photo of Praia do Camilo beach in Lagos Portugal

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Last Updated on February 22, 2021

I’m of the opinion that every Portugal itinerary should end with the beautiful beaches of the Algarve. This sun-soaked region on Portugal’s southern coast is just a few hours from Lisbon, but feels like a world away. Get tips on the best Algarve beaches for your Portugal trip, with golden sands, a turquoise-green sea, and coves flanked by jaw-dropping cliffs.

First-time visitors to the Algarve beaches should be prepared for an explosion of photo-worthy scenery.   I, myself, am unlikely ever to recover from my first views of the beautiful rust-colored cliffs at Praia da Falesia during golden hour.  And there are so many beautiful Algarve beaches to discover, along with charming villages and fantastic regional cuisine.

It’s easy to get your fill of gorgeous Algarve beaches (praias) on day trips by car.  Choose one as a base to explore from, and spend a few days or a week hopping from one picturesque cove to the next.  From the wild Western Algarve coast, to the rugged central beach cliffs and sandy Eastern shores with barrier islands, let’s explore the 10 best Algarve beaches for your Portugal vacation!

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Pin these Algarve beaches tips to your travel inspo board!


In this Guide to the Most Beautiful Algarve Beaches

Praia da Marinha | Praia da Falesia | Praia de Odeceixe | Praia Dona Ana | Praia do Camilo | Praia da Rocha | Praia de Carvoeiro | Praia de Benagil | Praia de Cabanas | Praia da Bordeira | Algarve Planning Tips


Map of the Best Beaches in Algarve


Praia da Marinha, Lagos | Marinha Beach

aeria view of Praia da Marinha in Algarve Portugal

Praia da Marinha is the celebrity entry on this list: made famous by Portugal tourism ads, it’s instantly recognizable to anyone who’s been longing for an Algarve vacation.  You’ll want to get photos of the dramatic cliffs and sweeping views overlooking its golden beach and blue-green waters. Praia da Marinha is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe and the world.

There is actually a hiking trail here, the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, which stretches 3.5 miles along the cliffs between Praia da Marinha and Carvoeiro.  But you won’t need to go that far for great photos of this spot!  

As with many Algarve beaches, you’ll descend a looong set of steps to get to the beach.  At beach level, you’ll be greeted by soft sand, calm waters, and stunning views of the high cliffs and sea.  Walk down the beach to see the famous “M” rock formation.  Praia da Marinha can get busy during high tourist season (summer), so arrive early for a close parking spot and less-crowded beach.

Praia da Marinha Visit Tips

Activities: snorkeling, hiking, swimming (children should be supervised)

Amenities: Parking: Y | Restaurant: In season| Restrooms: In season| Loungers: Y


aerial photo of Suites Alba beach resort

Where to Stay Near Praia da Marinha

Top hotel pick: Suites Alba Resort & Spa, a gorgeous cliff-top resort with access to the remote Albandeira Beach. It has an infinity pool with Atlantic Ocean views, a peaceful garden and an elegant restaurant.

Search more Lagos hotels | Search nearby Airbnbs


Recommended Praia da Marinha Tours & Excursions


Praia da Falesia, Albufeira | Falesia Beach

photo of Praia da Falesia

Praia da Falesia is wide and long, making your first glimpses from above even more impressive.  Its cinnamon-colored cliffs are a breathtaking contrast against the green sea below.  I arrived in the late afternoon just in time for golden hour, and it’s one of my favorite memories of the Algarve.  (Along with the goat-crossing we experienced along back roads to get there!)

Falesia Beach is located between Vilamoura and Albufeira, and is easy to reach by car. There are also boutique and luxury resorts within walking distance. From the main parking lot, get to the beach down a moderately steep street, and then a long set of steps.  There are loungers here available to rent and even dance parties some nights on the beach.

The long Praia da Falesia includes several smaller beaches.  It begins at Praia Barranco das Belharucas in Olhos de Agua and extends to the main area known as Acoteias with its iconic red cliffs.  These cliffs slowly descend as you continue past Praia da Rocha Baixinha to Villamoura, which is the calmer end of the beach better for kids. There are beachside restaurants and hotels along the way past Acoteias.

