On our road trip through Portugal we decided to spent a good portion of our time exploring the south of the country. We went really lucky with the weather in the beginning of October as we had up to 30C all the 4 DAYS we were there! This made it possible to SWIM and SUNBATHE on one of the best beaches in the whole Europe which made especially Lu very happy ;). It was over all a good time to visit as it was not so busy as in the summer and we had lots of space and peace on the beaches and in restaurants. Here are some beaches we visited ;).
Algarve is the southernmost region of continental Portugal, with its most important centre in the town of FARO, where there is also an international airport and the seat of the University. Algarve is mostly known for its wonderful coastline, with many sandy beach coves, turquoise sea – all this makes its also a very popular tourist destination, especially in the summer months. We used LAGOS as a base and stayed there at a nice quinta, surrounded by vineyards.
We went there the first day we arrived late in the afternoon. The sight of a nice beach was very refreshing after a long day of driving from the north of the country! It was already to cold to take a swim, but we did have fun with the waves!
With its 4 km stretch of sandy beach this is the largest one around LAGOS. There are grassed sand banks which separate the beach from the residential buildings, on the beach western edge you will find the marina. There are restaurants and beach bars every couple of hundred metres! A very nice beach not far away from the city to take a long walk before sunset.
PRAIA DA BORDEIRA
The next day we visited this amazing beach on the west coast of Algarve is also known as CARRAPATEIRA BEACH, after a small village close by. There are also accommodation possibilities and restaurants. You will get the best views if you drive up to the view point and then walk around the wooden paths & ladders down to the beach.
There are some amazing cliffs to watch around a greater lagoon with a large sandy beach. There were quite some waves and the sea was colder here, so instead of swimming we spent our time walking and running around. The last part of the wooden path construction was damaged at the time of our visit so we had to climb down some rocks to get down to the beach, but nothing impossible or dangerous.
Do not drive back down the same way – if you have time drive the LOOP GRAVEL ROAD and stop at the view point, there are some really nice views. If you have even more time you can stop by at the neighbouring beach PRAIA DO AMADO, which is a paradise for surfers!
PRAIA DO BELICHE
Somewhere between a smaller town called SAGRES and the famous lighthouse at CABO DE SAO VICENTE there is a parking and a restaurant along the road and a staircase down to this beach. This makes it a convenient visit if you are on your way to see the lighthouse. The beach itself is nice and offers surf lessons + great views of the cliffs.
PRAIA DO CAMILO
Situated on the amazing PONTA DA PIEDADE in LAGOS this beach is located in one of the many bays between the rocks sticking out of the sea, so there are great views from the beach! Unfortunately we only visited it very shortly and moved to another one because here was no sun in the late afternoon. Some other beaches nearby are: PRAIA DONA ANA, PRAIA DOS PINHEIROS, PRAIA DA BALANCA and PRAIA DO BARRANCO DO MARTINHO. You can also take a 30 minute BOAT TRIP between the rocks and around the bays – well worth it!
PRAIA DE PORTO DE MOS
To end the day at the beach we took a short ride west of Ponta da Piedade and ended up on this beach, which is the SECOND LARGEST in LAGOS area, just after Meia Praia which we visited the first day.
And yes, finally it was time to jump into the waves! Even though it was already quite late – the sun still had power and the sea was relatively warm. Warm enough to stay in the water for longer time even. This was great and we stayed until the sun went down ;).
PRAIA DO CARVALHO
Another 2 days of beach time were ahead of us before we moved on to Lisbon and we spent the time exploring and swimming at the beaches between PORTIMAO, LAGOA and ALBUFEIRA. Starting with this one – it´s not too big so it might get quickly full in the summer, but now it was quite calm. There is a parking above and you descend down by stairs and through a tunnel ;).
