How can you not dream about vacations in the Algarve? Spending days exploring the best beaches of the Algarve’s western coast is the plan for many visitors to the region. For that reason, we have decided to gather in this article some beaches you shouldn’t miss: hidden paradises, family-friendly beaches, and Blue Flag beaches. This summer of 2023, get to know the beaches of the Algarve’s western coast and enjoy the sun.
Beaches for families – Algarve’s western coast
One of the highlights of summer is having quality time with family. It’s one of the few moments in the year when everyone can come together and enjoy the mild days. To enjoy a beautiful beach day, it’s important to choose one that suits all ages. If you have children in the family, it’s even more important to choose well. It’s well-known that the little ones can’t resist a dip in the sea. For that reason, we have gathered some calm beaches on the Algarve’s western coast that are suitable for all ages.
It’s part of the beaches of the Costa Vicentina and is considered one of the most beautiful! It’s located at the northern end of the municipality of Aljezur, with the particularity of having a river on one side and the sea on the other. The Seixe River serves as a natural border between the Alentejo and the Algarve, and that’s the main reason for our choice as a family beach on the Algarve’s western coast. Odeceixe Beach is set in an idyllic scenery between mountains and calm waters (river area). The more turbulent waters are in the maritime bathing area, where it’s common to find surfers riding the waves.
The village of Odeceixe is three kilometers away, with restaurants, shops, supermarkets, and a tourist mini-train that travels from the village to the beach. Since parking near the beach is limited, the train can be an excellent alternative. The ticket costs approximately €1.50 for adults, and children up to six years old don’t pay.
Salema Beach is a hidden gem near Vila do Bispo and has been featured in international newspapers such as The Guardian and The Telegraph. We believe that words alone are not enough to describe the beauty of this beach, but we promise to do justice to this treasure.
Memories of a fishing past still intersect with the present. At this beach, boats and fishing gear are very present in the daily life. Here, it’s still possible to see the boats heading out to sea and returning loaded with fish. In front of the beach, there are some restaurants that receive these fish, and it might be a good idea to reserve a table for dinner after a day at the beach. The Boia restaurant is one of these restaurants and has been in the same family for three generations.
On the extensive sandy beach, you can do a little bit of everything due to its size. You can relax on a rented sun lounger, play with the children, or even rent a SUP board. In addition to the typical activities, you can also observe dinosaur footprints on the beach. If you want to follow the path of these footprints, go to Santa Beach and discover the third nucleus of these traces.
The timeless beaches – Algarve’s western coast
Those who spend their vacations in the Algarve always adopt a beach. It’s on that beach that they spend most of their time, make friends with other people, and find the best spot to lay their towel. If you don’t have your favorite beach yet, here are some of the most visited ones in the summer.
Praia D. Ana
Next to the iconic Ponta da Piedade is one of the most beautiful beaches in Lagos. Even before burying your feet in the sand, you can confirm the beauty of this beach from the top of the wooden stairs. From the top of the staircase, you can see the rocky formations that emerge from the ocean and the turquoise-blue color of the almost transparent sea. In this beach with many charms, the high cliffs shelter visitors from the winds, and the calm tides allow anyone to dive and swim peacefully.
Rent a beach chair and an umbrella to ensure maximum comfort. During lunchtime, you can always count on the Marisol restaurant and enjoy the view over the sea. This is also where you will find public restrooms and showers. To reach this beach, you can walk for 20 minutes from the center of Lagos, take a tourist bus, or park your car in the free parking lot.
It is worth mentioning that Praia D. Ana was recognized in 2013 by Condé Nast Traveller magazine as the best beach in the world and the most beautiful beach in the country. Two years later, TripAdvisor also recognized it as the best Portuguese beach.
It has an extensive sandy beach, and the landscape remains pristine. The western side features dunes and the estuary, which you can explore until you reach the sea. In this vast beach, there is room for everyone, from the peaceful beachgoer who loves deserted beaches to the adventurous water sports enthusiasts practicing kitesurfing or stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). Close to the beach, in the back area, you will find the largest boardwalks in the Algarve, allowing you to walk from one end of the beach to the other.
You can rent a beach chair, have a Thai massage, rent kitesurfing or SUP equipment, and even rent a small motorless boat called Gaivota. The best thing about this beach comes as a surprise with the shout, “Bolas de Berlim, prescribed by Dr. Sir.” It’s the itinerant vendor of the best egg custard pastries (Bolas de Berlim), which taste even better at the beach.
On the western side of Alvor Beach, there are several restaurants to visit, from Restinga to Atlântida. Fresh fish is the highlight of these establishments, which have terraces overlooking the sea.
Hidden Paradises – Western Algarve
There are beaches that should remain anonymous, like well-guarded treasures. They are precious gems surrounded by nature, where only the most courageous venture in search of the serenity of lesser-known beaches in the Western Algarve. Have you had the pleasure of visiting any of these beaches?
