The 10 most beautiful beaches of the Algarve and Costa Vicentina in Portugal

The most beautiful beaches of the Algarve can be found in the west, on the Costa Vicentina and in the south around Lagos. I even dare to say that these are the most beautiful stretches of coast in all of Portugal! High cliffs, small bays, and the perfect waves to surf! In this blog we tell you all about the 10 most beautiful beaches in southern and western Portugal. Including useful information about these beaches in the Algarve such as parking information, restaurant tips, suitability for children and more!

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Which part of the Algarve has the most beautiful beaches?

Totally different beaches: the coast is the eastern Algarve versus the western Algarve (the Costa Vicentina & Lagos area). But which area do you choose? Soon there will be a map with the 10 beaches on the Algarve that we recommend!

Best beaches of Costa Vicentina & Algarve Portugal

Southeastern Portugal (and the Algarve):

  • Contains many long, expansive beaches
  • Few cliffs
  • Slightly warmer sea (because Mediterranean Sea)
  • Small waves
  • Touristy

Choose the east coast of the Algarve (Albufeira and beyond) if you just want to relax on the beach and enjoy swimming in the sea. Here you will find a lot of tourism and therefore large beach clubs and other beach facilities.

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The southwest of Portugal (the Costa Vicentina and the Lagos area):

  • Small bays
  • High cliffs provide a beautiful view
  • Cold sea (because Atlantic sea)
  • High waves
  • Relatively little tourism

Choose the quiet west coast of the Algarve if you want to discover breathtaking beaches, like surfing or don’t necessarily need to swim a lot (in the cold sea). Our preference is definitely on the west coast (the Costa Vicentina) because here you are away from mass tourism, it feels more authentic and we really like that surf vibe. There are also beautiful hiking trails along the west coast. And that’s why we describe six beautiful beaches on the Costa Vicentina below.

The surroundings of Lagos are also very beautiful. And that is why we describe a little further in this blog four nice beaches near Lagos. Keep in mind that the area around Lagos is quite touristy.

6 beautiful beaches on the Costa Vicentina in the west of the Algarve

Tip: Portugal has recently gone to great lengths to make the walking paths along the coast more accessible. In many places you will find “boardwalks”, footpaths over wooden platforms that are also easily accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs. Very nice when you travel through Portugal with a baby or child!

The Costa Vicentina: west coast of the Algarve!

Yes, we are fans of the Costa Vicentina, that is clear. Earlier we wrote a blog specifically about the Southwest Alentejo & Vicentine Coast Nature Park (of which the Costa Vicentina is a part) in which we already give you a lot of tips about this pretty region. And now a handy overview of the most beautiful beaches on the west coast of the Algarve.Portugal Lagos 4

1. Praia da Arrifana: a great surfing beach between the cliffs

For the ultimate surf vibe but also for one of the most beautiful bays in Portugal, head to Arrifana beach. This tiny fishing village breathes surfing. With surf hostels, restaurants where surfboards are rented and surfers everywhere you look. That is not surprising because the bay here provides the perfect waves, sometimes hundreds of meters long. The shape of the bay protects you from the cold north wind and you can also dive here. Click here for the location of Praia da Arrifana on the Vicentine Coast.

Restaurant tip Arrifana: be sure to visit CAL, where you can eat typical Portuguese dishes with a fancy twist, but at a reasonable price. A must here is the Mezkal oyster!

  • Accessibility: not great, you have to walk (or drive) quite a distance to get down to the beach. Downstairs there is hardly any parking space so that is not very convenient.
  • Beach beds: no
  • Parking options: there are almost no parking spaces, only along the side of the road or on top of the cliffs. Parking is free again.
  • Beach clubs/ restaurant: there is one restaurant on the beach. It looked nice from the outside! So you will find CAL on top of the cliffs.
  • Suitable for children: mwoah… due to the climb to and from the car, the waves (which are suitable for surfing but not for small children) this is not a family beach.
  • Beach type: sand
  • Public toilets or showers: there are public toilets and showers

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2. Praia de Monte Clerigo: nice family beach and tiny village

A fifteen minute drive from Aljezur, you will find the cute village of Praia de Monte Clerigo. Before driving down to the bay, it’s worth stopping at the top of the viewpoint just before you head down the hill. From here you have a view of the entire bay of Praia de Monte Clerigo.

This sandy beach is very suitable for families. The sea is relatively calm and there are several picnic areas. The tiny village itself looks cute with brightly colored houses. Click here for the location of Praia de Monte Clerigo on the Vicentine Coast.

Restaurant tip Praia de Monte Clerigo: you can eat a delicious lunch at restaurant O Sargo. The ceviche is especially recommended. Fancy something quick, cheap and simple, then go to O Zé where they sell really great tuna steak.

  • Accessibility: good, the beach is located directly on the main road.
  • Beach beds: no, you will not find beach beds or parasol rental here.
  • Parking options: there is a small (free) parking lot that is completely full even in the preseason.
  • Beach clubs/ restaurant: there are two restaurants.
  • Suitable for children: absolutely! The sea is calm and on the left side (southern side) are small rock pools where children can play during low tide.
  • Beach type: sand
  • Public toilets or showers: both available. But not very clean.

