Welcome to the Algarve, home to some of the most spectacular and cleanest ‘praias’ (beaches) in Europe, mostly featuring soft, golden sand, and of course beautiful weather. Let’s explore!

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Meia Praia / Alvor

Situated near to Lagos, this long, wide stretch of beach is very popular with families. The kids will enjoy playing among the sand dunes that fringe the beach and the bathing here is very safe. There are several beach bars and restaurants nearby but not so many as to take over. As the beach is so large, it is never overcrowded. There is nearby free parking.

Praia da Falesia, Albufeira

Praia de Falesia is another long strip of sand, just 10 km from Albufeira. The beach sits at the bottom of high cliffs made up of the kind of golden coloured rocks that will become familiar during your visit. Perhaps not the best beach for anyone with walking difficulties as you park at the top of the cliffs and have to get down to it, but it is well worth the effort if you enjoy walking.

Praia de Marinha

This sandy little cove is located on the Atlantic coast near to Lagoa, at the bottom of some high cliffs. If it is seclusion you are after, this is for you. There is a large rocky outcrop just a few metres offshore that add to the beauty of the cove. There are lots of steps down to the beach and at high tide there is not a great deal of space down there. Boat trips are available nearby to take you around the coast to other coves, some of which are virtually inaccessible on foot.

Praia dos Pescadores

The beach at Albufeira’s old town is long and wide, with soft sand, great waves and high cliffs. The beach is very popular, partly because it is situated right at the edge of the town. Don’t worry about getting down to this beach and back as there are massive outdoor escalators to take all the hard work out of it. There are several beach restaurants and with the town being so close by you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to taking lunch or a drink. Water sports are on offer at reasonable prices too. This is a busy beach but is so large that you will not struggle to find a space. The kids will love it.

Praia de Rocha

The largest beach on the Portimao coast offers a wide promenade at the top of its cliffs with spectacular views of the beach and sea below. Getting down to the beach involves lots of steps so it may not be suitable for everybody. The beach itself is long and wide and there is a wooden walkway all along its edge – which is served by several beach bars that offer not only great quality, but also great value. There are also many more bars and restaurants at the top of the cliff. Jet skis, windsurfers and pedalos can be rented and there are magnificent rocks and cliffs to explore. You will definitely not be bored.

Praia do Amado

This is one of the best surfing beaches in Europe – often windy and with huge waves. The beach has long been a favourite with surfers but its appeal is now growing among those seeking a less commercial experience. The water tends to be a bit on the colder side here and kids will need supervision due to the strength of the currents. The scenery here is wild and untamed and the beach gets busier at weekends.

Praia de Albandeira

This is a tiny beach surrounded by cliffs and is the definition of the term ‘unspoilt’. In terms of facilities here, there are none…no sun beds, no jet skis, no pedalos…just a great, secluded cove with few visitors – oh and a small wooden bar at the top of the cliffs for a beer or coke. Getting there is a challenge itself due to the journey from top to bottom…but when you get there you will find crystal clear waters, rocks, caves and a small stretch of sandy beach. Paradise!

Praia Maria Louisa

The small resort town of Santa Eulalia, set to the east of Albufeira is home to the wonderful Praia Maria Louisa. Cliffs back the beach and there is a fine restaurant on the beach. The beach can also be accessed from Olhos de Agua Village at low tide and the resort of Quinta da Balaia. This is a 3 kilometre stretch of beach that is great for sunbathing and perfect for kids as there is lots to keep them entertained, including opportunities for sailing, belly surfing, windsurfing and water skiing.

Article provided by Mike James, an independent travel writer working alongside a handful of travel companies, including the complete traveller’s guide to the beautiful region of the Portuguese Algarve – For Airport.