Beaches in Algarve: 10 Best & Most Beautiful Ones (2021)

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The beaches in Algarve are constantly ranked as some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Bordered by cliffs in shades of yellow, red and orange, and lapped by crystal clear water, these incomparable beaches are some of my favorites in the world.

I first went to southern Portugal, in 2008. My mother was living there at the time and so I spent one month enjoying the European summer and some of the best Algarve beaches. Since then, I have been trying to go to the Algarve at least every other year!

Every time I go there, I have a lot of fun with friends and family and new adventures. My last visit was in 2020 and the Algarvian coast still surprised and amazed me with its impressive and breathtaking scenery.

Below you will find a list of the ten most beautiful beaches in Algarveso the next time you plan a trip to Portugal, you should make sure to visit some of them.

Beaches in Algarve
Praia do Camilo, one of the most beautiful beaches in Algarve

The 10 Best & Most Beautiful Algarve Beaches

1 – Ponta da Piedade, Lagos

Lagos is one of the cities that has some of the best beaches in Algarve. Among them, it’s Ponta da Piedade, one of those places that it’s hard to believe exist!

Located around 3Km from Lago’s city centre, Ponta da Piedade is probably the most beautiful shoreline on Earth, according to the Huffington Post, and one of the most incredible beaches that I’ve ever seen.

Featuring a stunning combination of majestic rock formations, sea arches, caves, ochre cliffs, and crystal-clear green water, Ponta da Piedade will certainly take your breath away.

I’ve been to the Algarve many times but even I was completely in awe the first time I saw Ponta da Piedade. OMG!

Ponta da Piedade, Lagos, and its ochre limestone cliffs with incredible rock formations, sea arches and some boats sailing along its crystal-clear green water
You must-see Ponta da Piedade in person!

The beach is accessed by road then on foot along a cliff-top path, by boat, or even better, by kayak.

From the top of the 20m (65ft) high cliffs you can take in all of Ponta da Piedade’s beauty, but you should also definitely take the 182 steps down the ravine and get near the water to have another view of it.

Five boats sailing in the crystalline greet water of Ponta da Piedade, Lagos, Portugal, and ochre limestone cliffs in the background.
Ponta da Piedade, the most beautiful beach in Lagos, Portugal.

If you visit Ponta da Piedade during the peak summer season you won’t be allowed to get into the water unless you go early in the morning or at the end of the afternoon when there isn’t boat traffic. But you can embark on a boat trip to visit nearby beaches and grottoes.

There’s a parking lot, public restrooms a restaurant, souvenir shops, and a lighthouse (closed to the public) at the end of the road.

Ponta da Piedade is for me the most beautiful beach in the Algarve. It’s a must-see when you’re in Lagos!

Smart Tip: You must be very careful when you climb the cliffs and the steep stairway to take pictures because in some parts there isn’t a handrail.Find out more about The Famous Beaches in Lagos

2 – Praia dos Três Irmãos (Prainha), Alvor

Located at the eastern end of Alvor Beach, in the municipality of Portimão, Praia dos Três Irmãos, also known as Prainha, is home to the greatest rock formation I’ve ever seen in the Algarve.

The beach is framed by huge ochre-colored limestone cliffs with incredible rocky outcrops that divide it into further little sandy bays each with their own rock arches, sea stacks, and caves.

Praia dos Três Irmãos was one of the Algarve beaches that impressed most!

People walking and sunbathing on Praia do Três Irmāos, Alvor, Portimão, Portugal, which's surrounded by massive ochre-coloured limestone cliffs and has crystal-clear green water.
It’s so impressive!!

Access can be gained by the elevator of the Caniço Restaurant or a set of stairs for those coming from Aldeamento Turístico da Prainha, or through a space between the cliffs for those coming from Praia do Alvor.

This is a Blue flag beach and there are restaurants, toilets, seasonal lifeguards, and also very nice viewpoints.

When I arrived at Praia dos Três Irmãos and saw the phenomenal rock formation I was completely in awe!

It was at low tide and the contrast of the shallow green water with the rocks covered with seaweed and the ochre cliffs made this beach look surreal and miles away from reality…

The massive ochre limestones cliffs and crystalline blue water of Praia dos Três Irmãos, one of the best beaches in Portimão

The sea arches and caves of Praia dos Três Irmãos are begging to be explored and you should definitely do it.

Please, don’t forget to include Praia dos Três Irmãos on your list. You will be as impressed as I was!

Smart Tip: The closest parking lot is at Praia do Alvor and when you get on to the beach walk to the eastern end (left side facing the water) to reach Praia dos Três Irmãos.You may also be interested in: 21 Places to Visit andThings to Do in the Algarve

3 – Praia de Benagil, Carvoeiro

You might have seen a picture of Praia de Benagil, considered one of the most incredible beaches in Algarve, as it gained fame recently because of its iconic sea cave.

Located in the little fishing village of Benagil, in the municipality of Lagoa, Praia de Benagil would be just one more hidden beach if it wasn’t for the Algar de Benagil, a stunning cave just around the corner to the left side of Benagil Beach.

What makes Benagil Cave special and one of the “Top 10 coolest caves around the world”, according to Huffington Post, is the perfect combination of golden-colored walls with a round hole in the ceiling and two beautiful archways.

The stunning Benagil Cave in the Algarve, Portugal, and its golden-coloured walls with a round hole in the ceiling and two beautiful archways
The stunning Benagil Cave

The cave is very picturesque and when you arrive, you will be completely amazed.

Inside this spectacular cave, you will see the sunlight streaming through the roof and reflecting off the golden sand and the blue azure water entering the cave through the arches forming a small beach.

I have visited Benagil cave four times, by boat and kayak, and I loved it! It’s such a magical place and a natural wonder of the world.

Some people walking and posing for pictures inside Benagil Cave, Portugal, which has golden-coloured walls with a round hole in the ceiling and an archway
The second time I went to Benagil.

Smart Tip: Now only small boats, kayaks and SUP can get inside the cave. Be aware that boats aren’t allowed to disembark passengers in the cave.

4 – Praia do Camilo, Lagos

Located in Lagos, next to Dona Ana beach, Praia do Camilo is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches in Algarve.

Access is easy and once you arrive on the top of the breathtaking cliff, it will be hard to decide if you should stay there to enjoy the awe-inspiring views, walk along the cliff-top path or take the steps all the way down to place your towel, sunbathe and just relax.

Praia do Camilo, Lagos, Portugal, with many umbrellas with different colours, people walking on the beach that's surrounded by massive yellow-orangish limestone cliffs and a wooden stairway that gives access to the beach
View from the sea cliff

This picturesque Praia do Camilo is framed by majestic limestone rocks and provides astonishing vistas, whether you are on the cliffs, on the stairway, on the sand, or even in the water.

A wooden stairway giving access to Praia do Camilo, Lagos, that's surrounded by red-yellowish cliffs and has calm blue water

The infrastructure is very basic and there is only one restaurant close to the stairway, which is really nice by the way.

There are neither kiosks nor beach amenities at Praia do Camilo, so be prepared to take a cooler with water, booze, and snacks.

There are only lifeguards on duty, kayak and SUP rentals. The price is € 25/h.

I’ve been to Praia do Camilo several times, at low tide and high tide, during the off-season and high-season.

At high tide, the beach becomes narrower, and to get to the second section you need to go through a hand-dug tunnel or swim.

Praia do Camilo is one of the most popular beaches in Lagos and can get very crowded during the summer, especially in August, and finding a place to lay down your towel can be a changeling. Even though, the visit is totally worthwhile.

People walking on the amber sand of Praia do Camilo, Lagos, Portugal, during the low season and some red limestone cliffs in the background.
Praia do Camilo during the off-season and at low tide.

5 – Praia da Marinha, Lagoa

Yet another stunning and definitely one of the most beautiful beaches in Algarve and I would say of the whole world.

Located in the Lagoa area, a half-hour drive from Albufeira, this award-winning beach has been featured in many Portuguese guidebooks and advertising campaigns.

There’s a large parking lot and once you step out of the car you understand why this beach was elected by Michelin Guide as one of the ten most beautiful beaches in Europe.

The beach is only accessible via a steep pathway along the cliff, and I bet you’ll stop every other minute to take tons of pictures, admire the striking views and catch your breath.

The view of Praia da Marinha, Algarve, Portugal, from the pathway with people walking on the beach and swimming on its crystalline blue water, and yellow limestone cliffs.
The breathtaking view from the steep pathway.

Praia da Marinha has amazing orange-yellowish limestone cliffs, sea arches, golden sand, and crystalline blue water

The contrast between the blue water and the cliffs is just unbelievable!

The orange-yellowish cliffs and blue water of Praia da Marinha in Lagoa, Algarve, Portugal.
The spectacular Praia da Marinha, one of the best Algarve beaches.

There aren’t beach amenities, but there is a restaurant right at the beach’s entrance.

There are also lifeguards on duty, SUP and kayak rentals. The price is €20/h.

