It is one of the main national attractions and it’s not hard to understand why, starting with the enviable coastline with some of the best and most beautiful beaches in the country, in addition to the irresistible climate, where even on the coldest days the sun keeps shining. But don’t be fooled: it is in the hottest days that the Algarve reveals itself in all its splendor. It smells and tastes like the sea, it feels like vacation, even when you are not on vacation.
From Odeceixe to Vila Real de Santo António, there is a world to discover. From the untamed beauty of Costa Vicentina to the natural charm of Ria Formosa, beaches are the main attraction, but don’t think they’re all the same. They all share crystal clear waters and fine white sand, but the landscape changes along the coast. Take Odeceixe, on the border with Costa Alentejana, the first beach in the Algarve, nestled in a very particular setting, bathed on one side by a river and on the other by the sea. Costa Vicentina actually extends to Praia do Burgau, in Vila do Bispo, hiding there, among the imposing cliffs so characteristic of the area, beaches such as Amoreira, Monte Clérigo, Arrifana, Carrapateira, or Amado, the latter two being highly sought after by surfers and bodyboarders.
Approximate number of beaches
Area square kilometers
Counties in Algarve
After Cape São Vicente near Sagres, where the Algarve takes a turn, are the calmest waters. The sea becomes less turbulent and also milder in temperature, not far from Mediterranean characteristics. It is also here that some of the most famous postcards of the Algarve are located, with beaches between cliffs and golden rocks sculpted by erosion, such as at Camilo Beach or Vau Beach. However, the most impressive view is found at Ponta da Piedade, two kilometers from Lagos, where the blue-green waters bathe the yellowish cliffs, sculpted by the sea and time. Down below, there are several caves and sheltered bays, only accessible by boat. Every day, several operators organize visits to the caves.
Some of the most popular and cosmopolitan beaches, as well as the busiest ones, are located between Lagos and Faro, from Praia da Rocha in Portimão to Praias da Galé and da Oura in Albufeira and Vilamoura. Here, days are never short and nights are always long and lively.
And then there’s the Ria Formosa Natural Park, elected as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Portugal. It stretches from the Ancão peninsula in the municipality of Loulé to Manta Rota in the municipality of Vila Real de Santo António. Along 60 kilometers of coastline, the Ria is a maze of channels, islands, salt marshes, and sandbanks. The beaches – Culatra, Armona, Fuseta, Tavira island, Cabanas or Cacela Velha – are almost always reached by boat. The sands are long, almost wild, and the sea is paradisiacal, as is the case with Manta Rota, Altura, Praia Verde, or Monte Gordo.
The Algarve is a harmonious blend of mountains and sea, where nature thrives in perfect harmony. As for cuisine, the region is renowned for its exquisite seafood and fish dishes.
One of the main national attractions.