Are you planning a vacation to Portugal and wondering what the best beaches in Algarve are? There are so many to choose from with beautiful rock formations and stunning turquoise waters.
How to get to Algarve
Algarve is a widely known tourist destination, which makes travel there very easy.
There is an airport in Faro that is a good one to fly into with connections from major cities.
On our trip, we flew into Porto and made our way south over the course of 5 days. We traveled in a rental car. Rental cars are reasonable in Portugal, especially after having one in Ireland! Google maps also work well throughout the country, so we had very few issues navigating.
Another option if you have flown into Lisbon or Porto is the train. There are 2 trains to take in Portugal- the Alfa Pendular (fast train) and Intercidades. The Alfa Pendular takes about 3 hours from Lisbon and Intercidades takes 3.5 hours. This public transport is simple to use.
You can also hire private transport as well.
Please note that my recommendations are based on our limited time in the region. We were only in the area for 2 ½ days. Although we had a car to tour around with, our time was limited. If you are on a beach holiday and plan on spending a week at least on the coast, you will be able to hit many more beaches than we did. Let me start by listing some of the most popular beaches, then I will add more notes on the ones we visited.
- Praia da Marinha
- Ponta de Piedade
- Praia de Dona Ana (Praia Dona Ana)
- Praia do Camilo
- Praia da Luz
- Praia da Rocha
- Praia De Odeceixe
- Praia de Arrifana
- Praia de Falesia
- Praia de Bordeira
- Praia de Benagil
- Praia da Batata
- This list could do on and on. Southern Portugal is loaded with the most fantastic beaches. If you are looking for a list of the best beaches, this is a pretty comprehensive list.
Praia do Carvoeiro
This was the first beach we visited the afternoon we drove in. We were looking forward to the golden sand and crystal clear water and Carvoeiro did not disappoint! It is located in the small village of Carvoeiro, a charming small seaside town. it was also a quick drive from Silves, where we were staying.
Parking, as with most of the beaches we visited was tricky, although there is plenty of space for parking in the surrounding area. We were lucky enough to find streetside parking on the hill that overlooks the beach. This is where the photo was taken. Our family was in awe looking out over the stunning beach and seeing this perfect spot for the first time. Great views are also found on the hills or on the top of the cliffs surrounding the beaches.
This is an easy beach to access. Several of the other beaches we visited weren't, but not this one. It is a small beach, but don't let that deter you. There was still plenty to do. They had beach chair and umbrella rentals, kayak and boat rentals in the area, as well as many tours.
While I have heard the sea can be calm in this area, it is also unpredictable. There can be strong waves as well, so be mindful of small children. This was a beach that had a lot of families at it, so don't stress too much with the littles, just keep an eye on them.
Surrounding the beach there are plenty of stores, restaurants, and beach bars.
As with most beaches in the area, this is a sandy beach surrounded by golden cliffs.
Praia do Castelo
This was the 2nd beach we visited and is a blue flag beach. This means it is a beautiful, well-cared for, and clean beach. This is a nature lovers' area! There is a parking lot with some parking. Make sure and arrive early to ensure your spot. It is a short walk from the parking lot to the beach.
They have beach rentals and a restaurant right on the beach. This is where we took our sea kayaking tour. It was so much fun and I highly recommend it! Our tour took us through some of the beautiful sea caves and hidden coves. Working our way across the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean is a great way to see the area.
There are also boat trips in the area as well if you aren't into kayaking.
After our tour, we spent several hours relaxing on this beach. There were calm waters and it was the perfect day for laying out.
Praia Dona Ana
We only took a quick visit to both Praia de Dona ana and Praia do Camilo. I wish we had more time to visit both, but we didn't. This is an iconic beach that you have probably seen in photos. These beaches are accessed from a set of stairs that reach down to the beach. Even the stairs leading to this beach are picturesque. This is a family-friendly beach. The water can be calmer as the cliffs surrounding the beach block much of the stronger winds.
This is not a beach with a lot of water activities or a party crowd. It is a little quieter, which we like.
If you are traveling in the summer months, know that this beach gets VERY busy. Arrive early for a spot and parking. This is a popular destination and fills quickly.
Praia do Camilo
This is a great place to work off the calories you ate in those pastel de nata. It is a long walk down the stairs to the beach, but I promise, it feels much longer on the way back up the stairs!
It is worth it though. The beach is surrounded by high cliffs that are the most incredible backdrop. There is soft sand that your immediately want to sink into.
The rock formations of Ponta da Piedade help to protect this water and keep the area relatively calm. You can rent kayaks nearby and also snorkel in the area.
The beach is made up of 2 small areas that are connected through a cave tunnel. It is pretty cool!
This is a smaller beach, so make sure and visit at low tide. If you are traveling in peak season, make sure to get there early. It is a small parking lot and fills up quickly.
Praia do Benagil
This is a small beach and fills quickly. Make sure to arrive early to get your spot and to find parking. The nearness to the famous caves makes it a very popular beach.
It is also right next to the cave of Benagil, called Algar de Benagil. This is the famous cave you see all over the internet.
The cave is only accessed by boat (which we did on this tour), kayak or SUP, or swimming for the brave soul.
Although we don't always take tours, I highly recommend this one for seeing the surrounding area at a reasonable price.
Are the beaches in Algarve worth visiting? Without a doubt, yes. They are beautiful and inspiring. Plan the trip and make it happen. Happy travels!