The Algarve beaches are constantly ranked as some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Bordered by cliffs in shades of yellow, red and orange, and lapped by crystal clear water, these incomparable beaches are some of my favourites in the world.
I first went to southern Portugal, in 2008. My mother was living there at the time and so I spent one month enjoying the European summer and some of the best beaches in Algarve. Since then, I have been trying to go to the Algarve at least every other year!
My last visit was in 2021 and the Algarvian coast still surprised and amazed me with its impressive and breathtaking scenery.
Below you’ll find a list of the top ten most beautiful beaches in the Algarve, so the next time you plan a trip to Portugal, you should make sure to visit some of them.
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The 10 Best Beaches in Algarve
1 – Ponta da Piedade, Lagos
Lagos is one of the cities that has some of the best beaches in Algarve. Among them, it’s Ponta da Piedade, one of those places that it’s hard to believe exists!
Located around 3Km from Lago’s city centre, Ponta da Piedade is probably the most beautiful shoreline on Earth, according to the Huffington Post, and one of the most incredible beaches that I’ve ever seen.
Featuring a stunning combination of majestic rock formations, sea arches, caves, ochre cliffs, and crystal-clear green water, Ponta da Piedade will certainly take your breath away.
I’ve been to the Algarve many times but even I was completely in awe the first time I saw Ponta da Piedade. OMG!
The beach is accessed by road and then on foot along a cliff-top path. At the end of the road, there’s a parking lot, public restrooms, a restaurant, souvenir shops, and a lighthouse (closed to the public).
From the top of the 20m (65ft) high cliffs you can take in all of Ponta da Piedade’s beauty, but you should also definitely take the 182 steps down the ravine and get near the water to have another view of it.
Ponta da Piedade is for me the most beautiful beach in the Algarve. It’s a must-see when you’re in Lagos!
Book your boat trip/kayak to Ponta da Piedade.
I recommend this one, which has excellent reviews. If you prefer a half-day cruise with lunch and beverage included, this is a great option. And if you’re an adventurer, like me, kayaking on the sea to the stacks and grottoes can be much more fun.
2 – Prainha (Praia do Caniço), Alvor
Located at the eastern end of Alvor Beach, in the municipality of Portimão, Prainha, also known as Praia do Caniço, is home to the greatest rock formation I’ve ever seen in the Algarve.
The beach is framed by huge ochre-coloured limestone cliffs with incredible rocky outcrops that divide it into further little coves each with its own rock arches, sea stacks, and caves.
Prainha was one of the Algarve beaches that impressed me most!
This Blue Flag beach has restaurants, toilets, seasonal lifeguards, and very nice viewpoints.
When I arrived at Prainha and saw the phenomenal rock formation I was completely in awe!
It was at low tide and the contrast of the shallow green water with the rocks covered with seaweed and the ochre cliffs made this beach look surreal and miles away from reality…
Please, don’t forget to include Prainha on your list. You will be as impressed as I was!
3 – Praia de Benagil, Carvoeiro
You might have seen a picture of Praia de Benagil, considered one of the most incredible beaches in Algarve, as it gained fame because of its iconic sea cave.
Located in the little fishing village of Benagil, in the municipality of Lagoa, Praia de Benagil would be just one more hidden beach if it wasn’t for the Algar de Benagil, a stunning cave just around the corner to the left side of the beach.
What makes Benagil Cave special and one of the “Top 10 coolest caves around the world”, according to Huffington Post, is the perfect combination of golden-coloured walls with a round hole in the ceiling and two beautiful archways.
Inside this spectacular cave, you’ll see the sunlight streaming through the roof and reflecting off the golden sand and the blue azure water entering the cave through the arches forming a small beach.
I’ve visited Benagil Cave six times, by boat and kayak, and I loved it! It’s such a magical place and a natural wonder of the world, but unfortunately, it became very touristy.
Smart Tip: Only small boats, kayaks and SUP can get inside the cave. Be aware that boats aren’t allowed to disembark passengers in the cave.
Book your Benagil Cave Tour online in advance here.
4 – Praia do Camilo, Lagos
Located in Lagos, next to Dona Ana Beach, Praia do Camilo is one of the most popular beaches not only in Lagos but in the whole Algarve.
