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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
We 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).
Almádena Accessible by trail only. Details to follow.
Batata 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.
Burgau 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.
Dona Ana 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 This 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.
Prainha 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.
MEIA PRAIA 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.
Alvor 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.

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Last Update: 29/01/2012 - Beaches in / nearby Praia da Luz, Algarve, Portugal -  © www.luzholiday.com 2004 - 2012