Praia da Luz & The Algarve Information

Praia da Luz Guide

Algarve Beaches
Luz Holiday Information

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Algarve Beaches -
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Some of the Beaches on The Algarve, Portugal

Even though the the Algarve is only some 90 miles long and 30 miles at the widest point, there are still more than 100 miles of beaches. About 150 of them have names, thirty of which are European Union 'Blue Flag' beaches which I guess makes them the 'real' beaches. They are among the best and cleanest in Europe with most of the main beaches (indicated) having Lifeguards on safety patrol at least during the peak season. I've listed just some below, which I'll add to, as I discover, visit (the ones with more detail and possibly my photographs) or just brief notes if I am told about them or have found them elsewhere on the web. This section will never be complete as I reckon it will take several years to visit all of the possibilities!
Algarve Beaches - Luz-Info.comSome of the better beaches are not directly or easily accessible from the coastal towns ( in fact at the south western tip around Sagres, they can be some distance along along precarious dirt roads and steep paths ),  These are the ones that can be more 'natural' and picturesque and are worth the effort to 'track down'.
There is plenty of choice when it comes to Algarve beaches, enough in fact to guarantee pleasing everyone.
On the west coast ( from Odeceixe to Ponta da Sagres ) there are more varied beaches. Being open to the Atlantic Ocean they normally present significantly different conditions to those found along the southern coastline. This stretch is quite rugged with impressive cliffs formations separating the beaches. The winds, which can be intense and (believe it or not) very cold at times, give rise to large sand dunes on the longer stretches of beach. The sea is usually quite choppy with big waves ( perfect for surfers ) but are often combined with a dangerous fast undercurrent. Be warned. However if you are there for the scenery it can't be beaten.
The southern coast ( from Ponta da Sagres all the way to Vila Real de Santa Antonio ) has more smaller secluded beaches (usually in coves) and are more subject to seasonal weather conditions at the south-western end. They gradually become more open and extensive as you move south-east. As it is only a couple of hours drive ( by the smart motorway ) from one end of the coast to the other you can experience changing scenery, and even sea conditions within a relatively short driving distance.
Some of the main / larger beaches use the safety flag system -  Red  Flag - Bathing forbidden ( do not ignore this one! ),  Yellow  Flag - Bathing with caution,  Green  Flag - Safe to swim. A chequered flag ( usually blue and white ) indicates the lifeguard is temporarily away from the beach. The flag system does not operate on all beaches and usually only between June 1st and September 30th ( the officially recognised 'bathing season' ). Take care when there is a strong wind and there are usually strong undercurrents where there are big waves ( this is especially so on the West Coast beaches ).
Many of the beaches, in or near to the holiday resorts, offer most water sports facilities as well as bars, restaurant food and snacks.
Just follow any signs that indicate “Praia”  (which means “beach” in Portuguese) and I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed with what you find.
 Safety Note:  Those wonderful cooling sea breezes that come off of the Med and certainly 'around the corner' the Atlantic hide the fact that you could be being 'incinerated' by 90+° temperatures. Pack tons of lotion and be careful!
 Warning:  Camping on Beaches is tempting but is forbidden. Portugal has countrywide policy banning camping on its beaches. This ruling is particularly enforced along the Algarve where there are large expanses of deserted beach. There are regular police patrols, even in the most remote locations and you will receive receive a substantial fine ( 100+ ) if caught.

Algarve West Coast

Algarve North West beach map

West Coast Algarve Menu


A long beach, cut in two by the mouth of the Seixe creek. The resort is peaceful and family oriented with facilities for visitors. There are impressive views of the sea from the Miradouro da Ponta Branca. Snack bar, Restaurant. Sunbeds. Blue Flag beach. Lifeguard. Road Access. Close by is the old Moorish town of Odeciexe complete with a fort on the hill.


A very narrow, little visited beach.


Quiet, little frequented beach. Mainly gravel with sandy spots. No road access. Steep pathway. No facilities.

