Full Guide to Praia da Marinha: One of Algarve Best Beaches

Praia da Marinha (Navy Beach) is one of the most emblematic and the best beaches in the Algarve.

This award-winning beach has been featured in many Portuguese guidebooks and advertising campaigns.

Marinha Beach has been considered one of the 10 most beautiful European beaches and one of the 100 most beautiful beaches in the world by the Michelin Guide, and CNN has also recognised it as one of the world’s best beaches and destinations.

My first visit was in 2014. I fell in love with it immediately and it became one of my favourite beaches in the world.

Since then, I’ve returned several times and it’s the reason I decided to write this guide with all the information you need to plan your visit.

The award-winning Praia da Marinha, one of the most beautiful and best beaches in the Algarve, Portugal, with its crystalline blue water and orange cliffs with extraordinary formations
Are you ready to visit Praia da Marinha, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve?

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Complete Guide to Marinha Beach

Praia da Marinha is bordered by amazing orange-yellowish limestone cliffs with an incredible variety of rock formations, has fine golden sand and enticing crystal-clear blue water.

Protect against the winds by the surrounding cliffs and with calm water, this secluded beach is perfect for families with kids and those looking for tranquillity while in the Algarve.

Praia da Marinha, like some of the most famous beaches in Lagos, becomes very different and narrower at high tide.

During the low tide, you have more space and can walk to the end of the right corner, until you get close to the “M rock”, also known as the Cathedral.

But during the high tide, you can only access this part of the beach by climbing up some eroded rocks that get in the way or swimming.

What makes Praia da Marinha special, apart from its extraordinary natural beauty and high-quality water, is that it’s untouched and located in a small town.

Thus, the way to Marinha is off the main road and to get to the beach itself there’s a footpath with a sharp descent. But I can ensure that the visit is worthwhile.

I’ve been to Marinha Beach numerous times, and it doesn’t cease to amaze me.

A crystal clear emerald water beach with huge yellow limestone cliffs, including one with two sea arches, people doing Stand-up Paddle Boarding and a couple sitting in one of the cliffs admiring the view

Where is Marinha Beach?

Praia da Marinha is located on the Atlantic Coast in Caramujeira, Lagoa’s municipality, between Carvoeiro and Armação de Pêra, in the Central Algarve.

It’s a 25min walk from Benagil, another acclaimed Algarvian beach, and an approximately 30min drive from two of the most-sought resort towns of this region, Albufeira and Portimão.

How to get to Praia da Marinha?

The closest airport to Praia da Marinha is in Faro, Algarve’s capital, which is well-connected with several European cities.

Once in the south of Portugal, you can get to Marinha Beach by car, bus, train and even on foot.

By Car

From Albufeira

You can drive from Old Town Albufeira to Praia da Marinha, 22 Km, via the N395, followed by the A22 (Algarve’s principal motorway) until Via do Infante de Sagres in the village of Porches (around a 17min drive).

If you don’t want to pay the A22 toll, you can take the M526-1 towards Guia (15min drive).

After that, you need to take the N125, then the M1154 (Estrada da Caramujeira) until you get to Estrada da Marinha. Marinha Beach is at the end of this road.

Both options take the same time, 30min, in normal traffic conditions, and once you arrive in Caramujeira you’ll see several signs to Praia da Marinha.

From Portimão

Praia da Marinha is 18Km from Portimão and it should not take more than 25min drive.

The fastest way to go from Portimão to Praia da Marinha is through the Old Bridge and drive on the N125 around 17min until Lagoa, followed by Rua do Parque Empresarial do Algarve, Estrada da Caramujeira and Estrada da Marinha.

From Lagos

Lagos is 43Km away from Marinha, and the fastest way to get there is via the M535-1 followed by the A22 until Via do Infante de Sagres. From there, you can follow the steps mentioned above.

If you don’t want to pay the A22 toll, you can drive to Portimão via N125.

From Faro

Algarve’s capital is located 60Km from Marinha Beach, and the best way to go from Faro to Praia da Marinha is via the A22 until Porches, followed by the N125, M1154 (Estrada da Caramujeira) and Estrada da Marinha.

Some signs on the corner of a street showing how to get to Marinha Beach, Carvoeiro, Benagil and Albandeira, a white house and trees in the background

By bus

To get to Praia da Marinha by bus, you need to take a bus to Lagoa Bus Terminal and then another to Marinha Beach (#77).

