Top 10 Most Beautiful Beaches in Algarve, Portugal 2023
The beaches of the Algarve are the most powerful attraction of this region in the south of Portugal. From extensive beaches of floury and almost white sand sheltered by beautiful doubts to small coves sheltered by cliffs of reddish tones, we would not be daring if we tell you that some of them would top the lists of the best beaches in Europe.
There are more than 100 beaches in the Algarve, so you are expected to have a hard time choosing. In this article, we will talk about the most beautiful and impressive ones. To orient yourself a little better, you should know that, geographically speaking, two areas can be identified on the Algarve coast.
On the one hand, the Sotavento is the easternmost part of the Algarve. It goes more or less from the border with Spain to the amount of Quarteira. They are usually long, flat beaches with clear sand. The best known are those that belong to the Ria Formosa Natural Park, made up of peninsulas and islands where you can find some of the best beaches in the Algarve adorned by beautiful dune cords.
On the other, the Barlavento goes from Quarteira to the part of Lagos. These Algarve beaches stand out for their ocher cliffs, rock formations, and golden sand. Undoubtedly, they are very picturesque and unique beaches, which is why they are the ones that come to the mind of any traveller when they imagine enjoying the south of Portugal. They are, therefore, also the most visited and, in July and August, the most crowded.
Finally, in the Southwest Alentejo Natural Park, you will see long wild beaches that tend to be more windswept and are, therefore, the favourites of sports lovers such as surfing, kitesurfing or windsurfing. These beaches tend to be less crowded.
Based on this route through the Algarve in 7 days, we will tell you which are the ten most beautiful beaches in the Algarve. Of course, we could have included many more, but we hope this selection will serve as a starting point. If you plan your tour of this region, you should take advantage of our favourite places to see in the Algarve and tips for travelling there. Let’s start!
1. Praia da Marinha in Lagoa
We begin our tour of the best beaches in the Algarve with the best known. The reason? Thanks to its beauty, it has been awarded several prizes, including one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe by the Michelin Guide and one of the 100 best beaches in the world by CNN. When you arrive, you will quickly understand why.
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Praia da Marinha stands out for its imposing orange cliffs, and when you lean out from the different viewpoints, you will discover a beautiful strip of golden sand bathed by turquoise waters dotted with rocks. From the above, you will also understand why it is one of the best places to snorkel in this part of Portugal.
Da Marinha belongs to the municipality of Lagoa and is located between Armação de Pêra and Carvoeiro, one of the most beautiful villages in the Algarve.
The best way to access it is by car very early in the morning, since it has a large car park, but it tends to fill up early in the summer months. You will have to walk from the car park to the left, where you will find the path down and a small beach bar. The latter sells drinks and some simple dishes, but the prices are high for the quality it offers.
It is best to visit this Algarve beach at low tide, as it is much more comprehensive. In addition, this way, you can walk towards the M-shaped rock that makes it so unique and admired by bathers. If it coincides with the high tide, don’t worry, you can enjoy this rock formation if you walk (with caution) along the side of the cliffs. From here, you also get a nice picture of the beach.
How to get to Praia da Marinha? As we mentioned, the best is by rental car. If you don’t have one, one or two buses leave from Lagoa on weekends, or you can organize a taxi, but keep in mind that it can be around €40 each way. Another alternative is to arrive on foot.
The so-called Percurso dos Sete Vales Suspensos begins on this beach, which goes to Praia do Vale de Centeanes. The round trip lasts between 3.5 and 4 hours, but if you want to stop at the different Algarve beaches along the path, we recommend that you dedicate the whole day and go well prepared with shoes, sunscreen, food and water.
Finally, we recommend that you also enjoy one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve from the sea. The panorama is different, and thanks to the walk, you can contemplate other parts of the Algarve coast that will leave you breathless. To do this, it is best to book one of these excursions:
2. Praia de Benagil and its caves
Although it is neither the widest nor the most impressive, we could not fail to include Praia de Benagil among the best beaches in the Algarve. Its neighbouring caves, only accessible by sea and with a significant oculus on the roof through which the sun’s rays penetrate, make it a must on any visit to southern Portugal.
Benagil’s is a small beach, which is protected by a massive rock wall like almost all of those in this part of the Algarve. It is, therefore, perfect for times with a lot of wind since it is usual for it to be sheltered. The widest part is the one that is located on the left-hand side when entering, while the correct amount is reserved for the entrance of boats, kayaks and paddle boards that go to explore the caves and the surrounding beaches.
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How to visit the Benagil caves? You have several alternatives:
- Swimming: if you are a good swimmer and the state of the sea allows it, you can enter from Praia de Benagil, and in about 5 minutes, you will be inside the cave. Please also be very careful with the many boats that pass through the area.
