Where to Find the Best Beaches in Portugal

June 19, 2012 by

Things To Do

Gorgeous beach in the Algarve, Portugal.

Gorgeous beach in the Algarve, Portugal. Photo courtesy of Dan Taylor via Flickr.

People flock to the Algarve for one reason: its beautiful beaches.

Golden sands and clear waters are one attraction but it’s also the safety and cleanliness of the beaches that make them perfect for family holidays; in 2012 69 Algarve beaches were awarded a Blue Flag which signifies excellence in water quality, cleanliness, safety and environmental management. Most of these have lifeguards on duty throughout summer to give added peace of mind.

The Algarve wraps around a cape in south-west Portugal with beaches on both the south coast and the west coast facing the North Atlantic Ocean. The west coast is wilder and more spectacular. The south is an idyllic stretch of beach resorts and calm bays.

If you like wide, golden sands, with umbrellas and sunloungers for hire, beach restaurants, water sports and lovely views across the bay or to inland mountains then head to Alvor Beach. If you prefer a bit more privacy there are small coves dotted to the east, and to the west the Alvor River meets the sea forming an important seabird nesting ground.

Praia Gale Beach is for those who prefer villas to hotels. One of the beaches along this tastefully developed stretch of coast west of Albuferia is the chosen destination of the Portuguese jetset: Praia do Costello. Here you’ll find the famous club Casa do Costello plus a glorious beach.

If you want picturesque and plenty of places for kids to explore, head to Praia da Marinha. The golden cliffs rise enticingly full of outcrops, caves and rockpools. At lowtide it’s possible to walk around to other little coves. The clear water and abundant sealife make this a great beach for snorkeling and in summer there’s a snack bar so you’ll never need to leave.

Praia do Vau is one of the Algarve’s most popular beaches and gets very crowded. But when you get there you’ll see why everyone else had the same idea. Golden sands, rock pools, coves to explore and long walks at low tide, calm water, sunloungers and shades, beach restaurants, and easy parking.

If you’re looking for that combination of lively town and getting to choose a new beach every day, head to Lagos. Right in town there are wide sandy beaches with stunning cliffs and rock formations, clear waters and little coves.

If you prefer nature to people, surfing to snorkeling then the western coast is for you. Head to Praia do Amado, just south of the village of Carrapatiera. There’s even a surf school so maybe one day you can participate in the many surfing and bodyboarding championships held here.

The Algarve has so many beaches and such beautiful sand and sea that you really can’t make a bad choice. So relax, that’s why you came here.

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