Algarve beaches are some of the most incredible beaches I’ve ever seen in my life.
There. I said it.
Hello! Profesional beach bum, Nina, reporting here. I love a good beach. I’ve basked on the coastlines of France and Croatia to the beaches in Indonesia and Thailand, and oh, I’m from Florida!
So when I say a beach is damn good, it’s pretty damn good.
And I have to say, the beaches in the Algarve DO *clap* NOT *clap* DIS *clap* APPOINT *clap*
The beaches in the Algarve are surrounded by craggy limestone cliffs topped with desert foliage while the mighty Atlantic crashes against their ever crumbling facades.
The rough terrain is part of the area’s charm and it makes for a brutal and beautiful combo.
if you’re not a beach bunny and prefer your hiking boots as opposed to flip-flops, you will still love the Algarve. Luckily, the entire region is littered with hiking trails, many of which are located along the coast.
Peer over the edges of the cliffs and enjoy the beach views from up there, it’s breathtaking!
So regardless of you’re looking for a tan or for a good morning wander outside, the Algarve beaches listed here will be perfect!
Algarve Beaches You Have to Check Out
First things first! Maps! Love me a good map plus it’s nice to visually see where these beaches in the Algarve actually are. The good news is, most of these beaches are very close to each other and even the two furthest beaches can be reached in an hour and a half from one beach to the next.
I have always based myself in Sagres but basing out of Lagos would be fine as well.
Not sure how to organize your stay in the Algarve? Check out my Algarve itinerary.
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1. Praia de Odeceixe
If you’re coming from Lisbon, this is the first beach around the Algarve that you’ll hit! It’s literally right on the line. The River Seixe (Rio de Seixe) hugs Odeceixe beach and helps nourish the lush greenery that surrounds it. It’s larger at low tide and when it’s high tide, it nearly becomes its own little island!
What to do on Odeceixe
Surf, beach bum, and go to Praia de Adegas which is located in a cove, if you want to sunbathe naked.
If you want to check the surf ANY of the beaches in the Algarve or in Portugal, the website to use is Magic Seaweed.
2. Praia do Amado
Large waves, sandy shores and a hotspot in the Algarve surf scene. That’s Praia do Amado and that’s where you should go if you want to learn how to surf or at least, check out the scene.
The beach is quite large and the nearby cliffs offer some great views. So even if you’re not hopping in the water, come over and hang out! This is definitely one of the best beaches in the Algarve for surfing.
What to do on Praia do Amado
Surf and beach bum. There are two surf schools here, I recommend Algarve Surf School. Waves are good for all surf levels.
3. Praia do Castelejo
This isn’t the most popular beach, which is a good thing! The beach is long and can get thin during high tide. Beautiful rocks are cast to the right but otherwise, the water is clear for surfing!
What to do on Castelejo
You can surf and fish here while being surrounded by schist black cliffs.
4. Praia da Ponta Ruiva
Ochre-colored cliffs and azure waters—gorgeous! Access this beach by walking the sandy trails. It can be a bit difficult to find and some of the roads are best accessed with a 4WD. Although a challenge to find, it’s one of the best beaches in the Algarve because it’s often pretty quiet.
What to do on Praia da Ponta Ruiva:
Surf and beach bum to your heart’s content.
5. Praia do Telheiro
You can start here if you’re going to walk the Praia do Telheiro beach trail or just come to enjoy the sand and surf!
It’s yet another impressive Algarve beach that does not disappoint! It’s quite large and has plenty of space for sunbathers and surfboards!
What to do on Praia do Telheiro
Beach bum and surf! You can also use the car park to hike around the cliffs along the trail and come back to the beach later to chill out.
6. Praia do Beliche
Golden sand beaches and incredibly blue waters surrounded by untouched nature. While the surf may be popular here, there’s plenty of room to share as the beach is set back into the cliffs. There’s a small restaurant at the entrance and that’s it.
What to do on Praia do Beliche
Surf and beach bum.
The currents here are no joke and often the waves are a bit dicey. More often than not you need to be a pretty confident surfer to enjoy this Algarve beach unless you’re just taking in the sun on the sandy shores.
