Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha – the #1 guide
Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha is a beautiful beach near Lagoa, which has a striking promontory with a beautiful old chapel on top. Literally, Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha means Beach of Our Lady of the Rock and the chapel has a very interesting history. After reading this article, you will know more about this beach and will be ready to visit it on your holiday.
Watch it in HD
If you are wondering how Praia de Senhora da Rocha and the surrounding area look like, then watch the short video below.
Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha is a relatively small beach, with a length of 100 metres and a width of 40 metres. Nonetheless, the beach is quite beautiful. It is located 3 kilometres to the west of the beach of Armação de Pêra.
The sand on Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha is soft and has a yellow colour. You will find that there are also many shells on this beach. Although the shells are beautiful, some broken shells may hurt your feet when walking on them. The water is crystal clear and the sea is generally calm, which is great for swimming or boat tours. There are also several water sports available on this beach, including jet skiing or kayaking. On the east side of the beach (the left side when looking at the sea) there is a cliff, where you can see several sinkholes cut into the rock.
On the west side of the beach, you can see the promontory of Nossa Senhora da Rocha, with a small chapel.
Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha is backed by high cliffs, in contrast to the beach of Armação de Pêra, which is backed by low sand dunes. The beach of Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha is actually a sheltered cove, because the cliffs protect the beach against the wind. That is why there is not a lot of wind on this beach.
Every year, the beach is visited by many people, especially in the summer. Praia da Nossa Senhora da Rocha feels crowded quite quickly, due to the small size of the beach.
On Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha you will see several fishing boats. These fishing boats give the beach its character. Behind the beach you can see small fishermen huts where local fishermen store their belongings. Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha actually acts as a small fishing harbour. Historically, the beach was a refuge for small fishing boats in the area. The protection from the wind by the cliffs is an advantage for the fishermen, who find it easier to arrive and depart from this beach. Just know that when visiting this beach, you will probably share it with traditional fishing boats. You can actually go on one of these fishing boats for a tour of the area, where you can see the amazing rock formations and secluded beaches nearby, as well as the Benagil cave.
The promontory and the chapel
On top of the promontory there used to be a small fort called the Fort of Nossa Senhora da Rocha. The location of the fort was perfect to defend against pirates. Although it doesn’t look like much of a fort anymore, it did serve this purpose throughout much of its history. Inside the fort there was a small chapel, known as the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Rocha. This chapel still exists today. Visiting the promontory and the chapel only takes about 30 minutes, but the views alone are definitely worth it.
From the car park on top of the cliffs, you can easily access the chapel. The exact origins from the chapel are actually unknown, but several sources suggest that a building already existed here since the 8th century. The current building has survived several earthquakes (in 1755 and 1969). From the promontory you can have a great panoramic view over the coastline of the Algarve. You will be able to see all the way up to Albufeira. It is also a great place to watch the sunset.
The promontory and its chapel are one of the iconic images of the Algarve.
The chapel has an entrance with three arches.
Behind the arches, but still outside, you will see a bench with traditional tiles (called azulejos in Portuguese).
The chapel itself is only open on certain days. Inside the chapel you can find an image of Nossa Senhora (virgin Mary) and Christ. Even if the chapel is closed, you can see the altar through the windows. On the first Sunday of August every year, there is a religious procession here. On this day, the image of Nossa Senhora is taken from the chapel down to the beach.
On the other side of the promontory is another beach, called Praia Nova. This beach is larger than Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha and therefore feels less crowded. There is actually a tunnel underneath the promontory, from which you can directly access Praia Nova straight from Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha. It is best to use this tunnel during low tide. On the picture below you can see Praia Nova on the left side and Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha on the right side.
When walking in the area near the beach, you will notice that the surroundings are really beautiful. There is a actually a popular cliff walk in this area. From Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha, you can walk to the west, all the way to the famous beach Praia da Marinha. Along the way, you will see spectacular rock formations and stunning scenery. This cliff walk is highly recommended.
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 de Nossa Senhora da Rocha is located in the civil parish of Porches, in the municipality of Lagoa. The beach is easy to access by car. When driving on the EN125 national road, exit at Porches and follow the signs. There is a car park next to the promontory of Nossa Senhora da Rocha. Parking is free. From the car park, there is a short footpath directly to the beach. During the summer, the car park can get quite busy, so it is best to come early. If the car park is full, you can park your car on the side of the road. From there it is about a 5-10 minute walk to Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha.
There is a restaurant right on the beach, called Vilarinho. This restaurant offers fresh fish and tasty seafood. From the restaurant you have a great view over the beach, the fishing boats and the sea. Prices are slightly more expensive than usual, but you mainly pay for the location. Beware that you can only pay with cash at this restaurant (no cards accepted).
There are several good hotels nearby. Our favourite ones are:
- Pestana Viking Beach & SPA Resort. This four star hotel offers two swimming pools and several wellness facilities, including a gym, massage and a hot tub. Located only 200 metres from Praia de Senhora da Rocha. Moreover, the hotel has direct access to the beach.
- Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa. This five star resort is focused around wellness. If you want to relax in a luxury environment, go here. Many wellness facilities are available. There are also several restaurants and bars on-site. Rooms are modern and very spacious. Highly rated.
- Be Live Family Palmeiras Village All-Inclusive 24H. This is a four star, all-inclusive family hotel. It offers everything you need for a great holiday in the Algarve. From good food to a nice room. There are several swimming pools and a fitness centre as well.
Another option is to quickly check the availability of nearby hotels. Below you can find a map with the location of hotels in Porches. By changing the date of your holiday, the map will show you the current prices.
The beach and the chapel of Nossa Senhora are definitely worth a visit. However, there is much more to see in the area. What about visiting Armação de Pêra? Or going to one of the several water parks of the Algarve? The parks of Aqualand and Zoomarine are not that far. Going on an excursion is an excellent way to make your holiday more memorable. Some of these excursions you can already book online. Below you can find our favourite excursions in the area.
There are plenty of facilities in the area. You can find a restaurant with toilet facilities right on the beach. During summer, there are lifeguards overlooking the beach. Sunbeds can be hired as well.
Facilities in Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha:
- Restaurant: yes
- Bar/club: yes
- Toilet: yes
- Shower: yes
- Water sports: yes
- Sunbeds: yes
- Parking: yes
- Lifeguards: yes
- Blue flag beach: yes