Vale dos Homens

Quiet, little frequented beach. No facilities.
Getting there: From Alijezur follow the EN 120 to the north ( in the direction of Lisbon ), to the village of Rogil. In the middle of Rogil follow a sign directing you to the beach of Vales dos Homens ( tarred road ).


Quiet, little frequented beach. No road access. No facilities.


Amoreira and Monte Clerigo ( below ) lie next to each other, separated by rocks. Both are popular surfing locations. Amoreira has a proper road almost to the beach, then stairways or a pathway through the wood. There are facilities for visitors and is supervised during the summer months.
Getting there: In Aljezur, close to the gym "Pavilhâo Municipal Gimnodesportivo", there is a signpost towards the Beach of Amoreira. The road to the beach is about 8 km.

Monte Clerigo

Monte Clerigo is a small fishing village with cottages right to the waters edge. A blue flag beach, supervised in the summer months. There are a couple of restaurants and cafes to serve visitors. The coastline is punctuated by some bizarre rock formations, ending at Ponta da Atalaia, ( Lookout Point ).
Getting there: From Aljezur go south in the direction of Bordeira. At the next crossing turn to the right, following the signpost to the beaches of Monte Clérigo and Arrifana ( below ). Follow the road signs, until you come to another crossing. Turn to the right and proceed down the road which will take you to Monte Clérigo Beach.

Praia da Arrafina

This is a beach which also is considered to be reasonably safe for swimming with quite stupendous views from the top of the road leading down to the beach. Take the road ( heading north to Lisbon ) from Lagos. Just before reaching the small town of Aljezur take the turning left when you see the name “Arrifana”. The road splits, right to to Clerigo and the beach, to the left for Arrafina. On reaching Arrifana you will find the beach on your left at the bottom of a very steep narrow road with little or no parking area at the bottom ( see the photograph ). A long stretch of sand sheltered by cliffs with a picturesque fishing port. The Moorish prince and poet, and recluse, Ibn Caci ( 12th century ) is linked to the village. There are ruins of an old 17th Century fort built to defend the tuna fishermen from marauders ( like so many of the others to be found along the Algarve coast ). At the end of the cliffs Pedra da Agulha ( Needle Rock ) rises impressively from the sea. A visit to this beach out of season ( for parking reasons ) is to be recommended.


A pretty pebble beach. Surfers are just about the only visitors. No facilities. Easy track access.


A beautiful beach that sees few visitors.

Vale Figueiras

Has few visitors despite the picturesque beach and good surf. A Surfcamp location. Easy access. No facilities.

Praia da Bordeira

A exceptionally long west coast beach, just north of Carrapateira and its spectacular cliffs (can be reached by car). It can be reached by travelling north from Vila do Bispo, then after passing the small village of Carrapateira, turn where at the sign that reads “Praia” ( beach ), there is plenty of parking. A long sandy beach with many sand dunes. Its a great place to learn to surf as it is rock free and there is plenty of room to manoeuvre. It is virtually deserted out of the season except for the keen surfers. A good place to walk. There are a couple of snack bars / bars just off the beach. Life Guard.
There are the ruins of a former defensive fort built to repel pirate attacks ( 17th century ).  Between the this beach and Amado lies the rock formation of Pontal, surrounded bays and high cliffs.

West Tip

Algarve - Western Tip

West Tip Algarve Menu


Near to Amado the so-called Pedra do Cavaleiro ( Knight's Rock ) stands just off shore. Easy access. Beach bars. Surfing competitions are held here. Supervised in the summer months.


A small beach with a broad stretch of sand.


An isolated beach. Access is difficult.


A series of broad beaches separated by cliffs but with access between them. Very quiet.




Castelejo Beach
One of the few beaches on the west coast were it is safer to swim due to the lack of underlying dangerous currents. This beach is located just to the north-west of the small town of Vila do Bispo and be warned the drive is not for the faint hearted. It is a long narrow road which takes you up into the hills and down again. It is one of the smaller beaches and has a completely different atmosphere to those found on the southern coastline. It may not suit everyone but those that do visit tend to return. A beach surrounded by rock formations. A single sizable Beach bar with fresh fish ( as and when they are caught ) and a welcome beer.


