How do you pick the best beaches in Algarve Portugal when there are over 100 beaches to pick from ? We did a lot of research and got great suggestions from our Airbnb host. Here I present my favorite list of best beaches in Algarve Portugal. Especially after being spoilt by the secluded beaches of Alentejo coastline, coming up with this list wasn’t the easiest task.
Best beaches in Algarve Portugal
Warm Atlantic beauty, whitewashed fishing villages, and the dramatic rock formations are some of the reasons that has the crowd flocking to Algarve beaches. My list is actually a continuation of the Alentejo beaches if you are following us along on our road trip to Portugal with our 5-month old infant.
Praia de Odeceixe:
A surfers haven, Praia de Odeceixe should be on your driving routes in Algarve. There are few houses, shops, restaurants on the cliff side to cater to the tourists needs. Besides that, the coastline is wide open and one of the top family friendly beaches in Algarve Portugal. Located on the western Algarve, there is a huge warm water river that meets the cold ocean. The river is shallow and due to the fact the river water is warmer than the ocean water, it’s a great beach families with small children.
Don’t take the current for granted even at the river side.
How to get here:
Best option is to rent a car in Faro,Lagos or Lisbon. This beach is one of the places to drive to in algarve because it’s at least an hour away from Lagos town. If you have a car and interested scenic drives in algarve, check out the map at the end of this article that will guide you through the scenic route.
Praia da Arrifana
This surfers beach is located near the Alentejano National Park. Drive through it’s a winding roads to reach the small parking area with access to surfing school, a few cafes & restaurants. Find your spot at the cliff nearby to enjoy a sunset with your camera. Or go with your family for a swim in the relatively calm water (at least when we visited). You won’t be disappointed.
How to get here:
Driving with your own car is probably the best way to reach there.
Although not highlighting this place for the beaches, it’s a must stop-over especially if you are driving along the coastlines of algarve Portugal.
Rocky headland with a lighthouse aka far-southwestern edge of mainland Europe, the light house at Sagres is where the sun appears unusually large as it descends over the seemingly endless sea.
Dig a little deeper, the history of this place will take you back to the New world explorations of 14th century.
Praia do Zavial
Praia Dona Ana
As we wrap up the western Algarve and head to south, check out Praia Dona Ana a popular beach in Lagos, a town known for numerous hotel and apartments. During the peak summer season, parking can be hard to find. This stairs led beach access will take you right to the sandy section.
Praia dos Três Irmãos
The rock formations here looking like three brother (Três Irmãos means three brothers) is the highlight of the beach. Again, another popular one in the area. When we visited, the tides were low making it a shallow beach ideal for families with small children.
Another clean, sandy beach ideal for families with board walk access. Are you into walking / hiking ? Then just hit the coastal trails in any direction and you will not regret wandering away a full day doing nothing other than being mesmerized.
Praia de Paraiso
A small beach that would not otherwise be discovered if you don’t walk around. Steep stairs to get down to the beach and walk up to get back. The beach is relatively rocky, making it fun for kids to explore the rocks. Can be slippery, watch out. One of the best beaches in Carvoeiro town. Must visit in my opinion, even if its for just a few hours.
Praia de Carvoeiro
Carvoeiro beach was a bit crowded when we visited in April 2018. It may have been due to the weekend. There were people playing beach volleyball, that might have been another reason for the crowd, to watch the games. Either way, its a great beach if you want to take a soak and then head to one of the many restaurants for a great meal.
Praia de Benagil
Benaglil beach…drum rolls!! This is probably the most popular in the area due to its proximity to Benagil cave that is accessed by boat. If you are on a budget and are not keen on a boat trip, the cave view is still stunning from the cliffs where you can walk/hike along. Most popular way to approach this cave is by boat to see from bottom up. But, with a 5-month old infant a boat ride was the last thing in my mind. So, we walked along the cliff to see it from the top.
Praia da Marinha
With dramatic rock formations along the coast line in Algarve district, this beach is a must visit. If you see a pathway or stairs to get up close to these rocks, don’t hesitate. Just go deeper and closer to have a nice look. Who knows how long they will survive. Another way to visit this beach is to walk along the cliff for as long as you want and as far as you want.
This wraps up my pick for top 10 best beaches in Algarve Portugal. Does it mean these are the only 10 best ? Of course not, if I ever get to visit Algarve region again, I might easily come up with another completely different list of 10 best.
Where to stay in algarve ?
If you are following my itinerary, then make Lagos your home to explore the natural beauty of the region. Here are the reasons why I like Lagos:
- Affordability & availability for budget travelers. We rented Airbnb.
- Great for families visiting algarve with access to hospital, grocery, theme parks and water sports.
- Car rental is possible if you got here by bus.
- And there are terrific beaches so close to the town.
- Great options for eating out.
Here is the Airbnb where we stayed at Lagos.
How many days are needed in Algarve
I guess thats a very subjective one. You can spend a month if you have that much time. But, I hear you, to get the most of it, I would recommend 3-4 days. We spent 4 days.
Things to do in Algarve:
Other than beaches, swimming, surfing and hiking along the cliff, here are some of the other things to do in Algarve.
- Wine tasting
- Kite surfing
- ATV rentals
- Bike rentals
- Kayaking / canoeing
- Scuba diving
The list goes on….but you get the point.
To summarize, peak season in Algarve can be pretty crazy. Consider Alentejo coast if you are looking to get away from the crowd.
How to get to Algarve?
Here are your options:
- Bus from Lisbon. Google Rede Expresso, Eva or Renex buses
- Train from Lisbon. This is part of Eurorail. Checkout the itinerary and schedules here.
- Fly from Lisbon or other major european cities to Faro.
- Or drive. This is the one we did. We rented a car in Lisbon that we used to drive through the entire country.
Map of Algarve beaches that I recommended in this article.
California’s dramatic coastline
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