Barranco do Martinho
A small beach in its wild state – that’s how we can describe Barranco do Martinho. Like all lesser-known beaches, access is difficult and not for everyone! The path to reach it is sometimes along the rocks and at other times along a small cement walkway until you reach the sand. Before embarking on this adventure, you should pay attention to the tide schedules, as this beach becomes inaccessible for a few hours.
This beach is a true paradise for divers who enjoy observing small mollusks and fish without the need for extensive equipment. A pair of goggles is all you need here. The water is transparent, and there are no major obstacles when exploring marine life. On this beach, right next to Ponta da Piedade, naturism is practiced, and pets are welcome.
João d’Arens Beach is known as “the last window to the sea” in Portimão. At the top of this beach, there is a rural area, one of the few in the city of Portimão, and there is a movement to ensure that this natural space continues to exist. It is through this countryside area that the descent to the beach begins, passing through rocks and dirt paths. The journey, once again, is not easy, but with some courage and attention, you will reach the sandy beach peacefully. Alternatively, you can reach this beach by paddleboarding or using small boats called “Gaivota,” which can be rented at the neighboring beach (Praia do Vau).
On the cliffs of this beach, you will find avid fishermen trying their luck with the fish in these waters. Observe carefully, and you will be amazed by the techniques of the fearless fishermen on the cliffs of João d’Arens. Like Barranco do Martinho, this beach is also open to naturism.
Blue Flag Beaches – Western Algarve
The Blue Flag is a symbol of quality for beaches and marinas that meet a set of environmental criteria, safety measures, and provide environmental education to users. In 2023, the Algarve raised a total of 91 Blue Flags, with 85 at the beaches, 4 at marinas, and 2 on eco-touristic boats. Besides environmental aspects, the Blue Flag signifies that the beach has good access and offers safety to visitors. To find out which beaches in the Algarve have a Blue Flag, you can visit the official Blue Flag website.
Meia Praia is one of the many beaches with a Blue Flag and is also the largest in the municipality of Lagos. Meia Praia stretches from the mouth of the Bensafrim River to the mouth of the Alvor Estuary. It covers 5 kilometers of sandy shoreline along the extensive bay of Lagos, with several access points through wooden walkways that ensure the preservation of the dunes.
It is one of the few beaches in the municipality without rocks, making it perfect for water sports. In the middle of the beach, you’ll find a windsurfing and kitesurfing school, among others. These water sports are easy to learn in the calm waters here. The beach has several restaurants, changing rooms, and plenty of free parking spaces along the shoreline.
Porto Mós Beach
Even before reaching the sandy beach of Porto Mós, you can enjoy the view of the coast all the way to Sagres from the Atalaia Viewpoint. You’ll have the pleasure of appreciating the landscape and keeping it in your memory! Porto Mós Beach is sheltered from the wind by the rocks, and the spacious sandy beach is excellent for family games and activities.
Outside the beach, there is a free parking area and wooden walkways that provide access. Prepare to spend the day at the beach and have lunch at one of the restaurants, such as Restaurante António or Restaurante Campimar. You can also rent beach chairs and umbrellas near the restaurants.
Popular Beaches – Western Algarve
We could list all the beaches in the Western Algarve, as they all have a beauty that stands out from the rest of the country. The beaches on this side of the Algarve have something unique, such as the ochre tone of the rocks and the transparent turquoise-blue sea. If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit at least one of the beaches we’ve mentioned, we invite you to do so this summer of 2023. You can start with one of the most popular beaches in the Western Algarve.
Marinha Beach is in a wild state and boasts unparalleled beauty. Perhaps that’s why it was considered one of the top 100 beaches in the world by the Michelin Guide. You should begin your visit by admiring the beauty of the high cliffs sculpted by the wind that surround the beach. Take in the breathtaking views of the “7 Suspended Valleys,” a trail that runs along the coast of Lagoa, where you can observe the golden-toned rocks contrasting with the blue sea.
The long wooden staircase that provides access to the beach may discourage some visitors due to its length, but we assure you it will be worth the effort. It’s no wonder that this beach received the Golden Beach Award from the Ministry of the Environment.
Rocha Beach is one of the most iconic beaches in the Algarve! It has over 1 kilometer of sandy shoreline and attracts more visitors each year. Along the beach, there is a wooden walkway that provides access to various parts of the beach, including the sports area. In addition to swimming in the sea, you can play basketball, volleyball, or football. Rocha Beach hosts various summer events that are renewed every year.
At each end of the beach, there are viewpoints to observe the beach and the ships arriving and departing from the Port of Portimão. At the Fortaleza de Sta. Catarina, the panoramic view of the Arade River merges with the several beaches along the coast of Portimão. This beach also offers several restaurants where you can enjoy the local cuisine.
Now that you know the top 10 beaches in the Western Algarve, start planning your visit to the Algarve in 2023.
Written by: www.casasdobarlavento.com