About Algarve Beaches
| Even though the the Algarve is only some 90 miles long and 30 miles at the widest point, there are still more than
100 miles of beaches. About 150 of them have names,
thirty of which are European Union 'Blue Flag' beaches which I guess
makes them the 'real' beaches. They are among the
best and cleanest in Europe with most of the main beaches
(indicated) having Lifeguards on safety patrol at least during the peak season.
I've listed just some below, which I'll add to, as I discover, visit (the ones
with more detail and possibly my photographs) or just brief notes if I am told
about them or have found them elsewhere on the web.
Some of the better beaches are not directly or easily accessible from the
coastal towns (in fact at the south western tip around Sagres, they can
be some distance along along precarious dirt roads), These are the ones
that can be more 'natural' and picturesque and are worth the effort to 'track
down'. There is plenty of choice when it comes to Algarve beaches, in fact just about guaranteed to please
everyone. On the west coast (from Odeceixe to Ponta da
Sagres) there are more varied beaches. Being open to the Atlantic
Ocean they normally present significantly different conditions to those found
along the southern coastline. This stretch is quite rugged with impressive
cliffs formations separating the beaches. The winds, which can be intense and
very cold at times, give rise to large sand dunes on the longer stretches of
beach. The sea is usually quite choppy with big waves (perfect for surfers)
but are often combined with a dangerous fast undercurrent. Be warned.
However if you are there for the scenery it can't be beaten.
The southern coast (from Ponta da Sagres all the way to
Vila Real de Santa Antonio) has more smaller secluded beaches
(usually in coves) and are more subject to seasonal weather conditions at the
south-western end. They gradually become more open and
extensive as you move south-east. As it is only a couple of hours drive (by
the smart motorway) from one end of the coast to the other you can experience
changing scenery, and even sea conditions within
a relatively short driving distance.
Some of the main / larger beaches use the safety flag system - Red Flag - Bathing forbidden, Yellow
Flag - Bathing with caution, Green Flag - Safe to
swim. A chequered flag (usually blue and white) indicates the lifeguard
is temporarily away from the beach. The flag system does not operate on all beaches and usually only between
June 1st and September 30th. Take care when there is a strong wind and there are usually strong
undercurrents where there are big waves (this is especially so on the West Coast beaches).
Many of the beaches, in or near to the holiday resorts, offer most water sports facilities as well as bars, restaurant food and snacks.
Just follow any signs that indicate “Praia” (which means “beach” in Portuguese) and I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed.
Just a few of the beaches in or near to Praia da Luz|
are developing this section at present, more details to follow.|
|Cabanas / Velhas
||Remote but accessible by road / track from Burgau. It has
a very good beach bar / restaurant, but that's all! An old stone quayside where quarried stone used to be shipped out and the workers cottages on the hill are a feature. Definitely a hidden gem.
Not sure for how much longer as there is now a minibus service to / from
several nearby hotel complexes and also some extensive building going on at the head
of the valley (09/06).|
||Accessible by trail only. Details to follow. |
||The closest beach to the centre of Lagos, by the little
fort at the entrance to the harbour. A few steps down to the sand.|
||A typical fishing port looking out on the sea. Peaceful and very family oriented, but starting to get really busy these days in the high season. Tourist facilities. The beach virtually disappears at high tide and is surrounded by cliffs. It is reached by a steep cobbled street and although there are
limited parking facilities at the foot of the slope it is advisable to leave your car at the top
of the town and walk down. Good for snorkelling and scuba-diving.|
||The most popular beach in the vicinity of Lagos, but it
involves steep steps near the Golfinho hotel. It is backed and flanked north
and south by cliffs. Because it faces east, the sand here is nicely
sheltered from the westerly winds. There are other small beaches off the
road between Dona Ana and Ponta Piedade.|
|PRAIA DA LUZ
beautiful sandy beach is overlooked by the bars and restaurants of the village itself.
Not to mention the spectacular 'Rocha Negra' (Black Rock) see the
photograph. It has a good water sports facilities - snorkelling, windsurfing and sailing school, paddleboats and some boat trips. It is a safe beach, ideal for children.
See our other pages for more detailed information on Luz and what it offers.|
| Ponta da Piedade
||If it's interesting landscapes you're after, visit , near Lagos
(2kms), where the rocks have been sculpted into weird shapes by the sea's action. There are lots of small cove beaches to choose from. |
| Port de Mos
||In a small bay between Luz and Lagos, flanked by cliffs, which usually gives shelter and shade on one side or the other. There is a large car parking area and easy access to the beach.|
|Praia do Vau
||You will find this good-sized beach at the far western end of Praia da Rocha’s seafront road. There is easy access from a car parking area. Cliffs giving afternoon shade at the far end.|
||This small beach takes its name from the cliff top holiday complex, which provides a lift up and down between July 15 and Sept. 15. There is a charge for non-residents. Otherwise, there are steps.|
||Being the biggest of the Lagos beaches, it forms half of the walk from Alvor to Lagos
(the other half is the entry below). It
takes its name from being part of this walk as “Meia” indicates the word
“half”. The approach to this beach is from the town of Lagos and it is easily
accessed. This beach is popular with windsurfers and surfers alike as it faces
the open Bay of Lagos and also protected to the west by the promontory of Ponta da Piedade. The beach is possibly a little longer than that of the Alvor
and there are many small beach bars to satisfy the thirst for those who wish to walk its length.
Warning: Not a lot of shade here.|
||The massive beach in front of the village of Alvor fringes the eastern half of
Lagos Bay. You can walk straight on to it. There are sand dunes but no cliffs.
It is a wide open beach, popular among windsurfers, and good for other water
sports as well. It stretches just over two kilometres from the village to the west in
the direction of Lagos. This beach acts as a sand bar creating an interior
lagoon which acts as a form of port for Alvor. Once upon a time you could
walk, at low tide, by beach all the way to Lagos by wading across a small
sea, the then shallow outlet from the lagoon.|