7. Praia do Tonel
Another warm painted, cliff-sheltered, gorgeous beach. There a small beach hut that has food and there’s plenty of space to sprawl out as the beach is quite long. The water is pristine and this beach rarely gets too busy.
What to do on Praia do Tonel
Surf, kitesurf, and beach bum.
The beach here has some pretty strong currents so swimmers who aren’t strong should be aware. There are also some pretty big waves which is great for suffers. The waves are often larger in the winter and smaller in the summer.
8. Praia da Mareta
A sandy bay right in the town of Sagres. Considering it’s right there and features a few beach restaurants, it does get a bit busy here. All and all it’s still great beach to visit while hanging out in Sagres.
What to do on Praia da Mareta
You’ll find most people just beach bumming although it is possible to surf. The surf here isn’t the greatest and can get choppy with only a short ride in if that. It’s an easily accessible beach though so that’s why people surf here. If you’re staying in town and don’t have a car, you can still easily go surfing here. It’s just not going to be the most epic of conditions!
9. Praia do Martinhal
I questioned whether or not I should put this beach on this list. I kind of wanted to be selfish and keep it all to myself. It’s a very obvious beach when looking at the map of Sagres and there is an access road and everything, but for some reason, it’s often empty (and I’d rather keep it that way)!
People will likely still flock to some of the more dramatic beaches though, so I’ll put this one on the list anyway. While it’s not surrounded by towering cliffs, (there are some off in the distance), it’s still a great beach to relax on since it’s regularly quiet here.
What to do on Martinhal
Beach bum! Hopefully, you’re a dog lover, people like to bring their dogs here to run around.
Something to note about Martinhal, it’s a lovely beach but sometimes the tides bring in rubbish or rows of seaweed (which gets stinky)! Unfortunate, but true. But also, luckily, not too often.
There is rarely surf on Martinhal, sometimes if there’s a storm brewing you can catch some, but even then it’s a bit too messy. Martinhal has a SUP kiosk and sometimes kite surfing can be enjoyed depending on the winds.
10. Praia das Furnas
This Algarve beach is a bit hidden and can actually be quite difficult to find. Which probably explains why this may have been the best beach in the Algarve for me.
IF you can find this spot, then you’ll have a MASSIVE beach almost all to yourself. For me, this is one of the best beaches in the Algarve, but I hate playing favorites!
What to do on Praia das Furnas
Beach bumming is the best activity on this beach. This place is also popular for nudists.
There was a small sign when I was here stating there was a GPS mistake! So try to spot this sign so you can find the right way, otherwise, you’ll be admiring the beach from on top of the cliffs.
11. Praia do Camilo
Damn, too bad this beach is so tiny and gets full fast! Praia do Camilo is beautiful and dramatic. Encompassing a tiny sliver of sand are the sun-kissed sandy cliffside full of holes, archways, and random island pinnacles. There’s a small walkway to the left bringing you to another small beach, which is equally as gorgeous (and crowded).
What to do on Praia do Camilo
Beach bum here all day long—IF you can find a spot. During low season it’s better enjoyed however you’ll doubtfully be adorning a bikini or swim trunks.
12. Praia dos Tres Irmaos
Meaning three brothers, for the three rocks that jut out of the water, this stretch of sand is breathtaking. Instead of one solid beach, Tres Irmaos is more like a set of mini coves all sheltered by dramatic ochre-colored cliffside making this Algarve beach a top choice.
What to do on Praia dos Tres Irmaos
Beach bumming is the thing to here and there are plenty of facilities alongside the beaches.
13. Praia de Carvoeiro
Limestone cliffs flank both sides while the quaint fishing village with terra-cotta cottages sits just behind. This isn’t the biggest beach on this list and it’s certainly popular but it shouldn’t stop you. Carvoeiro is one of the Algarve’s best beaches for reason.
What to do on Praia de Carvoeiro
A beach bummers paradise with plenty of facilities.
14. Praia da Carvalho
Pretend your India Jones for a second, find the hole in the ground, and climb through the rocky staircase cave down to the beach below!
