Portugal has always been on the top of people’s must-visit list and it’s easy to see why. Lisbon and Porto are vibrant city breaks, but the southern Algarve region boasts over 100 beaches making it the ideal coastal destination if you want some sun, sea and sand.
Not only that, Algarve’s beaches have been voted some of the best in Europe and even the world. Whether you’re traveling with the family, soaking up Algarve with friends or planning a romantic getaway, there’s a beach for all types of holidays.
When the southern coast runs for about 155 km, it can become hard to decide which beach to set your sights on. That’s why we’ve sifted through some of the most stunning beaches and narrowed down which ones are worth visiting on your next Algarve adventure.
Our top Algarve beaches
Praia da Marinha is one of the most picturesque and popular beaches in Portugal located in the Lagoa municipality. Often cited as one of the best beaches in Europe and within the top 100 in the world, it’s easy to see why this beach gets its praises sung. Soft sand and calm waters make this the perfect spot to relax, while the steep limestone cliffs and stunning rock formations and arches make for a dramatic backdrop. If you enjoy hiking (you’ll have to deal with steep steps to get down to this beach) or if you love snorkeling, then Praia da Marinha is worth a visit.
Perfect for: Hikers and if you enjoy swimming and snorkeling.
Praia da Falesia is characterized by its towering red-orange cliffs with pine trees at the top. Considered one of Portugal’s most beautiful beaches, the sand is soft and the water is invitingly warm making it perfect for swimming. The beach is exceptionally clean, earning it Blue Flag status. Praia da Falesia stretches for about 6km but is actually split into two parts. In the west near Olhos de Água is where you’ll find the famous cliffs. It’s also close to popular hotels. Meanwhile on the east near Vilamoura, the beach widens and the waters become shallow. This is where water sports like paragliding and diving take place.
This beach is known for being close to excellent nightlife spots, making it popular with groups of friends and party-goers. Take in a spectacular sunset before starting a fun-filled night with bars, casinos and restaurants in nearby Vilamoura and Albufeira.
Perfect for: Party-goers and groups of friends.
Praia Dona Ana includes everything you need for a perfectly relaxing beach day. Unwind on soft, golden sand surrounded by towering cliffs, wade into glistening turquoise blue waters and make use of the facilities like beach restaurants, shops and showers. The ambiance is more relaxing and soothing so you won’t find lots of water sport activities like jet skiing and surfing. Families will love this beach situated in Lagos because of the way the Ponta da Piedade shelters the beach from the Atlantic Ocean waves, making it ideal for children to enjoy this stunning beach.
Perfect for: Families and photography enthusiasts that love natural landscapes.
Praia de Tavira is the closest beach to the town of Tavira but is only accessible by ferry as it’s situated on the seaward side of Ilha de Tavira making it a somewhat secluded beach experience. Along the way you can see the range of flora and fauna that thrive along the Ria Formosa Natural Reserve. Once you reach the island, it’s a short walk to the beach where you’ll be greeted by a long stretch of soft, white sand and clean, see-through waters. This is the perfect day trip with the family or with a group of friends where you can enjoy a slice of this beach paradise that’s adored by the locals. Beach parasols and sun loungers can be hired and there are a few restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat if you get peckish. During the summer there’s plenty of watersports on the island too like banana boating, an inflatable water park and kayaking.
Perfect for: Families and groups of friends
Praia do Camilo is located near Lagos along the southeastern coastline and is truly a slice of paradise all year round. It’s not the largest of beaches, meaning it can get very busy during the summer but if you go nice and early, you can nab yourself a spot and enjoy basking in the sun while the stunning rock formations protect the beach from heavy winds. There are also two additional beaches that are connected to Praia do Camilo through little cave hole tunnels that you can walk through. Couples and groups of friends will love the chilled ambience of this beach where you can kayak and snorkel in the clear waters. Be warned though, access to this beach is via a long wooden staircase with about 200 steps, but it’s well worth it once you reach the sandy shores.
Perfect for: Couples, groups of friends and water sport enthusiasts.
Praia da Ilha de Faro takes you away from the mainland to a long stretch of beach with a lagoon on one side and the sea on the other. Known as an ‘ilha’, this is a peninsula that’s connected to the mainland by a bridge. Access to this beach is either by car or buses that leave every 45 minutes. You’ll be in good company as the beach can get busy because of its proximity to Faro. Ilha de Faro is also known as a party beach and has the essential facilities you’d expect such as parasol and sunlounger rentals, showers and beach restaurants and bars to dine at if you feel peckish. Enjoy a spot of reading or choose from a range of water sports such as surfing, kayaking and paddle boarding.
If you prefer a quieter slice of this paradise, you can take a beach walk that leads to deserted areas that are more peaceful. Here you’ll come across Ria Formosa’s tidal inlets and lagoon system that supports several natural habitats, which is home to a haven of wildlife.