Praia da Falesia Visit Tips

Activities: surfing, hiking, paragliding, SUP, kayaking, swimming (children should be supervised)

Amenities: Parking: yes | Restaurant: In season | Restrooms: In season | Loungers: Y | Lifeguards: In season | Blue Flag: Y


Epic Sana - Praia da Falesia

Where to Stay Near Praia da Falesia

Top hotel pick: Pine Cliffs Hotel or Epic Sana, a luxury resort overlooking Falésia Beach with direct beach access, a spa, an indoor pool, and five outdoor swimming pools.

Search more Albufeira hotels | Search nearby Airbnbs | Check all Albufeira Airbnbs


Recommended Praia da Falesia Tours & Excursions


Praia de Odeceixe, Costa Vicentina | Odeceixe Beach

photo of Praia de Odeceixe

Praia de Odeceixe spans the border between the Alentejo and Algarve regions, in an area of Portugal’s Western coast known locally as the Costa Vicentina.  The Western Algarve is famed for its dramatic, rugged coastlines and beautiful wild beaches, which are protected as a natural park.  Beaches in this region are more remote, but the payoff is less-crowded shores and an untouched setting.

Odeceixe is a wide sandy beach at the mouth of the River Seixe (Rio de Seixe) near the coastal village of Aljezur. This beach is popular with surfers, due to the surf break formed by the joining river.  On the other side of the beach, the river forms a small, calmer lagoon.  There is also a hike that ends here, The Fishermen’s Trail, which is part of the Rota Vicentina hiking circuit.  Walk a little of the trail for the views and watch the sunset from the restaurant!

Note: on the southern end of Odeceixe is Praia das Adegas, a small cove which is designated as a “naturist” (clothing optional) beach.

Praia de Odeceixe Visit Tips

Activities: surfing, hiking, kayaking, SUP, swimming in the river portion of the beach – children should be supervised, and watch for flags and the change of tide coming in.  Learn to surf and rent boards, wetsuits, SUP and other equipment from the surf schools on the beach.

Amenities: Parking: Y | Restaurant: Y – above the beach | Restrooms: Y | Showers: Y | Loungers: Yes | Umbrellas: Y | Lifeguards: In season | Blue Flag: Y


Quinta Pero Vicente - Praia de Odeceixe

Where to Stay Near Praia de Odeceixe

Top Stay: Quinta Pero Vicente, picturesque farmstay rooms in a traditional white-washed house in a countryside location. Pet-friendly, with free rental bicycles and included local breakfast.

Check more hotels in Aljezur |Search nearby Airbnbs


Recommended Praia de Odeceixe Tours & Excursions


Praia Dona Ana, Lagos | Dona Ana Beach

photo of Praia Dona Ana  beach in Algarge Portugal

Backed by limestone cliffs, Praia Dona Ana close to Lagos is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve. There are stunning views from above of its clear green waters and rugged rock formations.  These rocks block the wind, creating calm waters good for families. They also make it a dramatic place to watch sunset!

There is a long set of steps here to get to the beach, although not as many as some of the others on this list.  The golden sand here is coarser than other Algarve beaches, and there are more shells to discover.  Beach chairs and umbrellas are available, and there is a beachside restaurant. This beach gets busy in summer, so come early (or late for sunset views).

Note: some people might want water shoes due to the shells. Watch for rocks in the water as well.

Praia Dona Ana Visit Tips

Activities: snorkeling, swimming

Amenities: Parking: Y | Restaurant: Y | Restrooms: Y | Loungers: Y | Umbrellas: Y | Lifeguards: In season | Blue Flag: Y


The Salty Lodge Lagos Algarve hotel

Where to Stay Near Praia Dona Ana

Top Stay: The Salty Lodge which offers bright rooms with a terrace and sea views. Located in the heart of Lagos, a 5-minute walk to beaches.

Search more Lagos hotels | Search nearby Airbnbs


Recommended Praia Dona Ana Tours & Excursions


Praia do Camilo, Lagos | Camilo Beach

photo of Praia do Camilo beach in lagos portugal

Praia do Camilo is widely known as one of the most gorgeous beaches in the Algarve.  It has the characteristic high cliffs of many beaches in the region, as well as clear green waters and views of Lagos and the Ponta da Piedade rock formations.  Located next to Praia Dona Ana, this beach is smaller, but also good for swimming and snorkeling.