- By kayak or paddle board: it is the most adventurous option. With it, you can also explore two other beautiful beaches in the Algarve, Praia da Corredoura and Praia do Carvalho. Book your kayak tour from Benagil. Book a sunrise or sunset excursion if you want to do it more intimately.
- By boat or launch: they leave from various points in the Algarve and take you to discover other coast corners. The most interesting is this boat trip from Carvoeiro, this one from Lagos or this one from Albufeira.
At Praia de Benagil, you will find all kinds of services: lifeguards and bathrooms. Also, there is a small beach bar where you can get drinks and snacks. Keep in mind that prices are high in a very touristy place. We recommend you visit this Algarve beach early. Otherwise, you will have to park your car a long way from the beach, as there is little parking.
3. Praia da Falésia, one of the best beaches in the Algarve
Another of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve is the spectacular Praia da Falésia. The latter is the Portuguese term used for “cliff”, so you won’t be surprised to learn that what makes it so unique is a massive rock wall in which reddish, orange and yellow colours alternate.
In addition, Falésia is one of the longest and widest beaches in the Algarve. With a length of 5 kilometres, you will not have space to lie down quietly on your towel or rent one of the sun loungers with an umbrella in different sections. Even in the summer months, it’s hard to see it crowded, so it should be your choice if you don’t like sitting too close to other travellers.
Praia da Falésia receives different names depending on the entrance: Praia da Rocha Baixinha, Praia dos Tomates, Praia do Poço Velho… From our perspective, the most impressive part is the one with the name Falésia itself (you can see it marked on the map with the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve at the end of this article). Still, the areas of dos Tomates or Rocha Baixinha are more comfortable to park in. In addition, here you will also find several restaurants.
You should take the opportunity to walk along the highest part of the cliffs. It may be one of the most beautiful landscapes in the entire Algarve, and it is also an ideal spot to enjoy the sunset.
4. Praia do Barril in Pedras de El-Rei
Some of the best beaches in the Algarve are located on the Ria Formosa Natural Park islands. It was difficult for us to choose between them, but due to its peculiarity and easy access, we decided on the impeccable Praia do Barril.
It is located on Ilha de Tavira, one of the most beautiful places to see in Portugal, although it is accessible from a small town called Pedras de El-Rei. Once you leave the car, you will have to walk for about 15 minutes or, if you don’t feel like moving, take the scenic little train that takes you almost to the beach entrance.
Each journey costs €1.80. Take the opportunity to observe the ecosystem of marshes, where fiddler crabs live and many birds, such as herons or storks.
Arriving at Praia do Barril; you will find its famous anchor cemetery. This photogenic place is a tribute to all the fishermen who died from tuna fishing. In this area, you will also see several restaurants, bars and sun lounger rentals, in case you spend a full day at the beach without worrying about a thing.
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La do Barril is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve thanks to its extension, its fine white sand and its waters, which are usually calm. It would help if you remembered that it is also one of the best known so that you will find many bathers like you in the summer months. If you like tranquillity, you don’t have to worry, and you have to walk a little. To the left, you have Praia da Terra Estreita and to the right, that of Homem Nu. Keep in mind that nudism can be practised in them.
Since you’re here, why don’t you dare to get to know this natural space better? It is best to do it by boat with a guide who will tell you about the peculiarities and importance of the Ria Formosa. Book this ecological boat trip with a Spanish-speaking guide from Faro, this sunset catamaran trip or this boat trip from Tavira.
5. Praia do Camilo in Lagos
That Lagos has some of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve is no secret. The two Estudantes, the Dona Ana or the Canavial, are lovely, and we encourage you to include them on your to-do list, but if we had to choose one, that would be Praia do Camilo.
Located close to the Ponta da Piedade, contemplating this Algarve beach from above is already quite a spectacle since a massive cliff of golden rock embraces it.
It would help if you went down a wooden staircase of almost 200 steps to reach its blonde sand. The reward is a strip of sand practically embraced by stones and bathed by turquoise waters. Given its orientation, it is a beach that receives little wind and usually has little swell.
One thing to note about this Algarve beach is that it is small and even more so at high tide. Therefore, it can become overcrowded at the peak of summer.
In addition, afternoon, it begins to give shade to the sand. We advise you to visit it in the early hours of the day when there are fewer people, and it receives more sun. If hunger strikes, the restaurant at the bottom of the stairs, Restaurant Camilo, is very famous among the Portuguese thanks to its fresh seafood and fish.
