Best beaches in the Algarve
The Algarve is blessed with beautiful, sun-kissed beaches. We've put together a list of our favourite beaches to help you discover the best this region has to other.
Faro 'ilhas' - Island beaches - Ilha da Barreta, Ilha Deserta and Ilha da Culatra
Ilha Deserta is an uninhabited ilha with just one very popular restaurant on it, Restaurante O Estaminé, offering traditional flavours from the Atlantic and Ria Formosa, if you want to lunch here we would suggest you book a table before or as soon as you arrive on the ilha. The beach on the seaward side is a beautiful sandy bay, just a couple of minutes walk from the quay. There is a small area of sunbeds for hire, and the beach is supervised during the 'beach season'. The ferry to Ilha Deserta runs daily throughout the summer. The trip takes about 30 to 35 minutes and is a very enjoyable journey through the Ria Formosa nature reserve. The cost of a return ticket is around 7€.
Ilha da Culatra is the next ilha to the east and the lighthouse at Farol is easily spotted, the ferry from Faro runs to Farol. It's a lovely seaside community of mostly single storey houses, with oleanders lining the sandy pathways and bougainvilleas climbing over the verandas. The beach on the seaward side is another beautiful sandy bay. The ferry to Farol runs more often than to Ilha Deserta and there are also several places on Farol offering 24 hour water taxi services. The trip takes the 30 to 35 minutes and the return ticket costs around 5€.
Praia de Vale do Lobo is quite a narrow, but relatively long, sandy beach backed by sandstone cliffs. There is car parking just behind the beach and restaurants and bathroom facilities as well as sunloungers to hire. There are various water sports available like pedaloes and wave runners. Praia do Garrão is an extension of the beach at Vale do Lobo, but here the beach is backed by sand dunes rather than cliffs. There is parking near the beach, places for refreshments and sunbeds for hire.
Praia de Vale do Lobo is supervised during the 'beach season' and it is important for the protection of the sand dunes to keep to the wooden walkways.
Closest to Lagos
Meia Praia – Avoid the Crowds
Meia Praia has become the most famous of the Lagos beaches in the Algarve and has a Blue Flag award to confirm its excellence. Its sheer size, wonderfully clean sand, lovely beach bars and proximity to the town make Meia Praia a perfect choice for relaxing into the beach life.
At its closest point to Lagos town centre, you can access the beach from behind the marina, down past the railway station. It takes no more than 10 minutes to walk there from the edge of town. There is plenty of parking behind the beach and as you get to this point you’ll instantly see three of Meia Praia’s beach bars. There are sun beds with palm shades to hire (cost around €5 for the day). Meia Praia is supervised during the 'beach season'.
Praia do Pinhao – Secluded Sandy Coves
Pinhao is a sandy cove tucked between cliffs with some interesting rock formations (a good place for snorkeling) and offers some shelter, unlike the open Meia Praia. When you see the old fire truck there is a small road, almost like a ramp, with a sign at the top pointing you to the beach. There are some great views over Lagos and across the bay to Meia Praia and Alvor from the cliff tops, before you have to negotiate the steps down to the beach.
Praia do Camilo – Breathtaking Views
Praia do Camilo is simply beautiful. The view over the beach from the top is breathtaking and if you can make it down all the steps you will not be disappointed. The new steps have made Praia do Camilo accessible. Picturesque cliffs embrace the little beach and the rock formations are magnificent. For those however who appreciate a more relaxing day, staying at the top of the steps can be just as fulfilling! There is a lovely restaurant, which is very popular with locals.
Praia de Porto de Mos – Popular with the Locals
Praia do Porto de Mós is a beautiful and easily accessible flat beach, with car parking just behind and a couple of restaurants at the entrance. The sand is soft and clean and it’s very safe for children to play. Porto de Mós is supervised during the 'beach season'.
Praia do Beliche, Sagres – Unspoilt Algarve Beauty
Praia do Beliche is a magnificent bay of soft golden sand, with huge towering cliffs behind and lies between Sagres point and Cape St Vincent. Praia do Beliche is unspoilt and calm, even when the winds get up.
You won’t find any amenities on Praia de Beliche; therefore pack a picnic to take with you or go for lunch at one of restaurants on the road above the beach or in the town. Disabled access is not really possible unfortunately, as the only way to get on to the beach is down a long set of steps down from the car park.
Praia do Amado, West Coast – Surfer’s Paradise
Often proclaimed to be the most popular beach along the west coast, it is certainly the surfers’ favourite and home to several surf championships. Praia do Amado is one of the best places to surf in the Algarve, because the offshore wind makes really good waves, especially pipe waves. With a beautiful backdrop of red cliffs and rolling green hills, the beach itself is big and perfect for sunbathing and it is one of the best places to watch the sunset.
There’s a restaurant and a snack bar, parking at the top of the cliffs, but in summer you may struggle to get close because there are always a lot of camper vans, belonging to the committed surf following. For people with limited mobility access is possible as long you go down to the bottom by car where it is a gentle slope onto the beach. The beach is supervised during the season.