To reach Camilo Beach, it’s a dramatic 200 steps down (and back up) as you zigzag along the limestone rocks.  Praia Camilo has soft sands, and is actually two small beaches connected by a tunnel through the rocks.  Rent a kayak or take a boat excursion to explore the coastline’s rock formations.

Praia do Camilo Visit Tips

Activities: Snorkeling, swimming, kayaking

Amenities: Parking: Y | Restaurant: Y | Restrooms: Y | Loungers: Y | Umbrellas: Y | Lifeguards: In season | Blue Flag: Y


The Salty Lodge Lagos Algarve hotel

Where to Stay Near Praia do Camilo

Top Stay: The Salty Lodge which offers bright rooms with a terrace and sea views. Located in the heart of Lagos, a 5-minute walk to beaches.

Search more Lagos hotels | Check nearby Airbnbs


Recommended Praia do Camilo Tours & Excursions


Praia da Rocha, Portimao | Rocha Beach

photo of Praia da Rocha

Praia da Rocha is the main beach in the central Algarve city of Portimao.  Surrounded by dramatic rock formations, Rocha is a large, wide beach which gets busy in the summer.  Still, if you want more access to amenities like beach bars and restaurants as well as room for a stroll, Praia do Rocha is a great Algarve beach for you.  There is even a boardwalk which spans the length of the beach, and many options to book excursions and boat trips.

At the western end, you can reach the next beach over, Praia dos Tres Castelos, through a tunnel in the rocks. There is also a viewpoint between the two beaches.  Praia da Rocha is a very busy beach, and very built up with resorts, bars, and restaurants – but there is more room to spread out during the peak season, and many things to do.

Praia da Rocha Visit Tips

Activities: Snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, walking, beach volleyball

Amenities: Parking: Y | Restaurant: Y | Restrooms: Y | Loungers: Yes | Umbrellas: Y | Lifeguards: In season | Blue Flag: Y


Casa la Concha Airbnb apartment - Praia da Rocha

Where to Stay Near Praia da Rocha

Top stay: Casa da Concha Airbnb apartment with exceptional sea views and 5-star reviews. With parking and in walking distance to supermarket, restaurants, shops, transport, nightlife.

Search Praia da Rocha hotels | Check nearby Airbnbs


Recommended Praia da Rocha Tours & Excursions


Praia de Carvoeiro | Carvoiero Beach

aerial view of Praia de Carvoeiro

Praia de Carvoeiro is the main beach in the central Algarve town of Carvoeiro.  This small crescent-shaped beach is flanked by sandstone cliffs, with views of the colorful homes and boats of the village.  I think this is one of the prettiest Algarve beaches for views of a seaside town.

There are many shops, bars, and restaurants close to the beach, and you can book excursions to see the nearby Benagil cave or rent kayaks or jet skis.  The sea is usually calm here, but it gets deep quickly, so use caution if swimming. This is another beach where some might want water shoes, since there are more shells in the sand.

A boardwalk takes you along the coast for views of the rock formations as well as sunset.  Follow the boardwalk to a fortress, caves, and rock formations, which include a restaurant built into the rocks.

Praia de Carvoeiro Visit Tips

Activities: Swimming, kayaking, boat trips

Amenities: Parking: Y | Restaurant: Y | Restrooms: Y | Loungers: Y | Umbrellas: Y | Lifeguards: In season | Blue Flag: Y


Algar Seco Parque - Carvoeiro beaches

Where to Stay Near Praia de Carvoeiro

Top Stay: Algar Seco Parque, located at the top of hills overlooking the sea, just a 10-minute walk from the center of Carvoeiro and its beautiful beach.

Search more Carvoiero hotels | Check nearby Airbnbs


Recommended Praia de Carvoeiro Tours & Excursions


Praia de Benagil, Carvoeiro | Benagil Beach

photo of Praia de Benagil beach in Algarve Portugal

The Praia de Benagil is a small beach flanked by golden cliffs. It’s a popular destination for watersports: kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and boat excursions along the coast including to the famous Benagil Cave (Algar de Benagil).  Book excursions in advance if possible to avoid long waits during the busy season.  

