Praia da Ponta Ruiva: the #1 guide
Praia da Ponta Ruiva is a small and isolated beach in the municipality of Vila do Bispo. It is mostly known as a beach for surfing, due to its good surf conditions. Praia da Ponta Ruiva is quite hard to find, but once you find it, you will discover that the effort was worth it. Let’s explore this beach.
Praia da Ponta Ruiva is a medium-sized beach, with a length of about 500 metres and a width of about 30 metres. The beach is situated in a small bay. It is part of the beautiful Costa Vicentina natural park, which is why the nature around here is so wild. On this beach you can also smell an intense scent of rock rose.
Praia da Ponta Ruiva is surrounded by cliffs. In general, you can find some very unique rock formations on this beach.
The waves on Praia da Ponta Ruiva can be big, which is good for surfing, but less for swimming. A big part of the beach also disappears during high tide.
During low tide you can find some natural pools between the rock formations. The temperature of the water in these rock pools is warmer than the Atlantic Ocean.
Another way to recognize Praia da Ponta Ruiva is by a series of unique rock formations on the northern end of the beach, at the end of the cliff.
Praia da Ponta Ruiva is the southernmost beach on the west coast of the Algarve. The first beach to the north is Praia do Castelejo. Praia da Ponta Ruiva is isolated and hard to find. In fact, it is one of the hardest beaches to find in Vila do Bispo. That is why the beach is usually very quiet. There are often no people on the beach, or only a handful of them. Most of the people visiting this beach are surfers. Occasionally there are naturists visiting this beach as well.
On top of the northern cliff there is a viewpoint called Miradouro da Ponta Ruiva. From here you have a wonderful view over the beach.
On the south side of the beach you can see a small, but remarkable cliff that becomes an islet during high tide. During low tide you can see that there are plenty of small rocks around it. This cliff has a red colour, which also gives the beach its name. Literally, ruiva means redhead. The red rock is regionally also known as ‘sandstone of Silves’ (in Portuguese: grés de Silves) and locally as ‘stone flour‘ (in Portuguese: pedra farinheira).
In fact, the geological importance of this rock is quite significant. It is assumed that this rock is part of a rare geological formation that continues on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, in Canada. A long time ago, the land mass of Canada was connected to Portugal. This rock is thus proof of the existence of the supercontinent Pangea.
Praia da Ponta Ruiva is popular among surfers. The surf conditions on this beach are quite good. It is a left-hand point break. Surfing on this beach is best with waves from the east, southeast or northwest. There are also some surf schools that like to practice with their students on this beach.
To be honest: surfing in this natural environment is a real treat. Just watch out for some rocks in the water.
If you would like to get an idea of how it is to surf on this beach, check out the following video.
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 da Ponta Ruiva is quite hard to reach though, since it is not clearly signposted. In addition, you can only reach it via secondary dirt roads. It is best to drive these dirt roads with a jeep or a 4×4 vehicle, otherwise make sure to drive very carefully.
The easiest way to reach the beach is to drive from Sagres to Cabo de São Vicente, and then turn right at the last exit before Cabo de São Vicente (right after Praia do Beliche). Continue on that road and turn left at the warehouses. Continue on the dirt road all the way until the beach. Especially the last part of the road is difficult with a regular car. There is a car park near the beach that has space for about 40 cars. From the car park you can access the beach by walking along a descending trail.
Praia da Ponta Ruiva is relatively close to Praia do Castelejo. Thus we recommend the same hotels as you can find in the article about Praia do Castelejo.
Another option is to quickly check the availability of nearby hotels. Below you can find a map with the location of hotels near Vila do Bispo. By changing the date of your holiday, the map will show you the current prices.
There is no infrastructure on the beach and there are basically no facilities. For example, there is no supervision by lifeguards and there are no toilets. We recommend to bring your own food and drinks with you to the beach.
Facilities in Praia da Ponta Ruiva:
- Restaurant: no
- Bar/club: no
- Toilet: no
- Shower: no
- Water sports: yes
- Sunbeds: no
- Parking: yes
- Lifeguards: no
- Blue Flag beach: no