PRAIA DE BENAGIL
We visited this smaller beach mostly because of the famous cave which is just next to the beach. Initially we wanted to make a BOAT TRIP to the cave and the other caves along the coastline, but this was not possible to do because of the waves. As we did not feel like driving back to Portimao (the boats did go from there on that day), we decided just to stay on the beach and swim for a while, before moving to another one. We did the boat trip the next day in the morning, before we drove on to Lisbon. There is limited parking along a narrow road, but there is a bigger one on the top of the hill.
Gin could not resist SWIMMING TO THE CAVE though, as there were many people doing it and it was actually not a long way to swim. There is a sandy beach inside and a bigger round hole on the top through which the sunlight comes – it´s an amazing site! I took these pictures the next day from the boat.
PRAIA DA CORREDOURA
This one is very close to Benagil, but it´s ONLY ACCESSIBLE BY SEA. So either you have your own boat or you dare to swim that far from Benagil. You will certainly have much privacy and possibly the beach will be all yours off the peak season. We only passed by on our BOAT TRIP.
PRAIA DO CAO RAIVOSO
The rocks laying in the sand prove that there is always dangerous to sit directly under the cliffs so I really advise you not to. Anyway, this is not just my opinion, there are lots of signs explaining the DANGER. This beach is a really small one, kind of interesting exactly because of these fallen stones.
PRAIA DA MARINHA
We spent one looong afternoon on Praia da Marinha which is rated as one of the 10 MOST BEAUTIFUL EUROPEAN BEACHES and is also a proud owner of the GOLDEN BEACH title, for its outstanding natural qualities. Many commercials were shot here and this sight was used in many tourist brochures.
There is a really nice and scenic WALKING TRAIL on top of the cliffs which stretches for kilometres so if you have time it´d really worth walking on it! It´s also a great way to see the beaches if you visit off season when it´s too cold for swimming. We did only a part – then we had to go swimming, for the sake of our little traveller ;).
The parking above the beach is really big (I can imagine many people here in the summer), the beach is accessed by stairs which bring you to a beach bar where you can buy snacks, drinks and ice cream. From here you can walk until you find a perfect spot on the beach. Don´t forget that the HIGH TIDE during the day making it impossible to go back without getting wet! From the last two stretches of the beach (which are divided with golden rocks and stones) you will have to return more to the beginning of the beach or swim back ;).
This truly was a GREAT BEACH! I have to say after spending a day here I could even imagine coming to the area for the whole week – of course only with the same weather we had and the same amount of other visitors ;). If you take a boat tour you will of course also pass this famous beach. We stayed here until sunset and Lu was clearly sad we had to leave.
PRAIA DO BURACO
This one is basically just around the corner from Praia da Marinha and it is ONLY ACCESIBLE BY BOAT. You can also swim to it, it´s really not far from the beach bar at Marinha beach. You might have it just for yourself!
PRAIA DO PAU
Again, ONLY ACCESIBLE BY BOAT and again, you can swim to it, but the way is a bit longer now ;). Some boats will stop here for lunch if you take a FULL DAY BOAT TRIP (we only did a 1hr one). It did look like a perfect spot for a lunch though! We also saw many people KAYAKING around the bays and this looked like a perfect way to go around!
PRAIA DA MALHADA DO BARACO
The last one on the list is also ONLY ACCESIBLE BY BOAT and apparently also used as a lunch set for boat tourists. It looked wonderful and even though we have seen many similar beaches by this point we were still not sick of the golden cliffs!
After 4 days in Algarve it was time for us to move on and explore Lisbon. We wanted to visit some places more to the east as we were told there are also nice beaches and interesting little villages and towns like ALBUFEIRA, TAVIRA and some of the beaches near FARO, but because we had such nice weather and Lu enjoyed swimming so much we decided to take it easy and spent more time swimming and relaxing rather than hurrying from A to B just to make a tick. We did not regret anything and we were so amazed by these beautiful beaches that we might return to Algarve one day soon. Really really really amazing coast!
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