Benagil Cave is actually just next to the beach, and is accessible by boat, kayak, or paddleboard. To get the best light for photos, visit early or late in the day.  It’s possible but not recommended to swim to the cave, due to the waves and boats in the area. You can also hike along the top of the cliffs along the sea to view the cave from above.  Adventurous people can be spotted cliff jumping into the water below on the western end of the beach.

Praia de Benagil Visit Tips

Activities: Swimming, hiking, kayaking, SUP, excursions

Amenities: Parking: Y | Restaurant: Y | Restrooms: Y | Loungers: N  | Umbrellas: N | Lifeguards: In season | Blue Flag: N


Algar Seco Parque - Carvoeiro beaches

Where to Stay Near Praia de Benagil

Top Stay: Algar Seco Parque, located at the top of hills overlooking the sea, just a 10-minute walk from the center of Carvoeiro.

Search more Carvoiero hotels | Check nearby Airbnbs


Recommended Praia de Benagil Tours & Excursions


Praia de Cabanas, Tavira | Cabanas Beach

photo of Praia de Cabanas beach in Tavira, Algarve

The beautiful Praia de Cabanas is actually a barrier island that forms part of the Ria Formosa lagoon and natural park.  It’s a 5-minute water taxi ride from the seaside village of Cabanas de Tavira.  The beach is long and narrow, with soft white sand and dunes that are uncommon on Algarve beaches.

A boardwalk takes you from the dock to the beach and a beachfront restaurant and bar.  There are also many restaurants in the village of Cabanas.  Get my best tips for visiting Tavaira and Cabanas – including how to stay in a 17th century star fort!

Praia de Cabanas Visit Tips

Activities: Swimming, walking, sailing, wind surfing

Amenities:* Parking: Y | Restaurant: Y | Restrooms: Y | Loungers: Y  | Umbrellas: Y | Lifeguards: In season | Blue Flag: Y

*All facilities here are seasonal


Casa Viana - Cabanas de Tavira

Where to Stay Near Praia de Cabanas

Top Stay: Casa Viana on the Cabanas boardwalk facing the Ria Formosa, in the peaceful area of Cabanas de Tavira. With a terrace for sea views and sunsets.

Search more Tavira hotels | Check nearby Airbnbs


Recommended Praia de Cabanas Tours & Excursions


Praia da Bordeira, Costa Vicentina | Bordiera Beach

photo of Praia da Bordeira

A haven for surfers and nature lovers, Praia da Bordeira is another stunning Algarve beach located in the Costa Vicentina natural park.  Bordeira is a large, wide beach with rugged cliffs, sand dunes, and deep turquoise waters.  Views from the boardwalks and viewpoint are stunning.

On the southern side of the beach, it’s bordered by the Bordeira River, which forms a calmer lagoon.  To get to the beach from the boardwalk, you might need to wade through it at high tide.  Praia da Bordeira is a popular beach for water sports, mainly surfing and kitesurfing.  The waves and current here can be very strong, even for experienced surfers, so use caution and watch for warning flags.

Praia da Bordeira Visit Tips

Activities: Surfing, walking, sailing, wind surfing

Amenities: Parking: Y | In season | Restrooms: In season | Loungers: N  | Umbrellas: N | Lifeguards: In season | Blue Flag: N 


Monte da Vilarinha - Praia da Bordeira

Where to Stay Near Praia da Bordeira

Top Stay: Monte Da Vilarinha guesthouse in a spectacular setting of the Vicentine Coast Natural Park. With panoramic views, modern apartments, and an outdoor swimming pool.

Search more Carrapateira hotels | Check nearby Airbnbs


Recommended Praia da Bordeira Tours & Excursions


More Algarve Vacation Planning Tips

When to Visit the Algarve

This region of Portugal has more than 300 sunny days per year.  Visit in May or September to avoid the summer crowds.  Check averages for your trip dates from HolidayWeather.com.