Check the timetables and current prices on the bus company website.

By train

To go to Praia da Marinha by train, you need to get off at Estombar-Lagoa station, then take a bus towards Albufeira, #13, until Lagoa Bus Terminal, and change to bus #77.

You can check the timetables and current prices on the Comboios Portugal website.

PS.: The public transport in the Algarve isn’t good, and I do suggest that you hire a car.

On foot

You can walk from the nearby beaches, such as Benagil and Carvoeiro, to Praia da Marinha following a cliff path. It takes approximately 25min and 45min, respectively.

Best time to visit

You can visit Praia da Marinha from April to October, but the best time to visit it is during the summer.

If want to avoid the crowds and heat, you should go in June or September.

Bear in mind that this beach gets very crowded in August and it’s hard to find parking and also a place to lay down your towel.

Facilities Available

  • Parking lot (recently extended and renovated)
  • Picnic area
  • Restaurant
  • Toilets
  • Lifeguards on duty
  • Kayak and SUP rentals

Where to stay near Praia da Marinha?

If you want to stay near Praia da Marinha, I suggest booking a hotel in Lagoa, Porches or Carvoeiro.

Here are some of the hotels that I recommend:

10 Best things to do on Marinha Beach, Portugal

1 – Admire the breathtaking views from the viewpoints

There are several viewpoints at Praia da Marinha, from which you easily understand why this beach was considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe.

Sea arches, coves, and rocks in different shapes and sizes immersing majestically in the crystalline water compose a picture-perfect scenery and are going to leave you in awe.

The contrast between the blue sky, the orange-yellowish cliffs and the crystal-clear blue water is stunning.

Whether you look over the landscape from the viewpoint near the parking lot or the highest one, nearly 50m in height, at the end of the beach, you can’t miss the chance to get a birds-eye view of this enchanting beach.

The extraordinary Marinha Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve, Portugal, with people swimming and two boats on its crystalline blue water bordered by orange-yellowish cliffs
One of my favourite views of Praia da Marinha

2 – Sunbathing

The Algarve is known for being one of the sunniest places in Europe, with over 300 sunny days a year and up to 12 hours of sunshine per day during the summer.

So, one of the best things to do in the Algarve is to lie on the beach and soak up the sun.

You can sunbathe at Praia da Marinha in front of the restaurant, in the third “cove”, after a rocky wall.

And if you want more privacy, you can head towards the furthest part of the beach, which’s smaller, but quieter.

Bear in mind that at high tide the beach gets narrower with less area for sunbathing.

You can’t lay down your towel near the cliffs, because of the risk of falling rocks, and to get to the fourth section you’ll need to climb on rocks.

A beach bordered by cliffs and some people sunbathing, others walking on the beach and some more in the water

3 – Go snorkelling

Praia da Marinha has a rich marine life that includes sea urchins, anemones, sea stars, shrimps, octopuses, seaweeds, cuttlefishes and many species of marine finfish.

The area near the M rock, which’s surrounded by rocky walls, is very popular among scuba divers.

You can’t rent a snorkel mask on Marinha, but I recommend bringing one along with you to observe the natural underwater beauty of the Algarve.

4 – Hire a kayak or SUP and go exploring

There aren’t snorkel gears available to rent, but you can hire a kayak or Stand-Up Paddle Board and go exploring.

You’ll paddle in the Atlantic Sea, and discover hidden caves, grottoes and beautiful Algarvian beaches that aren’t on the tourist radar.

You can also go to the iconic Algar de Benagil, one of the most famous landmarks in Portugal and “The top 10 coolest caves in the world” according to Huffington Post.

I’ve gone from Praia da Marinha to Benagil Cave on a kayak. I was with friends & family, and despite the strong current and the limited time (we hired it for just one hour), it was great.

Kayaks and SUP cost 30 euros/h and the demand is very high.

Benagil Cave is one of the most photographed places in the Algarve

5 – Go cliff jumping

If you’re looking for adventurous things to do on Praia da Marinha, you should go cliff jumping.

There are several places where you can get an extra dose of adrenaline by throwing yourself into the crystalline blue water of the Algarve.

From the boulders in the sea to the base of the cliffs, which is safer and more popular, cliff jumping is fun and a very common activity on this beach.