Take the opportunity to get to know the Ponta da Piedade in depth with this boat trip, this kayak tour or this sunset boat trip. We promise you will remember it.
6. Praia João de Arens in Alvor
If we had to choose one of the Algarve beaches, this would be João de Arens. Baptized with the name of a local shepherd, this almost secluded beach will win you over as soon as you see it.
It is a cove sheltered by golden-coloured rock cliffs and bathed by crystalline waters.
Upon arrival, you will find the largest sandy area, but by going through a tunnel, you will find a small beach where you can find several natural arches and snorkelling areas.
João de Arens is a virgin beach without any service, so you must be prepared to spend the day. Also, as the sign you will see at the entrance indicates, you must consider it a nudist beach.
How to get to Praia de João de Arens? You will have to park in a designated dirt parking lot (we have marked it on the map at the end of this article) and walk about 5 minutes to the left to where the path ends. Once here, you will quickly identify the descent. Remember that, although it is not complicated, proper footwear is recommended and descend cautiously.
7. Praia do Beliche in Sagres is another of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve.
We are going to the Sagres area to continue recommending essential beaches in the Algarve. One that we fall in love with for its breadth and landscape is Praia do Beliche.
Surrounded by majestic cliffs up to 40 meters high, La do Beliche has a substantial golden sandbank in which its family atmosphere stands out.
Although you will have to go down about 100 steps, it is an easily accessible beach in the Algarve, as it has a large car park where it is common to have space even in the busiest months. In addition to several restaurants in its surroundings, there is also a beach bar on the beach itself and an area with sun loungers and parasols.
The beaches of Sagres are usually very windy, but Praia do Beliche tends to receive fewer wind thanks to its rock walls. Specifically, the cliffs block those coming from the north and east. Even so, be careful when swimming since it is normal to find waves or currents.
If the conditions are good, take the opportunity to take a surf lesson at one of the nearby schools. The most adventurous will enjoy contemplating it from the heights in a paragliding flight.
Due to its size and location, this rarely is one of the most crowded beaches in the Algarve, even in July or August. If you want more privacy, you can walk to the westernmost area. Although there is no official regulation, it is customary to see bathers practising nudism on this part of the beach.
8. Praia da Albandeira in Lagoa
We return to the Benagil – Armaçao de Pêra – Albufeira area to recommend one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve: Praia da Albandeira. Although small (barely 80 meters long), it is a charming golden sand beach sheltered by yellow rock walls and with relatively calm waters. The beach is divided into two parts and, in the area that separates both, you can enjoy natural pools when the tide is high.
These are two recommendations since next to it is the Praia da Estanquinha, from which you can enjoy the imposing Arco da Albandeira. To get there, you can do it through a tunnel from Praia da Albandeira or by swimming.
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Since both beaches are pretty small, you should try to visit them at low tide. It is also when you can cross the tunnel towards Estanquinha.
On this Algarve beach, you will find a small bar, O Pirata, where they serve pizzas, salads, coffee and drinks. In addition, it has a small free parking lot. Finally, if you want to discover this and other beaches in the Algarve differently, we recommend you hire this kayak tour from Armação de Pera.
9. Praia do Martinhal in Sagres
In addition to Praia do Beliche, in the part of Sagres, we want to highlight Praia do Martinhal. Sometimes, the beaches of the Algarve have little to envy the Caribbean or Asian ones, and Martinhal is an excellent example of this. With fine white sand, the clarity of its waters will surprise you the most, perhaps the most transparent in the area.
Before going to enjoy it, we recommend you take a look at the wind forecasts. It is a very exposed beach, so it is best to visit it when the wind is calm. Otherwise, it is one of the favourites for lovers of windsurfing and kitesurfing.
To get to Praia do Martinhal, you will have to enter urbanization, where you will also see some resorts; however, access is free, and there are ample parking lots. In addition, you will find a couple of perfect beach bars to enjoy a Sagres while you watch the sunset. The best known is the Nortada.
10. Praia dos Três Irmãos in Alvor
We end our selection of the best beaches in the Algarve with the beautiful Praia dos Três Irmãos or “of the Three Brothers”. It receives its name from the three characteristic rocks in the sea and the sand, the three brothers. The beach has four small coves or bays separated by different tunnels that can be easily crossed at low tide. Going through them all will give you multiple photo opportunities.
Like others in this part of the Algarve, this beach stands out for its cliffs and other rock formations that give you shade. Although, as always, try not to put the towel near the walls, as it can cause landslides.
If you are in the Alvor or Portimão area, you cannot miss it because it is also easily accessible. We advise you to do it first thing in the morning, when there are fewer bathers or if the tide is low.