Getting to the Algarve’s Best Beaches

The easiest way to reach the Algarve is to fly into the Faro airport.  There are direct flights to Faro from Lisbon and many other European cities.  From Faro, you can rent a car.

Or from Lisbon, the Algarve is about a 2.5-hour drive.  If you’re coming from Porto, consider a stopover in Evora to see its Roman ruins, Celtic monoliths, and bone chuch on your way to the coast.

For me, driving in Algarve was the easiest place in Portugal, because I wasn’t navigating as many narrow winding streets like in Sintra or Porto!

Praia da Marinha - best algarve beaches

How Long to Stay in the Algarve

If you want to see a few of the beaches, I recommend staying at least 3 days.  For maximum relaxation as well as to see all the sights, 5-7 days is perfect.  Consider splitting a week between two hotels – there are so many charming boutique Algarve stays, and it will be easier to see beaches in different regions.


Where to Stay As a Base in the Algarve

Lagos

Centrally-located Lagos is one of the easiest places to stay with many beautiful close beaches like Praias Dona Ana and Camilo.  Check Lagos hotels

Portimao

Portimao is home to Praia da Rocha and is also centrally located.  There are many options for hotels and resorts here, as well as restaurants and things to do.  Check Portimao hotels

Faro

If you want to visit both the central and western Algarve beaches, Faro could be a good base.  Check Faro hotels

Carvoeiro

Carvoiero is another central Algarve destination and a great place to stay if you like quaint villages and Benagil Cave is on your must-see list.  Check Carvoeiro hotels

Albufeira

There are many luxury resorts and great restaurants in Albufeira, as well as beautiful Praia Falesia.  Check Albufeira hotels

Aljezur or Carrapateira

If you want to visit the beaches of the Western Algarve, Aljezur and Carrapateira could be a good central base.  Check Aljezur hotels or Carrapateira stays

Tavira

If you want to experience more history in the Algarve and also have the unspoiled beaches of the Ria Formosa reserve, consider Tavira as a base.  Check Tavira hotels and don’t miss my guide to Tavira and Cabanas de Tavira.

Tavira, Portugal: Where To Stay In The Algarve

Bypass the crowds of Faro & Lagos and head straight to Tavira, Portugal. Learn why Tavira’s stunning beaches & location make it where to stay in the Algarve!

Read more


Looking for more space or a local experience? Check out Airbnb options in Algarve.


More inspiration and tips for your Portugal vacation:

Things To Do in Evora, Portugal: Visiting Portugal’s Museum City

Evora is a UNESCO site with Roman ruins, medieval cathedral & bone church ossuary. Find out all the things to do in Evora, Portugal plus restaurants and historic hotels!

Read more

Chapel of Bones Evora, Portugal + San Francisco Church & Nativities

Evora, Portugal is a UNESCO World Heritage site with so much history! Don’t miss the San Francisco Church, home to the Evora Chapel of Bones and a collection of nativity sets from around the world.

Read more


Pin this guide to the best Algarve beaches for planning your trip!


Booking Resources & Tips for Your Trip

Flights | Check routes with Skyscanner or Google Flights. I usually book direct with the airline for ease of seat selection as well as changes or cancellations.

🏨 Hotels | My favorite site for the best rates and flexible bookings is Booking.com. After just 2 stays in 2 years, you can get special perks with their Genius program.

🧳 Travel Gear | Check out my favorite gear and packing lists for resources for your trip.

🏡 Local Stays & Experiences |Airbnbs let you live a local and have extra amenities for your trip. Their Experiences are one of my favorite ways to delve into local culture.

🧾 Travel Insurance | Travel insurance can protect you in case of illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. I use World Nomads for my trips, with coverage designed for adventurous travelers including overseas medical, evacuation, baggage, and a range of adventure sports and activities.

🌄 Group Adventure Tours | Small group adventure tours from G Adventures or Intrepid Travel are the perfect solution for traveling on a budget or with minimal planning. Read my reviews here.

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Adrienne, The Haphazard Traveler

I used to be a hot travel mess, but I got better! I kept the name and now blog my best tips for culture and adventure travel from around the globe. Follow along for travel advice, destination info, and photography from faraway lands - and at home in Washington, D.C.

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