Monte Clerigo, Portugal 1

3. Praia de Mareta: family beach near Sagres

This beautiful sandy beach is located at the bottom of the cliff on which Sagres is built. The bay is sheltered, so there are fewer (high) waves. You will therefore hardly find any surfers here. Perfect for swimming and great for families. Keep in mind that an undertow is sometimes present, which makes swimming dangerous. Click here for the location of Praia de Mareta on the Vicentine Coast.

  • Accessibility: reasonable, the stairs make it difficult to get here with a stroller.
  • Beach beds: yes, you can rent beds and umbrellas, but they are not cheap.
  • Parking options: yes, there is a large (free) parking lot.
  • Beach clubs/ restaurant: no real beach clubs but two restaurants on the beach.
  • Suitable for children: yes, however there is sometimes a stronger undertow so keep an eye on the coast guard flags.
  • Beach type: sand
  • Public toilets or showers: both available.

Read all about Southwest Alentejo & Vicentine Coast Nature Park & Aljezur in our blog!

4. Praia da Amoreira: beautiful surfing beach on the riverbed

Near the beautiful beach Praia de Monte Clerigo is also the beach Praia da Amoreira. However, this is a completely different beach because you also have a large river bed here. This makes it a long and deep beach with a beautiful view. On google maps it seems that you can only reach this via the north and therefore have to drive quite a bit, but we could also reach it directly by road from Praia de Monte Clerigo. It may be that if the water is higher, you can no longer go to the beach from here. Click here for the location of Praia da Amoreira on the Vicentine Coast.

  • Accessibility: reasonable, it’s a bit of a drive, strangely enough the only way to get here is by taking a road that says you can’t enter (which everyone does).
  • Beach beds: yes
  • Parking options: South and north of this beach you will find parking spaces, both not very large.
  • Beach clubs/ restaurant: there are two restaurants in the dunes
  • Suitable for children: yes, but be aware of strong currents on the northern coast and near the riverbed
  • Beach type: sandy beach
  • Public toilets or showers: there are toilets but no showers

5. Praia de Odeceixe: nice family beach with a river bed

Just like Praia da Amoreira, Praia de Odeceixe is also a beach on a river bed. It feels a bit smaller and less raw here than at Praia da Amoreira. This is probably because this beach really belongs to the village of Odeceixe (see also point 3). It is very beautiful and fun for families. Click here for the location of Praia de Odeceixe on the Vicentine Coast.

  • Accessibility: good, you can drive here from Odeceixe in no time.
  • Beach beds: yes in the summer
  • Parking options: on the southern side of the cliffs, but this is very limited.
  • Beach clubs/ restaurant: no, but you will find a few restaurants on the cliffs.
  • Suitable for children: in itself yes, because you are close to a river and the sea, but watch out for a possible undertow.
  • Beach type: sandy beach
  • Public toilets or showers: at the entrance of the beach you will find a toilet and public showers.

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6. Praia do Burgau: Portugal’s Santorini

Praia do Burgau is also called the Santorini of Portugal because of the beautiful white houses that stand out brightly against the dark cliffs. This nice sandy beach is perfect for families. Burgau is a small fishing village that is not yet known to the general public, although it is not far from Lagos. The beach and the village are highly recommended, but also the road to get there. Especially the coastal route between Salema and Praia do Burgau is breathtakingly beautiful. Click here for the location of Praia do Burgau.

Restaurant tip Praia do Burgau: We had a bite at Miam Burgau, a French restaurant with delicious fish and lemon merengue tarts. Another recommendation is A Barraca.

  • Accessibility: it is difficult to maneuver in this small village with narrow roads and the road to the parking lot is quite steep.
  • Beach beds: in the summer you can rent beds with a parasol here (not in April).
  • Parking options: there is a very small parking lot that was completely full even in April. Parking is free.
  • Beach clubs/ restaurant: there are a few restaurants on the beach. We thought Miam Burgau was by far the nicest!
  • Suitable for children: yes, with fine sand, low waves and lifeguards, this beach is very suitable for families with children.
  • Beach type: sandy beach
  • Public toilets or showers: available

Praia de Burgau, Portugal 2

The 4 nicest beaches around Lagos

If you go a little further east from the Costa Vincenta, you will come to towns such as Luz, Lagos and Carvoeiro. This stretch of coastline is also beautiful, with high cliffs. However, these beaches are a lot more popular and touristy. It will be very busy here, especially in the summer. Keep this in mind as this can of course affect your experience. Here are the four beaches that we found the most beautiful in the south of the Algarve.

7. Porto Moss Beach

Just before you enter Lagos, you will find the suburb of Porto de Mos. In addition to a lot of holiday homes, you will also find a wonderful family beach: Praia de Porto Mos. Surrounded by high cliffs and with only two beach bars, it is nice and quiet here. The sea is fresh but sheltered enough to swim with children. When we were here in April, there were no beds and umbrellas for rent yet, but in the summer you can find shelter here. The sandy beach is quite spacious and is also visited by many locals. Click here for the location of this beach in the Algarve.