Carvalho is a snug beach found along the regular cliffside trails you’ll come across. The beach goes pretty deep but it’s narrow. There is a small staircase to the right of the beach where there’s a little lookout cove!
The beach has its signature single rock jutting out of the water right in the middle.
What to do on Pria da Carvalho
This beach is for beach bummers and semi-adventurous sand seekers! The staircase down is quite steep and claustrophobic for some. The lookout point to the right isn’t something you have to do, but if you do, take care. The walkway is very narrow and you’d be plunging to your immanent major injury/possible death with one misstep.
If you can handle the stair tunnel, this will probably be one of the best beaches in the Algarve that you’ll get to see!
15. Praia da Marinha
This just might be Portugal’s most popular beach! And with that comes the crowds. Luckily it’s not as small as Camilo. It’s quite long, so have a wander down to the very end so you can catch a glimpse of those two arches getting mauled by waves you’ve surely stumbled upon when stalking pictures of the Algarve!
What to do on Praia da Marinha
This place is a beach bums paradise but it’s definitely not the quietest beach.
Regarding the two arches, TIP: If you go at low tide, you can actually get closer so you can see them. If it’s high tide, don’t dare try and go unless you want to be a rocks lunch (you’ll get crushed by the waves and the rocks).
If you come during high tide, just walk along the cliffsides and you can get an aerial view of the arches (safe and still pretty!)
16. Praia do Peneco
A perfect typical tourist beach, if that’s your thing, awaits you at Peneco Beach. Located in the center of Albufeira, and surrounded by whitewashed structures above a cliff is a sandy and tame beach to play in. The promenade features plenty of shops and eateries.
What to do on Praia do Peneco
Hardcore beach bumming.
There are umbrellas to rent here for your ease and when you need a break from toasting yourself, take a walk to Xorino Grotto, a cave that was apparently used as a shelter by the Moors.
17. Praia da Falesia
Considering over 6km of a gorgeous cliff-flanked coastline is on offer, it’s hard to go wrong at Falesia. It’s a very popular beach, particularly in summer and it can get a bit busy. The orange rock and the verdant pines make for a beautiful contrast.
What to do on Praia da Falesia
Beach bumming, surfing, paragliding and more.
Towards one side (Vilamoura) is where the water sports take place and towards the other is where families and swimmers can hang out as the water conditions are shallow and tame.
Algar de Benagil
You’ve definitely seen photos of Benagil! This is the Algarve’s elusive gem. Tucked away in a sunken cave is this incredible little beach that can only be reached by water.
Algar de Benagil is a cathedral-like cave with its top gaping open providing a skylight for the cave beach below. This is certainly one of the best beaches in the Algarve AND the most popular because if it’s unique features.
How to get to Benagil
There are numerous ways to get to Benagil…
Find a kayak or boat tour to take you! This is the SAFEST (see below) and most recommended way to reach Benagil.
Here are some recommendations:
- 3-Hour Caves and Coastline Boat Trip
- From Portimao Benagil Cave Tour
- From Albufeira Bengali Cave Tour
People sometimes try to swim as it’s not that far from the nearby beach but let me urge you to please be careful. Make sure the sea is calm and you check the tides. People have died and others needed to be rescued. The waters around the Algarve can be relentless!
Should you have some unlucky weather like we did when we visited, you can still see it! All tours were canceled the two times we tried visiting Benagil, so we did the next best thing. You can climb around the cliffs (there are trails literally everywhere in case you haven’t noticed!) and you can get a peek at the hole on top of the cave and peer inside to see the beach.
It’s hard for me to really say which one of these are the best beaches in the Algarve! So I’ll say they are all the best! What are your thoughts?
Which of these Algarve beaches are you most excited to visit?
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Nina Ragusa is an adventurer, messy bun master, breakfast fan, and full-time travel blogger. She’s been abroad and epically failing at the American Dream since 2011. Her sassy yet informative blog, Where in the World is Nina? is all about how to work abroad to live a more adventurous life. If you want to travel longer you have to work to wander.