The coast of the Algarve in southern Portugal is a seemingly endless series of some of Europe’s finest beaches. They are seriously spectacular stretches of sand: the climate and atmosphere are Mediterranean, but this is the Atlantic so good waves and watersports are available alongside more sedate, family-oriented paddling zones. There are more than 150 beaches to choose from and here is a selection of some of the best.
The long beaches at Galé are still a continuation of the glorious golden sands that start at Armaçao de Pêra but towards the eastern end the dunes give way to rocky outcrops.
♦ Accessible, water sports, sunbeds, large car park, restaurants.
Praia do Manuel Lorenço
Intriguing rock formations and cliffs form a myriad of sandy coves along this stretch of coast and Manuel Lorenço beach is a small, sheltered bay complete with beach restaurant.
♦ Accessible, sunbeds, small car park right behind the beach, restaurant.
Praia do Evaristo
Evaristo beach is reached down quite a long winding tarmac road and is a pretty but quite rocky small bay. It is fitted with ramps to the beach and to the quite sizeable restaurant tucked in the corner.
♦ Sunbeds, smallish parking area, restaurant.
Praia do Castelo
Castelo beach is just around the corner from Evaristo - the road branches part way down with Evaristo to the right. A group of large rocks form a castle shape on the eastern corner of the beach and there is a beach restaurant tucked into the rocks on the western side.
♦ Sunbeds, restaurant, parking on top of the cliffs above the beach.
Praia da Coelha
Coelha beach ("Rabbit" beach!) is another pretty cove surrounded by rocky cliffs and has a beach restaurant. The car park is around 400 or 500 metres away and a roughish path leads to the beach.
♦ Sunbeds, restaurant.
Praia de São Rafael
São Rafael is quite a long sandy bay sheltered by ochre and red cliffs. There is access via steps or ramp and also a beach bar /restaurant at the back of the beach. There is some parking on the cliffs above the beach with reserved spaces for visitors with reduced mobility.
♦ Sunbeds, car park, restaurant.
Praia dos Arrifes
Arrifes is the last beach before Albufeira marina. It's not very big, particularly at high tide, but there is a restaurant and the views across the bay are quite spectacular as are the rock formations in front of the beach.
♦ Restaurant, sunbeds, parking area on rough ground above the beach.
Praia do Túnel (Peneco)
Túnel or Peneco beach is the western end of the lovely sandy beach that stretches across the front of Albufeira old town (the eastern end being Praia dos Pescadores). There are several points of access to the beach including a lift, ramps and steps as well as access through the tunnel next to the tourist office in the middle of town.
♦ Accessible, sunbeds, water sports, restaurants.
Praia dos Pescadores (Fisherman's beach)
Fisherman's beach is the other half of the beach in front of Albufeira old town. Still used by the fishermen and with fish restaurants galore at the back of the beach! There is a car park at the top of the cliffs and an escalator down to beach level for visitors driving to Albufeira. The square is often used for open air concerts and other entertainment.
♦ Accessible, sunbeds, water sports, restaurants.
♦ Hotels near Fisherman's Beach
Praia do Inatel
Inatel beach is just to the east of the town but still within walking distance of the centre. There is a restaurant at the back of the beach and a cafe that marks the dividing line between Inatel and Alemães beach.
♦ Sunbeds, restaurant, car park.
Praia dos Alemães
Alemães beach is quite a long narrow stretch of sand that at high tide just about leaves enough room for the sunbeds! There are steps to the beach near the Monica Isabel Beach Club or just carry on along the beach from Inatel.
Praia da Oura
Oura beach is down a steep hill (otherwise known as "Cardiac hill"!) at the end of "The Strip" in Areias São João. Oura is a pretty, sheltered, sandy bay which has a promenade with restaurants and cafes...a perfect spot for soaking up the sun! There is a paying car park signposted to the left going down the hill which is just a few metres from the eastern end of the beach. There are parking bays for visitors with reduced mobility near the beach.
♦ Accessible, water sports, sunbeds, restaurants, car park
♦ Oura Beach Hotels
Praia de Santa Eulália
Santa Eulália beach, just to the east of Oura, is another delightful long, sandy bay. There is a a large car park right behind the beach as well as a restaurant and "Le Club" - a venue for late night parties during the summer.
♦ Water sports, sunbeds, restaurants, car park.
Praia da Maria Luísa
Praia da Maria Luísa is another pretty bay backed by ochre and red cliffs. The car park for this beach is a little way up the hill although access is allowed down the road for visitors with reduced mobility.
♦ Accessible, water sports, sunbeds, restaurant, car park.
Praia dos Olhos d'Água
The beach at Olhos d'Água is another lovely beach right in the heart of this very popular resort. The road down to the beach, the square and promenade behind it are lined with restaurants, shops and cafes. The fishermen's huts at the eastern end and their colourful boats on the beach also remind you that this is still an Algarve fishing village. There is a multi-storey car park on the right hand side at the bottom of the hill near the beach and a large car park at the top of the hill.
♦ Accessible, water sports, sunbeds, restaurants, car park.
♦ Olhos d' Água Beach Hotels
Praia do Barranco das Belharucas
This beach is the beginning of a huge stretch of sand backed by red and ochre cliffs that continues uninterrupted from the cliffs at the eastern end of Olhos d'Água to Vilamoura marina. There is a direct access to the beach with parking spaces for disabled visitors but you can also walk around or over the cliffs from Olhos d'Agua.
♦ Accessible, sunbeds, restaurant, car park.
From Praia do Barranco das Belharucas the long stretch of beach has various names - Praia da Falésia, Praia da Rocha Baixinha Poente (Accessible), Praia da Rocha Baixinha, and Praia da Rocha Baixinha Nascente (Accessible), but you are unlikely to know which bit you are on! There are various points of access along the way and the nearer to Vilamoura the easier access is for people with reduced mobility. Large sections of the sand have boarded walkways to the sunbeds and easy access from the car parks. There are sunbeds, water sports, restaurants, car parks and much of this stretch of beach is accessible.