When I decided to travel to the South of Portugal, all that was on my mind was to escape the freezing winter temperatures I had been experiencing in France and England. I hadn’t done much research into the Algarve before arriving and had no idea this place was such a popular holiday destination. I’m a beach lover, so I knew I was going to be living close to the beach, but I did not expect the beaches here to be so picturesque!
Ideally you’d want to hire a car to travel along the coast (since the public transport here is VERY inconvenient) but if you’re a budget traveller like me, it’s possible to see all of the following by bus, train or by foot.
Tip: Trains are cheaper than buses here and if you’re under 25 you get discount (you don’t have to be a student), but only if you ask 😉
These are what I consider to be the best beaches/ocean views in The Algarve in order from West to East…Enjoy!
Right on the very South West tip of Europe you’ll find a place called Sagres, and since it can get extremely windy here it’s a paradise for surfers. We caught a bus from Lagos to Sagres but accidentally got off at the wrong stop so didn’t get to the ‘main’ surfy tourist area that was nearby. Instead we found this cute little secluded area with a cafe on the beach.
There’s a very calm energy here, so it’s the perfect place to relax over a drink.
2. Ponta de Piedade, Lagos
If you want to be around the parties, activities and people then Lagos is definitely the place to go in the Algarve. This is the main tourist destination and most people here speak English. I’d recommend to use this place as a base to come back to after days out exploring the nearby towns and beaches.
The main beach in Lagos is Meia beach but about 30 minutes walk from the centre of Lagos is Ponta De Piedade. I think it’s probably THE best place to see the ocean. The Algarve is known for it’s magical sunsets and it sure was…the views here are breathtaking.
3. Praia do Vau, Portimao
After spending a few days in Lagos (and thinking it was the only big town in the Algarve) I was very surprised to find Portimao. Apart from the beautiful beaches, there’s also a big shopping centre and there are a lot more locals here compared to Lagos.
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An hours walk from the centre of Portimao is where you’ll find Praia do Vau, a stunning beach located right next to the main beach, Praia De Rocha.
4. Praia da Marinha, Lagoa
Praia Da Marinha is the most photographed beach in the Algarve and you can see why! There is no public transport that goes directly there so you have to catch a bus to Lagoa and it’s a 1.5 hour walk from the bus stop. I was lucky to get a lift by a nice man who I asked for directions at the petrol station.
It’s also a perfect place to camp the night if you have a Campervan or RV. There are no shops or restaurants around so make sure you get food and water before you get here, especially if you plan to walk. The views are unreal from above but you can also walk down to the beach for some great photo opportunities.
5. Praia dos Pescadores, Albufeira
Albufeira is another one of the bigger towns filled with cafes, bars and tourists. If you plan to come here don’t catch a train because for some strange reason whoever designed this place made the train station 6km from the town. You can catch the bus but I missed mine on my solo trip here (and they don’t come regularly!) so I hitchhiked and met the loveliest African lady who dropped me off right at the beach.
Tip: Hitch hiking here is considered acceptable so a lot of people do it and most of the locals would pick you up.
6. Monte Gordo Beach
About an hours drive and on the opposite end of The Algarve, right by the border of Portugal and Spain is the beautiful Monte Gordo.
This beach is HUGE and makes for the best walks. Here you’ll find cafes and lots of random funky boats on the sand.
It was so nice to chill at one of the cafe’s overlooking the ocean, and since this area is quite far from the main touristy parts of The Algarve, it’s so cheap (we paid less than 5Euros for a cappuccino, local beer and a huge bowl of chips!)
So there you have it, the best beaches to put on your Algarve bucket list. I will definitely visit The Algarve again some day but next time I’ll come with a bigger budget and invest in a hire car to drive along the coast, which I would highly recommend for you too.
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Have you been to The Algarve before? Are there any other beaches that you’d add to this list? Leave us a comment…Pin this post on Pinterest for later: