Best of the Best Beaches in the Algarve, Portugal!
The Algarve is the stunning southern coastline of Portugal stretching over 150 kilometers in length. The Algarve boasts over 100 beaches, many with gorgeous golden sands and crystalline seas. Some are large and easily accessible, while some are small and secluded and can only be reached by boat.
Each beach in the Algarve has something new and unique to offer. You’ll find beaches that are perfect for watersports such as swimming, surfing, bodyboarding, snorkeling and diving. You’ll find beaches that are ideal for families looking for adventures or for couples who just want to relax and enjoy the sun. You’ll find delicious seafood, breathtaking clifftops, powdery sands, glittering seas, incredible rock formations and more.
With so many gorgeous beaches, it’s hard to narrow it down, but here’s a list of the best beaches in the Algarve.
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1 – Luz
Luz beach (Praia da Luz means beach of light) is approximately six kilometers west of Lagos.
This beautiful beach is lined with cliffs and surrounded by hills. On the beach, there are tiny pools that have been created by rock formations, perfect for chilling out in.
Luz is one of the best beaches in the Algarve for couples. It offers a peaceful setting to relax and unwind as well as the opportunity to swim in lovely warm seawater or take a romantic walk along a picturesque promenade.
There are plenty of cafes and restaurants around, making it easy to spend an entire day at Luz beach. Sunbeds are available to hire along with umbrellas, so you won’t need to pack anything other than a pair of sunglasses.
2 – Carvoeiro
Carvoeiro beach is one of the best beaches in the Algarve for families who are looking to relax with a healthy dose of sun, sea, and sand. In the off-peak season, it’s also one of the best beaches in the Algarve for couples who are looking for a quiet romantic getaway.
Carvoeiro is a charming traditional Portuguese fishing town, but it also offers plenty to do in the surrounding areas such as boat tours, hiking trails, and plenty of historical towns to wander.
Check out our full guide to the best things to do in Carvoeiro.
3 – Vilamoura
Vilamoura is quite an expansive beach. It’s located on the central Algarve and is close to many resorts which means it’s usually very well populated, especially in the summer months.
This beach is one of the best beaches in the Algarve for families with children as it offers a lifeguard service. Also, there are many shops and restaurants, so everything you need will be nearby.
One of the major selling points of Vilamoura beach is that it’s accessible from many different levels. It’s a blue flag beach which means it has great water quality, is litter free, and has excellent facilities.
4 – Careanos
Careanos beach is located in the city of Portimao (the largest city in western Algarve). It’s a very small beach lined with imposing orange and red cliffs. Because it’s so small, it also happens to be one of the best secluded beaches in the Algarve.
For those who are fascinated by rocks, this is the beach for you. If you take some time to explore the area, you’ll happen upon multiple caves and stone arches. You’re also likely to uncover many fossils.
Please note that the only access to this beach is via an incredibly steep set of stairs.
Check out our full guide to the best things to do in Portimao.
Check out our recommendations for where to stay in Portimao, the best areas and hotels!
5 – Marinha
Marinha is one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal, however, it’s best not to go down to the beach during high tide, as the sand will be almost entirely covered by water.
This is one of the best Algarve beaches for families visiting as there are so many activities on offer. There are boat rides (you can catch a boat from Marinha beach to the Benagil caves), picturesque walks (such as the idyllic Marinha cliff walk where you’ll find picnic tables on top of the cliffs), and an abundance of sea life making it one of the best beaches for snorkelling in the Algarve.
6 – Fuseta
Fuseta is a fishing town near Faro. It has a small harbor with lots of cute and colorful boats. The town is very small with a population of 2,000.
The beach is expansive and is backed by dunes, but it’s still one of the most secluded beaches in the Algarve. This beach is perfect if you want to witness nature in a peaceful and tranquil setting.
The water is warm, clear, and full of marine life, making it ideal for swimming or snorkeling.
7 – Tonel
Tonel beach, located at the western side of Sagres, is popular for surfing and bodyboarding and happens to be the main beach for surf schools in the area. The waves are small in the summer which attracts beginner surfers, whilst the winter waves are much bigger, attracting more experienced surfers.
Aside from being popular with the surfing community, in general, the beach doesn’t attract too many people, as it’s quite remote and is entirely surrounded by breath-taking cliffs.
You can see the famous Sagres Fort from the beach. There is also a café and restaurant located on the beach so you can comfortably spend the entire day there. However, if you do want to venture a little further, the town of Sagres has lots to offer.
Please note that if you choose to swim at Tonel beach you’ll need to be careful, as there are strong currents, especially around the cliff areas. There will be lifeguards around to help, but it’s probably best not to swim unless you’re a very experienced swimmer.
8 – Amado
Amado beach is located on the west coast of the Algarve. It’s another beach that is great for surfers, offering a variety of wave conditions for surfing all year round. However, there are no surf schools since Amado beach is a protected area.
It’s a relatively large beach that is surrounded by incredible red, pink, and orange cliffs. The cliffs on Amado beach aren’t just stunning to look at, they do a great job at protecting the beach from the northern winds, making it a great place for sunbathing.
This beach is one of the best beaches for families in the Algarve, but it also has a lot to offer nature lovers too. It can get quite crowded at peak times but not as crowded as some of the more popular beaches on the Southern coast.
9 – Camilo
This is probably one of the most iconic beaches in the Algarve. It’s located in Lagos and boasts golden sands and a shimmering shoreline. The beach offers stunning rock formations and striking orange cliffs. Once you reach the beach, you’ll also find a tunnel through a rock wall that will take you to another smaller beach!
To get to the beach you have to navigate your way down lots of wooden steps, but once you get there it’ll be well worth it. Be sure to bring your snorkeling equipment as this is another beach that offers an incredible underwater experience. If underwater isn’t your thing, you can always stay on top of the water and rent a kayak.
If what you’re looking for is one of the best secluded beaches in the Algarve, then you’ve found it. Unless you plan to visit in the summer months when it transforms into one of the most popular beaches in the area.
10 – Pescadores
Pescadores is right near Albufeira’s old town. It’s easily accessible and even has an escalator, making it one of the best beaches for families in the Algarve. It takes away all of the stress that can come with transporting children, pushchairs, and baggage to the beach.
Pescadores means ‘Fisherman’s Beach’. It used to be the town where all the fishermen’s boats were launched from. This is no longer the case, but you’ll still find plenty of boats there. As you’d imagine with any fishing town, seafood restaurants are dotted around everywhere. If seafood is your thing, be sure to indulge in the catch of the day.
11 – Vale Do Lobo
Lobo beach is a little different to some of the other beaches in the Algarve as it’s part of a luxury self-contained complex.
It boasts thousands of holiday homes, offers all kinds of leisure activities (it even has its own golf course), and has a comprehensive program of entertainment and events.
With its blue flag status, 24-hour security, and medical assistance, it’s probably the best beach in the Algarve for families and couples.
12 – Armona
Last but not least is Armona beach which can be found on Armona Island. Armona Island is one of a series of small islands located in Ria Formosa national park.
This beach is only accessible by boat. Most people travel there by water taxi or ferry which takes approximately 15 minutes.
The sand on the beach is powdery white and perfect for sunbathing. The water is warm and welcoming making it the best beach for swimming in the Algarve.
There are a few restaurants and bars on the Island and even a campsite for those who wish to stay overnight!
So, there you have it – the 12 best beaches in the Algarve. If you don’t believe me, go and see for yourself.