The Algarve in Portugal has more than 60 miles of coastline along the west of Portugal and offers some of Europe’s best bathing spots. The Algarve in Portugal has an amazing variety of beaches for all kinds of holidays and has great weather all year long.
The Algarve’s extensive coastline has many interesting and fun attractions for the holiday maker, ranging from excellent cuisine with all the amazing seafood specialties, it’s no surprise the Portuguese are the biggest fish consumers in Europe.
The Algarve in Portugal is best known by the people from the United Kingdom, they have been taking cheap Algarve holidays since the 1970s. The Algarve has changed a lot but some areas have escaped overdevelopment and are perfect for lazy beach holidays or energetic surfing trips.
Here are some of the best spots to lay out your beach towel and picnic basket on a cheap Algarve holiday.
The town of Alvor was once a small fishing village. These days it is still quieter than most of the Algarve holiday resorts and offers a great getaway for families or couples.
Amongst the area’s attractions are its long and wide uncrowned beach and great restaurants along the waterfront where freshly caught bream, bass and cuttlefish are fried on enormous barbecues.
A short walk over the dunes from Alvor is Meia Praia, a four-mile crescent of soft white sand curving toward the city of Lagos. Meia Praia becomes a boisterous family beach near the town where locals take a rowboat ferry across the narrow Bensafrim river to reach the sands.
Lagos has a very special atmosphere, with its river mouth fortress and medieval walls. Its narrow streets fill up with Algarve Portugal holiday makers on summer nights and it has a youthful, barhopping crowd who use the city as base camp for surfing trips.
There’s also culture to be found in Lagos. There are art galleries and open-air concerts beneath the city walls. The church of Santo Antonio is lined with intricate woodcarvings coated in gold leaf plundered from Brazil and you can also visit the Museum.
Running south from Lagos is the Costa d’Oiro – the golden coast – a string of sandy coves tucked among crumbling sandstone cliffs leading the saltwater caves and weird rock formations at the Ponta da Piedade headland – the ideal place to watch the sun set on a romantic Algarve Portugal holiday.
At the restored market hall in Lagos, the array of freshly caught seafood is dazzling, from tiny sardines and baby squid to the great snakelike silver scabbard fish or torpedo-sized tuna fishes.
Surfing Spots in Algarve Portugal
Head to the west and the coast begins to get wilder. The beach at Algarve’s Martinhal resort, near the town of Sagres, rises to a mountainous sand dune that is exposed to powerful winds, and this makes it a challenging favorite for windsurfers.
North of Sagres, the coast has some of Europe’s best spots for surfing. The rugged, wind-swept landscape here seems a world away from the gentle waters and almond and citrus groves that can be found in the centre of the Algarve in Portugal.
The beaches here are remote and undeveloped, but are great for those hoping to ride the waves, or simply to get away from the crowds to soak up the sun and the sound of the surf on a more remote and empty Algarve Portugal beach.
10 Great Algarve Beaches
If you are considering coming to the Algarve for your holidays in Portugal you have surely heard about the beautifull beaches. The Algarve has great weather, more than 160km of beaches and and there are a lot of nice beaches and also a few secret spots.
Praia da Dona Ana
The beautiful beach of Praia da Dona Ana is has crystalline waters and during the summer you can take a beach bus here from Lagos every hour. A walk to Praia da Dona Ana will take about half-an-hour from Lagos’ centre.
The beach is 200 meters long and is accessible through a stairway. In the low season, Praia Dona Ana is a real gem among the beaches of Algarve – the summer months and influx of tourists does not allow this beautiful beach to be witnessed at its best.
Praia da Ilha de Tavira
In Tavira you can visit the Praia da Ilha de Tavira, often locally referred to as Praia das Cascas. This Algarve beach is a magnet for watersports enthusiasts.
A short boat trip (taking 10 minutes) from Tavira, departing from the jetty at Quatro Aguas -just by the old market in the centre of Tavira, this elongated sandbar beach is a popular attraction and has a reserved section for naturists.
Praia dos Barcos in Albufeira
In Albufeira, Praia dos Barcos is a very popular beach renowned for the array of fishermen’s colourful boats that line the one end of this rock-protected beach. The beach is reached through a tunnel next to the tourist information office.
Praia do Amado in Carrapateira
Carrapateira is home to Praia do Armado beach – one of Portugal’s premier surfing spots and its surf school enjoys international patronage.
Many of the people that attend these surf schools stay in a town called Lagos, that takes about a 20 minute drive to get there. Lagos is a nice and cozy town very popular with backpackers and sufers. There are a lot of young Autralian, Canadian, British and American tourists here.
This west coast beach is also popular with families whose children are attracted to the many rock pools that become visible at low tide.
Praia da Rocha in Portimão
In Portimao to experience Praia da Rocha (Rock Beach). Known internationally as one of the most impressive beaches in the Algarve, the sweeping bay of golden sand can get extremely busy in the summer months due to its excellent conditions for water sports and boat-rides.
A tunnel at the western end gives access to narrower stretches of sand. This beach is right in front of Portimão City and has easy access and lots of night life and entertainment in the vicinity.
Praia de São Rafael in Albufeira
Back in Albufeira you can find the family-friendly shallow waters and soft white sand on Praia da Sao Rafael. With beautiful sandy beaches and clear blue seas, this pretty bay is ideal for snorkelling or investigating the surrounding caves.
This beach is usually not as crouded as the beaches right in front of the Albufeira town, so if you want to go to a more quiet beach this will be the right choice.
Praia de Odeceixe
One of the Algarve in Portugal’s best kept secrets, Praia de Odeceixe is a crescent-shaped beach is just a short distance from the quaint village of Odeceixe. This beach is a bit different from the others because of its stone formations.
Another nice detail is that it has a small river stream comming through on the north part of the beach. If you are feeling a bit too hot during the heat waves in the Algarve, a trip to Praia de Odeceixe is well worth it, as it is always a few degrees fresher than in the other beaches, nice and refreshing!
This excellent beach is sheltered by high cliffs and in a perfect location in northern Algarve. It tends to be one of the less crowded beaches and for that reason alone, it is well worth a visit.
Praia da Marinha in Benagil
Surrounded by honey coloured cliffs and accessed by steep steps down the sides of the cliff, the golden sands of Praia da Marinha in Benagil has two wonderfully secluded beaches.
The turquoise sea is a favourite with snorkellers, and the secluded beaches are popular with families and those seeking the privacy to relax in beautiful surroundings.
Popular with youngsters and windsurfers, Praia de Figueria, Salema is one of the Algarve’s less well known beaches, and as such there are no facilities of any kind here. Lying right in front of the village of Salema, you will need to arrive early to find parking space.
Meia Praia in Lagos
Another of the great beaches in the Algarve is the Meia Praia in Lagos. A 4km curve of sand stretching two miles in length, it is the longest beach in the Algarve.
Popular with watersports enthusiasts, jet-skiiers and surfers the contrasting side offers peace and tranquility for those wishing to unwind and watch the world go by. In the Autumn, a walk along this stretch of beach is a recommended experience.