The Western Algarve has the greatest extent of coastline offering a wide diversity of beaches.
Aljezur features unspoilt and very little frequented beaches all located within the Costa Vicentina natural park.
The Vila do Bispo (Sagres) coastline has dramatic horizons of cliffs and sea. This area hosts beaches in sandy, secluded coves as well as broad expanses of sand that stretch as far as the eye can see.
The beaches around Lagos are some of the most beautiful of the Algarve. The caves and rocks sheltering the bay of Lagos are amongst the most popular landscapes of the Algarve.
First the blue sea and its gently lapping waves. Then fine golden sands framed by cliffs and rocks. The cosmopolitan atmosphere of an international tourist destination. This is the Algarve of beach holidays in the sun.
An extensive stretch of sand sheltered by cliffs and infront of the Algarve Casino Hotel, the Praia da Rocha (Rock Beach) is known internationally and has for long been Portimão´s "visiting card". Inviting the visitor to sun and sea-baths, the sweeping bay offers excellent conditions for water sports and boat-rides. This beach has a very complete set of facilities, including public toilets, car parks in its proximities, Lifeguard and health centre.
"Three Bears", "Indented Rocks" and "Two Brothers" are some of the names chosen by the local inhabitants to identify the rocks that rise from the sand, affording soothing shades when it gets too hot.
The Tomás Cabreira Avenue, which follows the coastline to the Santa Catarina de Ribamar Fortress, is full of hotels, bars, restaurants, esplanades and discotheques which, together with the Casino, turn Rocha into a zone of intense commercial and tourist activity.
Extremely cosmopolitan, the zone offers an enormous variety of night entertainment, which grows significantly during the summer season and is much preferred by younger people.
Bordered by the Vau beach on its western flank, the Carreanos beach is known to be abundant in ancient fossils.
This beach's name literally means the 'Three Castles' which refers to the three imposing rock structures that can be found some way past its waterline. It also encompasses several nearby facilities including restaurants, car park and public bathrooms.
The original name of this beach is the Barranco das Canas beach. Although why it is more commonly referred to as the Beach of the German (Alemão) is a mystery as the Barranco refers to the watercourse that flows through this beach although it is thought to belinked to the fact that a German lived in the area some time ago.
The Três Irmão beach, or the 'Three Brothers' Beach is also know as the Alvor Poente and Nascente beach. Being quite long as beaches come it is also exceptionally wide, featuring dunes held together by vegetation. Facilities include parking area, health centre during the summer months, toilets, and restaurants.
The Cliffs of the Vau beach are very prone to a rapid erosion, similarly to the Porto do Mós beach the clay found on this beach is thought to have beneficial properties for the skin. The Jardim do Vau Resort is on the top of the beach cliff. This beach has direct access to a parking lot, public bathrooms, health centre during the summer and restaurants. Esta praia tem acesso directo a um parque de estacionamento, casas de banho, centro de saúde aberto durante o verão, e alguns restaurantes.
The beaches around Lagos are some of the most beautiful of the Algarve, however, it is the promontory named Ponta da Piedade sheltering the bay of Lagos which is most admired by visitors, with its caves, rocks and wonderfully transparent waters. North of Lagos, Barragem de Bravura is a water reservoir offering fine views.
Nestled between cliffs, on the shore of the village of Luz, which in spite of being an important tourist centre maintains its traditional and typical character. The Porto Dona Maria self-catering Resort is 3.000 metres west. As well as the basic facilities such as parking, restaurants and sun shelters, the Luz beach has easy access for the disabled, lifeguard and water sports activities centre.
Although this beach is located relatively close to the city of Lagos it rarely gets too overcrowded. Interestingly, clay is formed on the cliffs of this beach during the rainy season which is said to hold medicinal benefits. This beach has showers, bathroom, sun shelters for rent, lifeguard and restaurants amongst its facilities.
The Canavial Beach owes its name to the vegetation of the cliff side where sprouts a waterfall. Known for its extremely clear waters the submerged rock arrangements contribute to this beach's scenic beauty. Due to its seclusion it offers no facilities of any kind.