Some people walking and jumping from the cliffs in the water on Praia da Marinha

6 – Go hiking

Whether you’re a hiker, want to burn some calories or just admire the gorgeous Algarve coast from another perspective, you should go hiking.

You can walk from Praia da Marinha to Benagil Cave (25min walk) and to Praia do Vale de Centeanes, in Carvoeiro, another municipality of Lagoa, on the oceanfront path.

In fact, it’s one of the most scenic hikes in the Algarve known as the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail and takes approximately 2h to walk the 5.7Km trail (each way).

The route provides striking vistas and I recommend doing it early in the morning or at the end of the afternoon because of the heat.

I’ve done that twice and I loved it.

A beach in the Algarve, Portugal, surrounded by yellow cliffs covered with low vegetation, and three kayaks sailing on its crystalline emerald water
The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail provides ultra-scenic views

7 – Visit the nearby beaches

If you want to visit other beaches, you don’t need to walk to Praia do Vale de Centeanes, you have other options nearby.

When you arrive at Praia da Marinha, there’s a secret beach right on the left-hand corner.

To get to Praia do Buraco (Hole’s Beach), you have to pass through a small tunnel in the cliffs and it should take no more than 3min.

Buraco’s a pocket beach, but going through the tunnel is fun, especially if you’re visiting Praia da Marinha with kids. If you have claustrophobia, please don’t go.

Alternatively, you can head to Praia do Pau, Praia de Albandeira with its remarkable arch, or Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha with its historic chapel.

8 – Find the famous “Praia da Marinha heart”

If you’ve seen pictures of Praia da Marinha, particularly on social media, where the heart-shaped rock gained popularity, you know what I’m referring to.

But how to find the famous “Algarve heart”?

The “heart” is a junction of the M rock and the V shape edge of a cliff.

It seems easy to find it, but for me and the people who asked there, it wasn’t.

To take the perfect Instagram picture you need to walk on the top of the cliffs and get exactly in front of the middle of the M rock, just before the cliff starts angling off to the left side.  

Then, the photographer just needs to find the best angle and snap a picture, or two 😉

P.S: If you sit down, please do it carefully!

Praia da Marinha
You found it! The beach with the famous “Algarve heart”

9 – Take tons of pictures for your social accounts

A trip to the Algarve is a guarantee of taking great pictures to share with your friends and followers on social media.

So, don’t miss the opportunity to boost your Instagram profile and provoke some social media envy.

Praia da Marinha is very Instagrammable and there are plenty of photogenic spots. My favourite is the top of the cliffs, particularly the M rock. But you can find many other great ones.

10 – Rest & Relax

If you’re a bit tired after doing some of the activities that I suggested above, aren’t feeling like doing anything else and just want some R&R time, I completely understand.

After all, you’re on vacation, the cliffs provide some shades in the afternoon, that’s an invitation for a nap.

And what’s better than being lulled by the onshore breeze and the sounds of the waves crashing against the sand?

So, put your phone away, close your eyes and rest, because this is one of the best things to do while you’re on any beach. Don’t you think so?

People sunbathing on towels and underneath umbrellas on Praia da Marinha with an immense yellow limestone cliff in the background

Tours & excursions in the area

There’s no better way to explore the Algarvian coast than by boat! It’s the reason that you should take at least one tour while in the Algarve.

Algar de Benagil is a must-see, and when you take a Benagil Cave tour, you’ll also sail along stunning beaches, go inside hidden grottoes and small caves.

This Benagil Essential Tour is one of the best Algarve tours that I’ve taken, and it departs from Armação de Pêra, a 17min drive from Marinha.

If you want to get inside the cave, here are the tours that I recommend:

Extra Tips for visiting Marinha Beach

  • Be careful when you’re visiting the beaches in the Algarve, especially when taking pictures because the cliffs are unstable and there’s a risk of falling rocks.
  • Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, hats, towels and plenty of water.
  • The sea is in general very calm but sometimes the water isn’t as clear as you see in this post.
  • Don’t expect warm water because it’s not warm at all.
  • Cell phone coverage is very bad in this area and there isn’t Wi-Fi at the restaurant.
  • For more information about the Algarve visit the page: Visit Algarve.

Safe travels and have fun in the Algarve.

Watch the Video: Praia da Marinha, Portugal

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