Stretches of sand at the foot of steep escarpments. Little visited due to poor accessibility.

Ponta Ruiva


Tonel Beach
A sheltered beach with good views of the Ponta de Sagres and Cabo de Sao Vicente. It is a Blue Flag beach but only has a lifeguard until September. Parking. Restaurant. Toilets. Strong currents, caution advised. A good surfing and diving beach.
Update: In light of a fairly recent tragedy on this beach ( 2007 ) I cannot emphasise the caution needed when using the beaches especially on the West Coast. They are not necessarily manned by lifeguards and can be extremely isolated in the off season.

Cabo de S.Vincente

The furthest South West you can go in Europe! Get the T-shirt!


Beliche Beach
A popular surfing spot. There is a lifeguard, but during the summer season only. It has a Restaurant / Cafe, Toilets. Road Access and Parking as far as the rock steps which lead down to the beach.
Follow the EN268 that connects Sagres to the Cape S.Vincente then follow the signs.

Ponta de Sagres



Telheiro Beach
Pleasant, quiet, sheltered beach. No lifeguard. No facilities. Parking nearby but difficult access via a long dirt track.


Sandy beach at the font of a small bay scooped out of the cliff. Calm.


A road / track just off of the roundabout in Sagres takes you down a the cliffs to this beach. There is parking space all the way down the track. A nice Restaurant and terrace Cafe / Bar on the beach. Showers and W.C. Sunbeds and umbrellas for hire.


Long beaches. Tourist facilities. Starting point for discovering the underwater delights of a coast dotted with caves and hollows.

Praia do Martinhal

Martinhal Beach
This beach is located in the Bay of Baleeira close to Sagres. Excellent for windsurfers. A smaller beach in a reasonably shallow bay that is sheltered to the west by Ponta da Atalaia. Blue Flag rated. Lifeguard during the summer, Restaurant, Cafe. Road Access. Parking.


Long beaches surrounded by a broad bay. Scenic islets opposite the beach. Tourist facilities


 Sandy coves on the edge of little bays. Calm. Tourist facilities.

Jose Vaz




Small isolated beaches.

Foz de Benacoitio


Salema beach
A picturesque fishing village with an active fleet. A pleasant stretch of beach well known by fossil hunters for the interesting finds in the surrounding cliffs. Plenty of tourist facilities as the village is directly on the seafront. There is a lot of building work going on around the rim of the valley and is a temporary eyesore for the rapidly developing village / town.

Boca do Rio

Boca do Rio beach
This is an easily missed exit off of the N125 as you can't even see the sea from the road. A stretch of sand along the bottom of the Boca valley crossed by two small streams. Quiet and peaceful, but can be a bit windy as it is quite exposed. No Tourist facilities here though plenty of parking. Follow the road which turns into a track up the hill ( just manageable by car ) and you will arrive at Salema the next bay along. Great views along the coast to be had here.

Cabanas / Velhas

cabanas velhas
Remote but accessible by road / track from Burgau. It has a very good beach bar / restaurant, but that's all! An old stone quayside where quarried stone used to be shipped out and the workers cottages on the hill are a feature. Definitely a hidden gem.  09/06  Not sure for how much longer as there is now a minibus service to / from several nearby hotels and also some extensive building going on at the head of the valley.  10/07  Believe it or not 'they' have removed all the rocks from the beach! There are definitely plans for this beach ( unfortunately ).




A typical fishing port looking out on the sea. Peaceful and very family oriented, but starting to get really busy these days in the high season. Tourist facilities. The beach virtually disappears at high tide and is surrounded by cliffs. It is reached by a steep cobbled street and although there are parking facilities at the foot of the slope it is advisable to leave your car at the top and walk down.

Praia da Luz

This beautiful sandy beach is overlooked by the bars and restaurants of the village itself. Not to mention the spectacular 'Rocha Negra'  ( Black Rock ) see the photograph. It has a good water sports facilities - snorkelling, windsurfing and sailing school, paddleboats and some boat trips. It is a safe beach, ideal for children.

