Our guide to the best algarve beaches

From Surfing Beaches to Family Beaches | Our top ten beaches of the Western Algarve


If there is one thing that the Algarve has in abundance, it is the number of magnificent beaches.  With over 100 to choose from, there is truly a beach for everyone.  Ranging from picturesque coves that are perfect for families, to the wild, majestic west coast, home to some of the world's best surfing.  But which beach is right for you?  Check out our handy guide to the best in the region.

Praia da Luz & Prainha

Praia de Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Luz (‘Beach of the Church of our Lady of Light’) – Praia da Luz for short – is a safe, gently shelving beach that is perfect for families.  Its sandy nature is great for sunbathing and has received the coveted ‘European blue flag’. There are two watersport centres as well as beachside restaurants and bars. The famous Black Rock (at the far end of the beach) was formed approximately 150 million years ago by volcanic lava from the Monchique mountains. (5 minutes walk from Ocean Villas Luz)

Prainha is a small sandy cove tucked under the western side of the Fortaleza. Small fishing boats often go out and return with their catch at dawn. This beach is also popular for snorkelling.  (1 minute walk from Ocean Villas Luz)

Praia da Dona Ana

Praia Dona Ana has been rated amongst the 50 best beaches in the world, according to Conde Nast Traveller.  It offers a picture-postcard setting combining limestone cliffs with spectacular water colour.

It has two main coves, with caves through to other coves that can be reached at low tide. Located just to the south of Lagos, the beach can be accessed by a series of steps.  It faces east and is flanked by north and south cliffs that shelter it from westerly winds.  (15 minutes drive from Ocean Villas Luz)

Praia do Camilo

For many, this is the best view in the Algarve. There is a great little fish restaurant at the top of the cliffs (O Camilo). There are 200 or so steps down to beach but the view itself is well worth the visit.

The beach is a real gem and features a quaint little beach bar.. There are caves linking through to other coves which are easily accessible at low tide. If you miss the tide you may have to swim back.  (15 minutes’ drive from Ocean Villas Luz)

Meia Praia

The largest Lagos beach is surprisingly called Meia Praia (‘half beach’). The other half (Praia dos Três Irmãos) is separated by an estuary and lagoons.  The beach curves around the Bay of Lagos from where the great explorers set sail in the fifteenth Century. It can be reached by foot over the drawbridge at the marina, by small boat across the river next to the car park in Lagos, or by car around the back of the marina.

Meia Praia has extensive sand-dunes and (apart from an area close to Lagos) is rarely crowded. Numerous bars/restaurants spread out along the beach. There are a couple of watersport centres.  (20 minutes’ drive from Ocean Villas Luz)

Praia do Martinhal

A very attractive sweeping beach and definitely the beach to stop by on your way to Sagres.  650 metres of glorious, golden sand located in the Bay of Baleeira. Notably good for windsurfing, though equally attractive for snorkelling and diving due to its crystal clear water.

Even in the summer months, the beach never feels too busy.  There is a signpost on your left shortly before entering Sagres. There are a couple of beach restaurants.  (3o minutes drive from Ocean Villas Luz)

Zavial & Ingrina

Popular with surfers, Zavial has an excellent beach restaurant. At the eastern end, the cliffs are dramatic with furnas – overhanging cliffs, caves and grottos created by the erosion from the sea. There is parking near the beach and lifeguards are in attendance during the high season. (25 minutes drive from Ocean Villas Luz)

Ingrina is a shell-shaped beach in an unspoilt setting.  It features a simple beach bar/restaurant and has lifeguards during the high season. Excellent for diving. It is worth visiting the ‘megalithic’ monuments in this region. (25 minutes drive from Ocean Villas Luz)

Praia do Amado

Another of the best 50 beaches in the world, according to Conde Nast Traveller. Take the EN125 to Vila do Bispo and the first right to Aljezur on the N268 for approx 13 kms past the wind turbines. Just as you approach the village of Carrapateira there is a small sign that reads ‘Praia’.

This long, golden beach is a surfer’s favourite. You can hire a wet suit and surf board for a day including a two hour lesson for approx 35 euros. There are at least three surf schools to choose from.  (35 minutes drive from Ocean Villas Luz)

Praia do Castelejo

Enter the village of Vila do Bispo taking the left road into the village and follow the signs. Located to the north west of the village on the western coast, this dramatic beach is ideal for surfing and is very different to the beaches on the southern coastline. Good parking and restaurant. (25 minutes’ drive from Ocean Villas Luz)

Praia da Bordeira

Bordeira beach lies on the west coast of the Algarve and can be reached via the coastal road from Amado, or more directly by entering the small village of Carrapateira.  It is a vast, open sandy beach with many sand dunes and is virtually deserted out of the season apart from the occasional kite surfer.

If you head south (via the coastal dirt track), this will take you to Amado. This is a highly recommended drive if you wish to take in the stunning beauty of the unspoilt natural coastline but take your time as the tracks can sometimes be a bit rough  (35 minutes drive from Ocean Villas Luz)

Praia de Monte Clerigo

A glorious sandy beach located on the north west Algarvian coast. There are a number of small, characterful restaurants and cafes. Great for families. This magnificent beach has been awarded a blue flag. (45 minutes drive from Ocean Villas Luz)

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