Praia dos Arrifes – the #1 guide
Praia dos Arrifes is a very small beach in the municipality of Albufeira. It is known for its unique natural scenery, which is characterized by several large rock formations in front of the beach. This makes it a great beach for snorkelling. Even though it is small, it is also a good beach to just enjoy the sun and relax. Let’s discover this beach.
Watch it in HD
If you would like to see Praia dos Arrifes and its surrounding beaches, check out the wonderful video below.
Praia dos Arrifes is a very small beach. It stretches for about 75 metres in length, which in fact makes it the smallest beach of Albufeira. The beach is backed by low cliffs, which make sure this beach is sheltered from the wind.
The sand on Praia dos Arrifes is golden, but it has some small rocks on it. Furthermore, the water here is calm and transparent. This is not the best beach for swimming, since there are some rocks in the water. We recommend to wear water shoes.
However, it is a great beach for snorkelling. The rock formations in front of the beach have plenty of wildlife around them underwater, which is nice to discover when snorkelling.
It is best to visit Praia dos Arrifes during low tide, because it will be easier to explore some nearby coves. During high tide, the already small beach becomes even smaller. In addition, during low tide you can also find natural pools among the rocks. This is a lot of fun for children, who love to explore them. Adults also love to bathe in these rock pools.
Praia dos Arrifes is usually quite crowded, especially during summer. Since it is a very small beach, it always feels crowded very quickly, even when there aren’t that many people on the beach. It is best to go early. Usually there are fewer people on this beach than on nearby Praia de São Rafael. That is why Praia dos Arrifes offers more privacy than the beach of São Rafael. The beach of Arrifes is mainly popular with families and couples.
Praia dos Arrifes is located just east of Praia de São Rafael. It is very similar to this beach, only smaller. The beach on the left in the picture below is Praia de São Rafael. On the right side you can see Praia dos Arrifes, which is the beach with the restaurant building.
You can explore the nearby area by going on a cliff walk. There are many pine trees in this area. It is wonderful to view Praia dos Arrifes from the surrounding cliffs. You can hike on top of the cliffs, all the way towards Praia do Castelo. You will see beautiful cliff views of this part of the coastline. By the way, if you look east, you can see Praia da Falésia far away.
Rock formations in the water
Praia dos Arrifes is characterized by 3 big rock formations right in front of the beach. These rocks in the water dominate the skyline when standing on the beach. That is why Praia dos Arrifes is also known as Praia dos Três Penecos (beach of the 3 rocks). However, there are 5 big rock formations in the water. Two of those are slightly further away, behind the centre rock in the front. Depending on your angle on the beach, you might not see those two rocks.
The rocks are so big, while the beach is so small. It almost feels out of proportion. The centre rock is actually the most curious of all 5 rocks. It has a hole in it on top, forming a curious window.
In addition, one of the rocks has an arch underneath it.
You can even see vegetation on the rock formations in the water, which are Mediterranean saltwort and rock samphire plants. These plants can survive because they are salt resistant and well above high tide sea level.
Praia da Vigia
Just west of Praia dos Arrifes, before São Rafael, there is another small beach. This beach is called Praia da Vigia and is separated from Arrifes by some rocks. During low tide it is possible to reach the beach on foot, and during high tide you can swim towards it. However, the beach almost disappears during high tide. Praia da Vigia is more quiet than Arrifes. You can see Praia da Vigia on the picture below (the left beach in front).
There is a restaurant right on the beach, called A Sardinha. They focus on fresh fish and seafood. From the restaurant you have a marvelous view over the beach and the sea. The restaurant is closed in winter though.
How to get there
The easiest way to move around in the Algarve is by car. If you don’t have one, make sure to rent a car. Praia dos Arrifes is located a couple kilometres west of Albufeira. To get there, take exit 9 on the A22. Continue on the N395 in the direction of Albufeira, and turn right at the big roundabout to continue on the M526. Follow the signs toward Praia de São Rafael, until you see a sign indicating Praia dos Arrifes. There is a parking area on top of the cliffs, just behind the beach. From the parking area it is only a short walk to the beach. Access to the beach is via a wooden staircase. There are not many stairs, since the cliffs are relatively low.
Praia dos Arrifes is relatively close to Praia de São Rafael. Thus we recommend the same hotels as you can find in the article about Praia de São Rafael.
Another option is to quickly check the availability of nearby hotels. Below you can find a map with the location of hotels in this part of Albufeira. By changing the date of your holiday, the map will show you the current prices.
There is a lot to see in this area of the Algarve. To make the most out of your holiday, we recommend to go on an excursion. There are many excursions in this area to choose from, but you can find our favourite excursions below. They can be booked already online.
Even though Praia dos Arrifes is quite small, it is a Blue Flag beach. It has the most important facilities on-site, most of them are near the restaurant. There are toilets and showers, and there is a lifeguard in summer. Beware that there are only about 10 sunbeds for rent and in summer they are quite popular. Make sure to arrive early in order to claim your sunbed. Praia dos Arrifes is not accessible by wheelchair.
Facilities in Praia dos Arrifes:
- Restaurant: yes
- Bar/club: no
- Toilet: yes
- Shower: yes
- Water sports: no
- Sunbeds: yes
- Parking: yes
- Lifeguards: yes
- Blue Flag beach: yes