Ponta da Piedade

If it's interesting landscapes you're after then this is a must, located near Lagos. The rocks have been sculpted into weird shapes by the sea's action. There are lots of small cove beaches to choose from.

Praia do Vau

You will find this good-sized beach at the far western end of Praia da Rocha’s seafront road. There is easy access from a car parking area. Cliffs giving afternoon shade at the far end.


This small beach takes its name from the cliff top holiday complex, which provides a lift up and down between July 15 and Sept 15. Mind you there is a charge for non-residents. Otherwise, for the fit there are steps.

Meia Praia

Being the biggest of the Lagos beaches, it forms half of the walk from Alvor to Lagos ( the other half is the entry below ). It takes its name from being part of this walk as “Meia” indicates the word “half”. The approach to this beach is from the town of Lagos and it is easily accessed. This beach is popular with windsurfers and surfers alike as it faces the open Bay of Lagos and also protected to the west by the promontory of Ponta da Piedade. The beach is possibly a little longer than that of the Alvor and there are many small beach bars to satisfy the thirst  or to briefly get out of the sun for those who wish to walk its length.


This is a massive, wide and open beach in front of the village / town of Alvor fringes the eastern half of Lagos Bay. You can walk straight on to it. It stretches just over two kilometres from the village to the west in the direction of Lagos. There are sand dunes but no cliffs. This beach acts as a sand bar creating an interior lagoon which acts as a form of port for Alvor. Some twenty years ago you could walk ( at low tide ) by beach all the way to Lagos by wading across a small sea which was then a shallow outlet from the lagoon. Popular among windsurfers, and good for other waters ports as well. Plenty of parking available. There used to be a stack of smallish beach bars in various stages of decay along its length, but now ( 2005 ) they have all gone and have been replaced by three larger new bar / restaurants accessible by a proper road, with extensive parking.


This is really a continuation of Alvor beach in front of the Torralta holiday complex tower blocks, just to the east of Alvor town.

Tres Irmaos

The eastern end of Torralta beach is marked by the rise of the golden cliffs that are characteristic of much of the western Algarve coastline. Nestling in here is this cove, translates to ‘Three Brothers’. The Car park is next to the beach.

Joao de Arens

A small stretch of sand set among cliffs, rocks and islands.

Algarve West & Centre

Map of Algarve West and Centre

West / Centre Algarve Menu

Praia da Rocha

This is probably the oldest and best know beach in the Algarve. It is located just south of the main town of Portimao and was originally much shorter in width and with a lot more charm. This beach in the past has been seriously enlarged with the sand that was pumped out during the dredging of the Portimao Harbour and at the same time meeting the needs of the many visiting tourists to this area. discovered by tourism at the end of the 19th century, it was for decades the favoured resort of rich families from Portimao, the Algarve and Andalusia in summer, and of the English in winter. The Hotel da Bela Vista, with its Belle Epoque architecture and decoration, dates from this period. There are acres of wide open sand as far as eyes can see right in front of Praia da Rocha’s seafront road. It is very popular but so big that you are sure to have plenty of room to stretch out. A tunnel at the western end leads to narrower stretches of beach, made all the more attractive by a backdrop of cliffs and pillars of rock close to the shore. At various points on the seafront road there is access to the beach by steps. There are patches of afternoon shade by the tunnel and next to the cliffs further on.
With car parking nearby and excellent facilities such as a range of bars/restaurants, deep-sea fishing, sailing, windsurfing and water-skiing it is an ideal family beach.


This small sandy beach with both a bar/restaurant and toilets by the beach is ideal for children. It has good car parking facilities.

Algar Seco










Praia da Gale

A popular spot for windsurfing and scuba diving, about 8 km ( 5 miles ) west from the centre of Albufeira. A very long stretch of sand that you can drive to. There is plenty of parking close by as the only cliffs are either end of the beach. It looks out onto the Armacco de Pera bay, where you can watch the water sports. There is a Beach bar.

