Beaches in the Algarve you should visit
It is not a secret that the Algarve has some of the best beaches in Europe. The Algarve has a coastline of about 200 kilometres, which contains more than 150 beaches. From long sandy beaches on quiet islands to beaches that are buzzing with people and energy: you can find it here. The combination of beautiful beaches, stunning rock formations and one of the best climates in Europe has turned the Algarve primarily into a summer and sea destination. On this page you can read more about beaches in the Algarve, so you will know exactly which beach suits you best.
Beaches in the Algarve
The beaches in the Algarve have a fine, golden or white sand. On most beaches, the sand is very comfortable to walk on. In general, the beaches in the western Algarve are very different from the beaches in the eastern Algarve:
- To the west of Portimão, beaches are usually less crowded. Beaches here are also surrounded by breathtaking cliffs.
- Beaches in the central Algarve (between Faro and Portimão) are among the most crowded of the Algarve during the summer. Even so, it is always possible to find a spot. The beaches here are surrounded by impressive gold-coloured cliffs.
- In the eastern Algarve however, beaches have no cliffs. The coastal line is low with dunes and large sandy surfaces. There are also some barrier islands consisting mainly of sand and sediments.
The main beaches of the Algarve are situated around the following towns:
Albufeira is one of the most touristic towns in the Algarve. That is why the beaches near the town are usually quite crowded. There are four urban beaches in front of the old town (Pescadores, Túnel, Inatel and Alemães). In addition, there are also many beautiful beaches outside the town, but still within the municipality of Albufeira. For example, Praia da Falésia is often seen as one of the most beautiful beaches of the Algarve. Discover the following beaches in Albufeira:
- Olhos de Água
- Rocha Baixinha
- Santa Eulália
- São Rafael
Castro Marim beaches
The municipality of Castro Marim has several beaches within its borders, even though the town itself is not located at the sea. These beaches are known for their warm waters and abundance of space. Discover the following beaches of Castro Marim:
Faro is the capital of the Algarve. Beaches near Faro are not backed by cliffs and are thus relatively flat. The main beach of Faro is Praia de Faro, which is located just outside the town. Nearby you can also find the natural park of Ria Formosa. In addition, you can visit several beautiful islands that you can visit by boat. Discover the following beaches in Faro:
The beaches in the area of Lagoa are definitely some of the most famous beaches of the Algarve. You can see some of them in many advertisements for the Algarve. For example, Praia da Marinha is viewed by some people as the most beautiful beach of the Algarve. Discover the following beaches in Lagoa:
- Cova Redonda
- Praia do Vale do Olival
- Senhora da Rocha
- Vale Centeanes
- Vale Covo
Lagos is a great town with a lot of culture, history and entertainment to offer. Moreover, the beaches of Lagos are some of the most beautiful of the Algarve. They are characterized by high cliffs and golden sand. Discover the following beaches in Lagos:
While technically it is not a beach, make sure to visit the amazing rock formations at Ponta da Piedade as well.
Olhão is the largest fishing port of the Algarve. While Olhão itself does not have any beaches, it does have some islands. From the town of Olhão you can take the boat to visit these paradise islands. Make sure to visit Ilha da Armona and Praia da Fuseta.
Portimão is a relatively large town in the western part of the Algarve. It attracts quite a lot of tourists and you can find many tourist facilities here. The main beach is Praia da Rocha, which stretches for over a kilometre. Behind the beach there is a lively boulevard, backed by many high-rise hotels and apartments. In addition, there are many other beaches worth visiting in Portimão. Discover the following beaches:
While Silves is not a town near the coast, it does have its own beaches. This is because the municipality of Silves stretches until the coast. The two beaches of Silves are Praia de Armação de Pêra and Praia Grande.
Tavira is one of the most beautiful towns of the Algarve. It has amazing beaches as well, located on islands near the town. You can visit the islands of Ilha de Tavira and Ilha de Cabanas. All beaches in the area of Tavira are quite flat and backed by dunes. Another great beach is Praia do Barril, which is located on Tavira Island and is known for its anchor cemetary.
Vila do Bispo beaches
The beaches in the area of Vila do Bispo have high cliffs, which make for a very beautiful scenery. Waves here are also quite big, which means you see a lot of surfers. The water of the Atlantic Ocean here is very cold though. Discover the following beaches in Vila do Bispo:
- Boca do Rio
- Cabanas Velhas
Vila Real de Santo António beaches
In the eastern Algarve you can find several beautiful beaches, which are backed by dunes. Make sure to check out the following beaches:
West coast beaches
The beaches on the west coast of the Algarve are all beaches between Sagres and Odeceixe. These beaches have a wild feeling and are not very crowded. Due to the big waves here, the conditions are very good for surfing. The beaches in this area therefore mainly attract surfers and tourists who love nature. The cliffs in this area are very steep, which make for a beautiful setting. You can find the following beaches on the west coast of the Algarve:
- Monte Clérigo
- Ponta Ruiva
- Vale dos Homens
- Vale Figueiras
Islands in the Algarve
The Algarve has several islands, mainly near Faro, Olhão and Tavira. These islands are perhaps some of the finest beaches of the Algarve. However, all of these islands can only be reached by boat. All islands in the Algarve are permanently inhabited by some people, with the exception of Ilha Deserta. On these islands you will always find enough space. Moreover, if you are willing to walk 1 or 2 kilometres from the point of arrival, you will hardly see any other people on the beach.
Blue flag beaches in the Algarve
A Blue Flag beach complies with strict international standards concerning safety, water quality, facilities and environmental management. The Algarve has a total of 87 Blue Flag beaches (2020). Do you wonder which beaches have a Blue Flag? Then check out the complete list of Blue Flag beaches in the Algarve.
Sea water temperature and quality
The temperature of the sea water in the Algarve depends on many factors, mainly the wind direction and deep water streams. In general, the sea water temperature in the Algarve is warmer in the east than in the west. The further you go towards the west, the colder the water gets. For example, on the west coast the sea water temperature is usually between 17 and 20 degrees, while east of Tavira the sea water temperature can reach up to 26 degrees. Also, the sea is warmer in the summer than in the winter.
When the wind blows from the southeast (in Portuguese this wind is called sueste), it brings not only warm air, but also warm water from North Africa. Usually this wind lasts for several days, during which the sea is rough. Afterwards, the sea water becomes clearly warmer.
The water quality in the Algarve is generally speaking very good. There are almost no industries and all cities have waste water treatment plants since Portugal belongs to the European Union.
In addition, most beaches in the Algarve have a physical flag, with a colour indicating whether it is safe to swim:
- Green = swimming permitted
- Yellow = swimming forbidden
- Red = swimming or entering the water forbidden