The Algarve truely has it all – beautiful weather, friendly locals and some of the best food in the world. In fact, the food alone makes the Algarve a holiday destination that is hard to beat. From seafood such as fish, shellfish, squid and octopus to local specialities like black pork and chicken piri piri you definitely won’t go hungry. And, if you happen to have a little space after dinner, their internationally famous pasteis de natas are not to be missed.
But whether you’re looking for delicious food, an adventure off the beaten track or days of endless sunshine, the one thing you won’t want to miss is the exquisite array of beaches that the Algarve has to offer. The beaches in the Algarve have something for everyone and there are so many to choose from. We’ve narrowed it down to our top ten, have a look through and see if your favourites have made the list!
1. Praia da Marinha Central Algarve
Voted as one of the top beaches in Europe, Praia da Marinha is a beach in the Algarve that is not to be missed. As with many of the beaches in the Algarve, Praia de Marinha can only be reached via a steep wooden steps. It’s the best spot in the area for snorkelling and you can catch a boat to visit the nearby sea caves. The beach is a bit off the beaten track but don’t let that put you off, and if you want to find a parking spot in summer, best you get there early as it gets really busy.
If you’re thinking of visiting the famous Benagil Cave, why not make a day of it and visit Praia de Marinha too. The whole coastline in this area boats stunning rock formations, hidden grottos and caves just waiting to be explored. Don’t miss the tunnel under the rocks that connects Marinha beach to the nearby Praia de Mesquita.
2. Praia de Odeceixe Western Algarve
Located in the north-west of the Algarve, bordering the Alentejo, Praia de Odeceixe is a spectacular beach and was voted one of the Seven Wonders in Portugal’s 2012 Beach Competition. The Seixe river runs along one side of the beach, and the sea along the other side, while in the cliffs above you’ll find nesting white storks.
This beautiful blue flag beach offers something for everyone. Families tend to migrate towards the river side of the beach while surfers head for the rough open seas.
3. Praia da Dona Ana Lagos
Picturesque Praia de Dona Ana is a beautiful beach in the Algarve close to Lagos. Famous for its clear waters and steep colourful cliffs, the beach is one of the most photographed in the Algarve. It’s well protected from the wind and therefore a favourite with locals and tourists. The beach is not the easiest to reach, accessible only by a steep wooden steps, but it’s more than worth the effort.
4. Praia do Martinhal Western Algarve
For outdoor enthusiasts and thrill seekers, Praia do Martinhal is the place to be as it’s one of the Algarve’s best spots for surfing, bodyboarding and windsurfing. The blue flag beach boasts fine white sand and stretches for almost half a mile. This is an excellent choice if you want to get away from the crowds as even in the height of summer the beach never gets too busy.
5. Praia da Falesia Albufeira
Praia da Falesia is one of the longest, most beautiful beaches in the Algarve and is easily accessible, located between the towns of Vilamoura and Albufeira. It’s almost four miles long so even on a busy day it’s still possible to find a quiet spot and whichever direction you look in, you’ll find beauty on this golden beach. Surrounded by colourful cliffs, and beautiful waters its unsurprisingly a popular spot to watch the sunset. There is also an excellent selection of bars and restaurants.
6. Praia dos Três Irmãos, Alvor
If you’re travelling with your family Praia dos Três Irmãos is not to be missed the beach stretches for 1 km and its one of our favourites. Aptly named the beach of the three brothers, the beach gets its name from the three large rocks on the beach. Close to Portimão, the beach has a number of caves that are safe to explore and are very popular with children making it a fun day out for the whole family.A boardwalk runs along the western end of the beach and is ideal for a walk with the childs buggy.
7. Praia do Camilo Lagos
If you’re looking for a hidden gem, tiny Praia do Camilo might the beach you’ve been looking for. Location-wise It’s close to Praia Dona Ana, but it’s about as different as it is possible to get. It’s much, much smaller and far quieter. This little slice of heaven can only be accessed via steep stepps and is divided into two separate areas that are connected by a short tunnel carved into the rock. If you’re travelling with children, they will love the opportunity to explore the tunnel while you relax and enjoy the stunningly scenic setting.
8. Praia da Rocha, Portimão
This is possibly the busiest of the Algarve beaches and is very popular with tourists in summer and, in terms of sunbathing and swimming, is probably the best. It’s easily accessible and because it is close to Portimão, it has some of the best facilities around.
9. Praia de Quarteira , Loulé
If you want to experience the Algarve like a local, visit Praia de Quarteira located in the old fishing village of Loulé. Popular with Portuguese tourists, the beach is easily accessible with good restaurants, bars and facilities – everything that you need for a great day out at the beach. And if you stay after sunset the road that runs along the beach comes alive with food stands and street performers.
10. Praia do Barril, Tavira
Barril Beach is one of the most popular situated on the island of Tavira. The sand is soft and white and clean, while the surrounding water is a deep blue. The water here tends to be warmer than the western part of the Algarve and is most popular with families. It can get quite busy in summer, but the beach is big, stretching for miles either way, and there is plenty of space if you’re willing to walk a little.