Access is easy and once you arrive at the top of the breathtaking cliff, it will be hard to decide if you should stay there to enjoy the awe-inspiring views, walk along the cliff-top path or take the steps all the way down to place your towel, sunbathe and relax.
This picturesque Praia do Camilo is framed by majestic limestone rocks and provides astonishing vistas, whether you’re on the cliffs, on the stairway, on the sand, or even in the water.
The infrastructure is very basic and there’s a really nice restaurant close to the stairway with toilets available to everyone, a kiosk selling snacks and beverages at reasonable prices, lifeguards on duty and SUP rentals.
I’ve been to Praia do Camilo several times, at low tide and high tide, during the off-season and high-season.
At high tide, the beach becomes narrower, and to get to the second section you need to go through a hand-dug tunnel or swim.
Praia do Camilo gets very crowded during the summer, especially in August, and finding a place to lay down your towel can be a changeling. Even though, the visit is worthwhile.
5 – Praia da Marinha, Lagoa
Yet another stunning and definitely not only one of the most beautiful beaches in Algarve, but I’d say in the world.
Located in the Lagoa area, a half-hour drive from Albufeira, this award-winning beach has been featured in many Portuguese guidebooks and advertising campaigns. It was also considered by Michelin Guide one of the ten most beautiful beaches in Europe.
Marinha Beach is only accessible via a steep pathway along the cliff and has viewpoints that provide striking views.
Praia da Marinha is enveloped by massive orange-yellowish limestone cliffs, which makes it one of the least windy beaches in the Algarve. It also has amazing sea arches, golden sand, and crystalline blue water.
The contrast between the blue water and the cliffs is just unbelievable!
There aren’t many beach amenities, only a restaurant right at the beach’s entrance, lifeguards on duty, and SUP/kayak rentals (book online because the demand is very high).
Similar to Praia do Camilo, Praia da Marinha becomes narrower at high tide and very crowded in August.
6 – Praia de Odeceixe, Odeceixe
Praia de Odeceixe, located in the town of Odeceixe, 57mi (92Km) away from Albufeira and 76min (123Km) from the capital Faro, is the most astonishing beach on Costa Vicentina.
I always wanted to go to Odeceixe Beach and in 2020 I finally made it. It’s one of the secret beaches in the Algarve and I absolutely loved it!
Featuring a round shape “island” encircled by black cliffs topped with vegetation and a striking crystalline green water river that flows into the sea, Praia de Odeceixe is a uniquely spectacular sight to marvel at.
This Blue Flag beach has soft sand, umbrellas, and chairs for hire, toilets, water sports, a parking lot, and plenty of space to lay down your towel.
You can go surfing, rent a kayak/SUP to paddle along the river course, swim in the freshwater, or just soak up the sun and relax.
Praia de Odeceixe is a true hidden gem and one of Algarve’s best-kept secrets.
- Read Next: 10 Best Hiking Trails in Algarve
7 – Praia Dona Ana, Lagos
Located in Lagos, Dona Ana Beach was elected by Condé Nast Traveller in 2013 as the best beach in the world.
But different from Praia do Camilo and Praia da Marinha, for example, its beauty is appreciated best from the sand.
There are beautiful limestone rocks rising up sublimely from the crystal-clear blue water, golden sand and orange cliffs covered with vegetation
Walking down to this beach is truly amazing, especially at low tide.
The access to this beach is by stairways and there’s a parking lot, beach amenities, viewpoints, a restaurant (with horrible service), and even a masseur.
Praia Dona Ana, highly appreciated by tourists and locals, has been enlarged to better provide for everyone.
8 – Praia da Coelha, Albufeira
Located around 6Km (3.7 mi) west of Albufeira Old Town, Rabbit Beach is a breathtaking beach surrounded by yellow cliffs and has fine golden sand with seashells and crystal-clear turquoise water.
The beach is a 5min walk from the parking lot and has calm water, extraordinary rock formations, and very picturesque scenery.
Raised wooden walkways take you to the western part of the beach from where, along the water’s edge, you can reach the sections of Praia da Coelha that are more secluded and quiet.
