Still wondering where to go for your fix of sun, sea and sand this summer? With its spectacular beaches, rugged cliffs and crystal clear waters, the Algarve is the perfect place to visit in Southern Portugal. The name may evoke images of your grandparent’s annual beach holiday, but bear with us on this one: it’s a bit of an undiscovered gem amongst backpackers, and if you get off the beaten track you’ll be rewarded with secluded coves and rugged nature. The Algarve isn’t far from Lisbon either, so why not combine the two for the best Portugal road trip ever? Here are 7 of the Algarve’s most stunning beaches to add to your itinerary…
Beach #1: Ponta Da Piedade
This picturesque bay near Lagos on the west coast is without a doubt one of the most stunning beaches in the whole of the Algarve. Admire the rugged cliffs and crystal clear water from above, then follow the steep steps down and cool off with a dip, or hop on a boat to get a closer look at the cliffs. Alternatively you can hire a canoe in nearby Lagos and make your way over to the beach that way.
Beach #2: Praia Da Marinha
This gorgeous beach is tucked away between rugged cliffs, so you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled or you might miss it. From the car park take a right and walk along beach until you reach the viewing point, where you’ll see imposing rock formations and red cliff faces that have been sculpted by the waves. With a bit of luck you might even find some fossils! However be extra careful, as some of the dangerous drops are not signposted and the edges can be pretty unstable.
Beach #3: Olhos De Água
Keep the Portugal road trip going with the bizarre red rock formations and craggy cliffs that give Olhos De Água an otherworldly feel. The secluded little bay is relatively quiet, with lots of rocks for sitting/posing, and sheltered corners to escape from the wind and sun. Eat lunch on the small promenade, or simply stroll along the coast in search of rock pools and local wildlife.
Beach #4: Praia De São Rafael
Located near Albufeira, this secluded bay is the perfect place to relax and unwind: the turquoise waters and stunning views are guaranteed to make your Instagram followers happy. It’s worth exploring the steps and footpaths nearby because at the far end of the beach you’ll find a smaller, hidden beach. The beach is under the radar of most tourists, so you’ll likely be sharing the beach with a handful of other travellers and the local fishermen.
Beach # 5: Praia De Albandeira
This little bay is slightly off the beaten track, so although it’s small, you’re still guaranteed to find a spot to lay your towel. The overhanging cliffs look like something out of a fairy-tale, and also provide shade and protection from the elements. If you wanted to include a bit of surfing on your road trip around Portugal, you’ll be glad to know the area’s popular with surfers of all abilities, and the clear waters make it perfect for snorkelling. Turn right out of the car park and walk along the cliffs to explore the coastline – just don’t get too carried away with the incredible views, you wouldn’t want to lose your footing here!
Beach #6: Isla Da Culatra
To reach this island and its unspoilt beach you’ll need to catch the ferry from Olhão, just west of Faro. Follow the boardwalk from the beach through rugged dunes, to see a different, more wild, side to the Algarve. It can get a little windy here, but you’ll likely have the beach pretty much to yourself, making this the perfect place to switch off from the outside world.
Beach #7: Praia Senhora Da Rocha
It’s no surprise that so many locals choose to get married at the small chapel slap bang in the middle of the beach here. The idyllic golden sands and turquoise waters are enough to make you fall in love all over again. Be warned: you’ll never want to leave!
About the author
Yvonne is a student, optimist and globetrotter. Follow her adventures over at lovelyforliving.
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