Praia do Castelo

This is reached by a short sandy track down a steep hill whereas Praia da Gale ( above ) can be reached by road. A safe sandy beach with nearby car parking facilities and a beach bar. Although it close to the resort ( Albufeira ) it feels remote with lovely sand dunes and is relatively un-crowded. Great natural beauty.

Sao Raphael



Picturesque white fishermen's village; famous beaches; party town


Albufeira Praia da Oura
This is an ideal beach for exploring as it is divided into two sections. The first is by the car park which has a bar / restaurant and is lined with a colourful display of fishing boats. The eastern end has rocks and from here it is possible to find small secluded sandy coves.

Praia dos Barcos



A large and busy beach which runs from the east all the way to Faro. On the fringes of the resort there are some remote areas where you can leave your car. The beach is gently sloping and is ideal for children; in peak season there are lifeguards and the safety flag system. There are several beach bars and windsurf hire is available.

Praia Grande

This long wide beach can be found opposite Portimao harbour. The southern end is more scenic. It has a windsurfing school and paddle boats for hire but a word of warning - beware of strong tides.

Praia da Armona

The three Islands of Armona, Culatra and Farol act as a barrier to the sea and on the inland side there are the extensive lagoons forming the nature reserve of Ria Formosa. Reaching these beaches can only be done by a ferries ( each with a destination to one of the three islands ) which leaves from the fishing port of Olhao. The journeys can takes about 30 minutes and leaves at approximately 15 minute intervals during the day ( seasonal ).  As you can imagine once you arrive at the chosen Island you are going to find yourself as one of the limited number of humans visitors. The beach looks out onto Baia de Lagos and has a selection of bars.

Praia Verde

Located west of Monte Gordo and stretching towards Tavira, this beach has a pleasant backdrop of greenery (hence the name). It's a safe beach that is suitable for and popular with families that include young children.

Armacco de Pera

Home of the 2009 sand sculptures exhibition, Near Pera.

Praia da Falaia

This beach is sheltered by low red-brown cliffs, which makes a bit of a sun trap. It's accessible by road from Vilamoura by travelling westward toward Olhos de Agua. There is a  Roman villa nearby at Cerro da Vila.

Praia de Garrao

This beach spans the front of the area of the holiday resorts Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo. This beach can now be easily reached by road and one area popular for its beach restaurants is a section know as “Julias” – a local lady and a character who opened the first beach place at the time when access was either by horse or by a very sandy road through the pine trees.

Vale do Lobo


Centre & East Algarve

Centre and East Algarve

Centre / East Algarve Menu



Quinta do Lago


Praia de Faro


Praia da Ilha de Faro

This beach is a long narrow sandy bar that is accessed by a road crossing a lagoon just south of the Faro airport ( yes, it is noisy ). Being near to the principal town of the Algarve ( Faro ) it is usually very busy. There are plenty of water sports faculties and also plenty of restaurants / bars.







Luz de Tavira


East Algarve

Eastern Algarve beaches

Eastern Algarve Menu

Santa Luzia

A vast beach that offers hours of solitude, coupled with the pleasure of warm, clear waters.

Praia de Barril

Barril is really an 'offshoot' of Praia Ilha de Tavira ( below ). But, this 'island' beach is fun to get to as you can take a small (and slow) train from Santa Luzia village. It is also accessible from Pedras del Rey. Blue Flag beach. Lifeguard. Sunbeds & Umbrella rental. Restaurant. Snack bar. Road Access and Parking.

Ilha da Tavira

A short boat trip from Tavira's jetty, this sandbar beach is a popular attraction, locally referred to as Praia das Cascas. Also has an area for naturists about one kilometre walk to the west end of the beach. There are regular ferry crossings to this island, which lies opposite the city ( Tavira ) and has long beaches. Blue Flag beach. Lifeguard. Sunbed & Umbrella rental. Restaurant. Snack bar. Road Access and Parking.


Separated by an arm of the Ria Formosa, Cabanas is quite and isolated. It can be reached by boat from Tavira.


Opposite the village of the same name. Reached by boat. Extensive beach. Very calm.



Marita Rola


Monte Gordo


Santo Antonio