Tucked away, between brightly coloured cliffs, this sandy cove includes some interesting rock formations. Calm and clear water. Many believe this to be one of the most delightful beaches in the Algarve along with the Batata, Pinhão, Dona Ana and Camilo beaches. Not only are sun beds available for hire on this beach, but there is a car park and restaurants nearby as well as the presence of a lifeguard during the summer.
The Pinhão beach is connected to its neighbour, the Dona Ana Beach by a small footpath. Set apart by a natural arch on its eastern end this beach is also ideal for diving and exploring its transparent waters. There is limited car parking space and the beach is watched during the summer time.
The Dona Ana beach is one of the most famous in the area. Also a popular place for snorkeling, it has an access to the Pinhão beach via the cliffs. Although small and secluded one can find a car park, toilets and a restaurant in its vicinity.
Located a mere few hundred metres from the Lagos historical centre and benefitting from a very easy access, the Batata beach betrays its links to civilization by sporting some tourist facilities and a cliff side covered in stone. and its immediate proximity to car parking facilities, toilets and food and beverage outlets. This beach is watched during the summer.
This broad expanse of sand stretches for 4 km (2.5 miles) and offers all kinds of facilities for those who enjoy water sports. On the isthmus of the Alvor bar stands Meia Praia fort, which defended Lagos bay in the 17th and 18th centuries. Historians say that it was off these beaches that the galleons carrying the treasure of Moctezuma, an Aztec emperor captured by the soldiers of Herman Cortez, were shipwrecked in 1522. The Tivoli Lagos Hotel is very close to this beach. As it is one of the more popular beaches it has a facilitated access for the disabled as well as other facilities such as bathrooms, and parking with lifeguard and health centre during the summer months.
Situated on the edge of the Algarve, The beaches of Vila do Bispo are within an intermediary buffer zone between the cold waters of the Atlantic and the warmer, more temperate Mediterranean sea.
A small beach with a broad stretch of sand, known as the 'Jewel' of the Vincentina Coast, it is reputed for exceptional beauty due to its undulating dunes and lavish green landscape of endemic juniper bushes on its lateral cliffs, it is devoid of any facilities of any kinds.
The Barriga beach has a rather narrow stretch of sand, which means that it is recommended to stay off the beach during high tide. There is a small dirt clearing close by that serves as a car park but no other semblant of facility.
This beach has direct access to the Barriga beach and sits in a cove surrounded by cliffs. It is a quiet and tranquil place. This beach has a small restaurant and is partially watched in summer.
A beach surrounded by rock formations. There are tourist facilities and the beach lies under the Tower of Aspa; an old watchtower on its southern cliff. It has the more vital facilities such as a parking, life guard watch during the summer toilets and a food and beverage outlet.
Its name 'Ponta Ruiva' can be translated as 'Red Tip' which makes a reference to a large rock of reddish colour which lies on its waterline. Due to this rock formation, a particular type of wave is formed, much sought out by surfers. Apart from a nearby car park this beach is devoid of any other kind of service or facility.
Comfortably sheltered from the cold winds from the north, this beach tests the determination of its visitors due to the very long and sinuous path one has to descend to reach its golden shores. Similarily to the Ponta Ruiva beach, this beach offers no other support facility than car park.
Mysteriously hidden in a well sheltered cove, this beach is reached by a set of stairs carved in the rock. Although its access is not necessarily disabled-friendly it does have a restaurant, car park and life guard watch during the summer.
The beach of Tonel is a sheltered beach with good views of the Ponta de Sagres and its Fortress and the Cape of São Vicente. Available facilities include parking space, public bathrooms, a restaurant and that is under coastal guard watch during summer.
This is the starting point for discovering the underwater delights of a coast dotted with caves and hollows. The Pousada de Sagrés overlooks this beach and the Cape. Furthermore it sports several facilities including beach shelters for rent, shower and toilet facilities, food and beverage outlets as well as many watersport activity outlets. This beach is watched by lifeguards over the summer.
