with a sea stack. Next, walk via the shoreline to Praia do Pinhão. This similarly sized beach is less crowded due to its harder to reach location. It’s also full of cool sea caves. Finally, trek one beach further to Praia de Dona Ana. This is the larger of the three and is great for relaxing. It also has a bar.

Roman Bridge at Praia dos Estudantes
Secluded beach cove in Lagos
Shows Dona Ana beach in Lagos - Best Algarve beaches

Praia de Odeceixe

View on map | Area: Costa Vincentina

If you like the sound of a beach that has very little development and is simply miles of crashing waves and untouched sands, Praia de Odeceixe is the place to visit. It’s part of the Natural Park of Southwest Alentejo, which is a protected coastal region. This has resulted in a very raw beach with a beautiful town next to it. The scenery is stunning!

Drive up the Costa Vincentina coastline from Lagos and experience many more beaches just like this one. It’s a popular spot for surfers due to the intense waves and you can also find many wellness retreats here. Praia de Odeceixe takes ‘off the beaten track’ beaches to the next level and is well worth the drive to get there.

Empty beach at Odeceixe - Best Algarve beaches
Drone shot of Odeceixe town on the side of the cliff face

Praia da Amoreira

View on map | Area: Costa Vincentina

Another breath-taking beach on the Costa Vincentina coastline is Praia da Amoreira. A vast golden-sand beach is surrounded by green cliffs and waves crash at the shore from the Atlantic. Aljezur River runs right by the beach, creating a unique scene that you won’t find on many of the other options on our list. Life here is quiet, peaceful and it’s a great place to surf. A handful of surf schools are based here!

We recommend visiting the hilltop town of Aljezur for the day, with its impressive castle; and then driving the winding road to the coast. Praia da Amoreira is the perfect spot to spend your afternoon after a morning of sightseeing in Aljezur town.

Praia da Amoreira - Best Algarve beaches
Image courtesy of Geerd-Olaf Freyer – Flickr

Praia de Cacela Velha

View on map | Area: Vila Real de Santo António

Another secluded beach that you’ll love, is on the far side of the Algarve to Costa Vincentina. Located a short boat ride or drive from the quaint town of Tavira, Praia de Cacela Velha sits on a remote sand bar that’s separated from the mainland. Remains of an old fortress look out at untouched beaches and layered banks of white sands.

Praia de Cacela Velha is the ideal beach for a quiet walk in nature, where you can get lost with your own thoughts and enjoy the sound of the crashing waves on the shore. You can get there by crossing the sand from the mainland during low tide or parking your car at Praia da Manta Rota and walking. Bring along some snacks and drinks as there are no facilities nearby.

Praia da Cacelha Velha nature area

Praia da Falésia – Vilamoura

View on map | Area: Vilamoura

If you’re staying in Albufeira or Vilamoura, as many tourists do, you’re within a short drive of one of the best Algarve beaches. The long sands of Praia da Falésia stretch far across the coastline, providing plenty of space to relax and enjoy the sun. The towering cliff backdrop provides good shielding from the wind too!

Pick a secluded spot or find a location with good atmosphere and soak in the quiet life of Falesia. Some areas of the beach have sun loungers, whereas others are just stretches of empty sand. There is one thing they have in common: some pretty amazing scenery! You can see the entire coastal stretch from Vilamoura to Albufeira.

Shows a tall cliff facing out to Falesia beach - Best Algarve beaches

That rounds up our list of the best beach to visit in the Algarve. No matter which beach you choose, we’re confident that you’ll have a great day out. There’s so much variety with the Algarve’s coastline, so we recommend checking out a few different areas for unique experiences. If beaches are high up on your sightseeing agenda, we recommend staying in Lagos. It has the highest concentration of the best beaches and you won’t have to travel far. Surf, relax, unwind and enjoy some spectacular scenery! If you have your own favourite area to visit in the Algarve, let us know if the comments below. 😊

Check out our other Algarve travel guides:

Where to stay in the Algarve

The best places to visit in the Algarve

Our complete Lagos travel guide

Ricky

By Ricky MARSHALL

Author bio:

An adventurer at heart that loves anything outdoors. Beaches, mountains and amazing scenery is everything I love about travel! I also enjoy home comforts and need a nice place to relax and re-charge after every trip.

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