  • Accessibility: good, you can drive to the parking lot in the dunes by car.
  • Beach beds: in the summer you can rent beach beds with umbrellas here. Two beds plus umbrella costs 13 euros.
  • Parking options: there is a small (free) parking lot, but it fills up quickly.
  • Beach clubs/ restaurant: no real beach clubs but there are two restaurants on the beach.
  • Suitable for children: definitely, this is really a family beach!
  • Beach type: sand
  • Public toilets or showers: both available.

Lagos Praia de Porto Mos, Surfbeach, Portugal 3

8. Dona Ana Beach

This beautiful little bay is located near Lagos. You reach it by descending the high cliffs with a steep staircase. The beach is not very big, but it is larger than most of the bays here, so you will probably find a spot. Click here for the location of this beach in the Algarve.

  • Accessibility: not great, we didn’t dare to do it with a stroller. You have to climb some stairs.
  • Beach beds: in the summer you can rent beach beds and umbrellas, not yet in April.
  • Parking options: there is a small (free) parking lot on top of the cliff.
  • Beach clubs/restaurant: there are a few restaurants on top of the cliffs, but not on the beach.
  • Suitable for children: reasonable … due to the stairs it is less suitable for a visit with children, but the sea is calm.
  • Beach type: sand
  • Public toilets or showers: at the top of the cliff there is a public toilet.

Portugal Lagos 2

Walking along the beaches of Lagos

Also very nice is the Ponta da Piedade, a rough area over which a footpath runs along the most beautiful beaches and bays of Lagos. Ponta da Piedade starts on top of the cliff at Praia de Dona Ana, passes Praia do Camilo and Praia da Balanca, among others, and runs all the way to Praia de Canavial. This footpath runs over the cliffs, passing several viewpoints of the cliffs and coves. It is the most famous stretch of coastline and when you see what beautiful cliffs you see rising out of the clear blue sea here, it is not surprising!

Also good to know, almost the entire route is accessible with a stroller or wheelchair, only the first part at Praia de Dona Ana has stairs. But there is another starting point, along the road that avoids the stairs. There are parking spaces at both the start and end points, along the way you will find several restaurants, but there is little shade. You can walk there and back in about an hour (without stops).

Tip: you can also visit the cliffs and bays along Ponta da Piedade by boat. Click here for different options!

9. Meia Praia

This is the largest (and longest) beach in Lagos. This fine sandy beach is four kilometers long! In the dunes there is another boardwalk over which you can easily walk from the parking spaces to the beach, or to one of the beach bars. In the summer you can rent beds with umbrellas at various places. You are close to the center of Lagos, but still in a quiet place and because the beach is so large, you have more than enough space. You will not find rugged cliffs here, but a nice, accessible sea. Click here for the location of this beach in the Algarve.

  • Accessibility: good, this beach is located near the center of Lagos.
  • Beach beds: yes, you can rent sunbeds and umbrellas in various places during the summer season (not in April, unfortunately).
  • Parking options: you will find large parking spaces in many places in the dunes. Parking is free.
  • Beach clubs/ restaurant: in the dunes you will find several restaurants. Most were still closed in April, but we had a drink at Bar Quim, which is relaxed and accessible.
  • Suitable for children: absolutely, it is a large fine sandy beach where many families come.
  • Beach type: sandy beach
  • Public toilets or showers: almost all restaurants have public toilets and a shower.

10. Praia do Carvoeiro

The pretty village of Carvoeiro is half an hour’s drive from Lagos. The village itself is built around a lovely bay, with clear blue water and a beautiful sandy beach. There are boats in the sea that moor here to have lunch, children play in the shallow water. High rocks loom up on either side with cute white houses with painted window sills. Also very nice here are the facilities. You have showers, toilets and changing cubicles. Due to the cliffs there is some shade, in the summer beds with umbrellas are also rented here. Click here for the location of this beach in the Algarve.

Beautiful viewpoints at Praia do Carvoeiro

Walk to the viewpoint Alto da Praia do Carvoeiro to get a good view of the bay. You can also see the bay from the other side, from Miradouro da Snehore da Encarnacao. If you walk a little further here on the footpath along the cliffs, you will again arrive at a boardwalk (the Carvoeiro boardwalk) along which there are also a few nice viewpoints, such as the famous Algar Seco rock formation.

Restaurant tip Praia do Carvoeiro: Restaurant Levels is really nice (and tasty). No, you will not find the typical Portuguese cuisine here, but tasty things such as fresh tuna sashimi, pancakes and toast with avocado. Downstairs is the relaxed area where you can slide into your bikini, on the first floor is a more chic area. A reservation is recommended for both.

  • Accessibility: good! As soon as you enter Carvoeiro, the beach is already signposted and it is located in the middle of the village.
  • Beach beds: in the summer, but these are not cheap, it seems. They are not yet available for rent in April.
  • Parking options: In Carvoeiro itself you can park along the road, but it remains a search and a short walk.
  • Beach clubs/ restaurant: there are a lot of nice restaurants right on the beach.
  • Suitable for children: yes this is really a family beach.
  • Beach type: sandy beach
  • Public toilets or showers: yes there are public toilets and showers

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