You can also walk on the trail path along the hilly landscape around it to explore the magnificent viewpoints, find hidden coves and, especially, see the beauty of Praia da Coelha in all its glory.
This Blue Flag beach, with lifeguards on duty, SUP, chairs and umbrellas for hire, also has a restaurant at the entrance with Wi-Fi, reasonable prices, and bathrooms. Pets and balls aren’t allowed, though.
Praia da Coelha is one the best beaches in Albufeira and the Algarve as well. You shouldn’t miss it!
9 – Praia da Luz, Luz
Located 6Km west of Lagos, Praia da Luz (Beach of Light), is another famous Algarve beach that you’ll love.
This stretch of sand is sheltered by the imposing Rocha Negra, a basalt headland, and the landscape is very different from the part of the Algarve coast between Albufeira and Lagos.
Here you can’t find the yellow-orangish limestone cliffs that the Algarve is known for, but the beach is equally fascinating.
It features soft sand, stunning crystalline water, and some rocks forming natural pools that are perfect for relaxing.
Luz is a large Blue Flag beach, and you can expect all kinds of facilities, such as wooden boardwalks, toilets, umbrellas and chairs for hire, lifeguards on duty, wheelchair access, etc.
You can spend the entire day exploring the former fishing village of Vila da Nossa Senhora da Luz and its charming cobblestone streets, picturesque churches, and beachfront restaurants.
Not to mention, sunbathing, swimming, and lounging on the beach.
10 – Ilha Deserta, Faro
Whether you’re spending some time in Faro or looking for isolated and quiet beaches, Ilha Deserta is the place to go.
This unspoiled and uninhabited island with pristine beaches and crystal-clear water, shelters the Ria Formosa Natural Park’s mudflats.
To get there you need to take a ferry from Faro or book a day trip that takes you to another gorgeous island as well.
Once you arrive at Ilha Deserta, you feel the tranquillity and relaxation that you’re dreaming of when going on a holiday.
There are some facilities, such as chairs and umbrellas for hire, and lifeguards on duty.
There’s only one restaurant on the island and tables must be booked in advance. If you prefer, bring a cooler bag with some food and refreshments.
Ilha Deserta has a great shoreline that’s perfect for long walks. Some parts are clothing optional, in case you want to get rid of the tan lines.
This is a short list of just the top 10 beaches in Algarve, but there are many other impressive ones.
Just to cite a few more: Praia de São Rafael, Praia das Falésias (one of the best beaches in Algarve for families) and Arrifes (Albufeira); Praia do Beliche and Telheiros (Sagres); Praia de Albandeira (Porches); Meia Praia (Lagos); Praia da Rocha (Portimão), etc.
I created a map below so you can have a better idea of the exact location of each of one them.
Safe travels and have fun in Portugal.
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- 5 Most Beautiful Beaches in Europe
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Visiting Algarve Beaches, Portugal
Where is Algarve located?
Algarve is the southernmost region of Portugal (check the map here).
Which part of the Algarve has the best beaches?
The best beaches in Algarve are between the cities of Albufeira and Lagos.
In this part of the Algarvian Coast, you find beaches with crystalline blue water surrounded by yellow-orangish limestone cliffs dotted with caves and grottoes for which the Algarve is famous.
But you can also find fine beaches on the Vicentine Coast, a lesser-known part of the Algarve.
Best time to visit the Algarve
Definitely during the summer. But if you don’t like crowds and heat, you should go in June, September or even at the beginning of October.
How to get there?
There’s an international airport in Faro, but the most popular for travellers outside of Europe is the one in Lisbon.
From Lisbon, you can take a train or bus to the Algarve. The prices are basically the same and they take around 2h30min to get there.
Find the best deals on airline tickets on Skyscanner, the website that I use and trust.
How to get around?
I do recommend that you hire a car while in the Algarve because the public transport isn’t good.
To get to Praia da Marinha by public transportation you need to take a bus to Lagoa and then another to Marinha Beach.
If you go by car, Praia da Marinha is around 30min drive from Albufeira and 40min from Lagos.
Where to stay?
If you want to stay in a central area where you can easily access these beaches, I would suggest staying in Albufeira or Lagos.
Some Algarve hotels that I recommend are:
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