This long beach is surrounded by a broad bay. Scenic islets opposite the beach can be found and create an interesting scenery. It has toilets and a restaurant as well as a windsurfing school.
The Barranco beach is best described as a sandy cove at the edge of a little bay, atop the cliff, foundations of an ancient fortress can be spotted. Nearby one has access to toilets and there is also a parking area.
Known to have a particularly mild sea, the Ingrina beach is also a favourite spot for diving due to the attractiveness of its submerged rock formations. Furthermore one can rent sun beds and the beach is watched throughout the summer. There are several food and beverage outlets, public toilets as well as a camping nearby.
Although a highly popular beach with surfers, its eastern end sports calmer waters due to the rock formations locally known as 'furnas'.
The Salema beach is located by the picturesque fishing village of the same name featuring restaurants and shops. The Parque da Floresta Resort is actually quite close to this small village. This beach is only watched during the summer and has bathrooms and restaurants on its sides.
Located at the bottom of a valley, the Boca do Rio beach is crossed by two gentle streams and is know to be very peaceful and with a parking within its vicinity.
This is another of those Algarvian beaches that due to its narrow stretch of sand becomes very compressed at high tide.
Located near the typical fishing port of Burgau looking out on the sea it is a very calm and family oriented beach. The Porto Dona Maria Resort is 2.500 metres east of the beach. It also has a parking area, food and beverage outlets, public toilets and a lifeguard during the summer.
From Aljezur tourists can explore the wonderful beaches of the Algarve´s west coast: bathed by the Atlantic, they are often wild and deserted in contrast to the warmer ones of the south. The sea has carved tall cliffs from the schist hills along the coast where birds nest and wild flowers grow. Here and there in bays that face the sun and the ocean, are long beaches of dark sand.
Odeceixe has a long beach, cut in two by the mouth of the Ceixe creek. The resort is calm and family oriented as it is watched during the summer and has facilities for visitors such as restaurants and bars, toilets and car park. There are impressive views of the sea from the Miradouro da Ponta Branca.
Literally translated the name 'Vale dos Homens' means the Valley of Men. This beach is quite large and rather peaceful. The rock formation which surrounds it makes it an ideal beach for fishing when the sea is calm. It is watched only during the summer season.
As many beaches in this area its is rather secluded and isolated. Be wary as the access to this beach may be quite challenging and is not recommended for children and people with reduced mobility.
This beach is a quiet and little frequented, much as its immediate neighbour; the Monte Clérigo beach. It has some restauration options nearby as well as a car park area and is watched during the summer time.
Although the Monte Clérigo beach is a setting of repose, its shallow, rocky shoals also permit the observation of several marine species such as octopus, crabs, urchins and young bream. Its immediate surroundings include many facilities such as a car park, restaurants and bars, a first aid centre and the presence of a lifeguard in summer.
This beach sports a long stretch of sand sheltered by cliffs with a picturesque fishing port. Arrifana is linked to the historical figure of the Moorish prince and poet In Caci (12th century) who lived here as a recluse. There are ruins of an old fort (17th century) built to defend the tuna fishermen and their gear. At the end of the cliffs Pedra da Agulha (literally Needle Rock) rises majestically from the sea. Along with shower and bathroom facilities this beach also has in its immediate environment a nice bar and restaurant over the beach, a car park and is watched all summer.
This beach, although of great charm and beauty receives very few visitors.
On the long beach of Bordeira stand the ruins of a former defensive fort built to repel pirate attacks (17th century). This beach is watched in summer.
Near to Amado the so-called Pedra do Cavaleiro (Knight's Rock) stands amid the waves between itself and the Bordeira beach lies the rock formation of Pontal, surrounded bays and high cliffs. Not only is there a lifeguard present during the summer but also some lively food and beverage outlets.
Alemão / Barranco das Canas beach2013-04-23 11:07:00, Maria José Freire, Portugal
The Barranco das Canas beach became known as the 'beach of the German' in the 1960s when a German, at that time owner of Volkswagen Brazil, built an house on the cliff. House which still exists with its palm trees has been converted into an accommodation resource.