Two popular activities here are renting a kayak to visit other beaches, including Benagil Cave, and cliff jumping.Further read: Complete Guide to Praia da Marinha

Similar to Praia do Camilo, Praia da Marinha becomes narrower at high tide and very crowded in August.

People walking on the amber sand soft sand of Praia da Marinha, that's bordered by massive yellow-orangish cliffs and has crystalline blue water.
Praia da Marinha, one of the most famous beaches in Portugal

6 – Praia de Odeceixe, Odeceixe

Most people vacationing in the Algarve stay in the most popular resort towns and don’t head to the Costa Vicentina, a protected natural park that extends from Burgau, near Lagos, to Odeceixe (on the border between Algarve and Alentejo).

But there are beautiful beaches on this distinctive coast of the Atlantic Ocean too!

Among them, Praia de Odeceixe, located in the town of Odeceixe, 57mi (92Km) away from Albufeira and 76min (123Km) from the capital Faro, is the most astonishing one.

I always wanted to go to Odeceixe Beach and in 2020 I finally made it. It’s one of the best beaches in Algarve and I absolutely loved it!

Featuring a round shape “island” encircled by black cliffs topped with vegetation and a striking crystalline green water river that flows into the sea, Praia de Odeceixe is a uniquely spectacular sight to marvel at.

Odeceixe Beach, Portugal, and its round shape stretch of sand, a river with crystalline water surrounding it and a black cliff covered with vegetation bordering the beach
The picturesque Praia de Odeceixe

This blue flag beach has soft sand, umbrellas, and chairs for hire, toilets, waters sports, a parking lot, and plenty of space to lay down your towel.

You can go surfing, rent a kayak/SUP to paddle along the river course, swim in the freshwater, or just soak up the sun and relax.

Praia de Odeceixe is one of my favourite Algarve beaches and I’m planning to visit it in 2021 again.

It’s a true hidden gem and one of Algarve’s best-kept secrets. Don’t miss it!

People sunbathing on towels and underneath umbrellas of different colours on Praia de Odeceixe, Portugal, the sea and a black cliff topped with vegetation in the background

7 – Praia Dona Ana, Lagos

Located in Lagos and elected by Condé Nast Traveller in 2013 as the best beach in the world, Praia Dona Ana is outstanding and for sure one of the best Algarve beaches.

But different from Praia do Camilo and Praia da Marinha, for example, its beauty is appreciated best from the sand.

The crystal-clear water and massive yellow limestone cliffs of Praia Dona Ana, Lagos, Portugal,  with people in the water, walking on the beach and sunbathing on towels or underneath umbrellas from different colours
It’s an extraordinary view, isn’t it?!

There are beautiful limestone rocks rising up sublimely from the crystal-clear blue water, golden sand and orange cliffs covered with vegetation

Walking down to this beach is truly amazing and I felt really glad that I finally visited it.

a man walking among the orange-yellowish cliffs of Praia Dona Ana, Lagos
The orange-yellowish cliffs of Praia Dona Ana, Lagos

The access to this beach is by stairways and there’s a parking lot, beach amenities, viewpoints, a restaurant, and even a masseur.

You can get an umbrella and two chairs for only €10.

white chairs and umbrellas on Praia Dona Ana, Lagos
Some of the beach facilities.

Praia Dona Ana is very appreciated by tourists and locals and it has been enlarged to better provide for everyone.

Praia Dona Ana after the extension.
Praia Dona Ana after the extension.

The most popular activities are kayaking, SUP, and boat riding.

I’ve done both and I personally think that kayaking on the sea to the stacks and grottoes is much more fun.

a small boat with four people wearing a red lifejacket sailing on the blue waters of the Algarvian coast backed up by huge yellow cliffs

8 – Praia da Coelha, Albufeira

Albufeira also has some of the best beaches in Algarve and you must include this city in your itinerary, in case that you won’t be based here.

Located around 6Km (3.7 mi) west of Albufeira Old Town, Rabbit Beach is a breathtaking beach surrounded by yellow cliffs and has fine golden sand with seashells and crystal-clear turquoise water.

The beach is a 5 min walk from the parking lot, has calm water, extraordinary rock formations, and very picturesque scenery.

The extraordinary scenery of Praia da Coelha, which's surrounded by yellow limestone cliffs, has soft amber sand and translucent blue water with people sunbathing, walking on the beach and in the water
The extraordinary scenery of Praia da Coelha, the most beautiful beach in Albufeira.

Raised wooden walkways take you to the western part of the beach from where, along the water’s edge, you can reach the sections of Praia da Coelha that are more secluded and quiet.

People walking on Praia da Coelha, Albufeira, which has enormous limestone ochre cliffs and crystalline blue water
The second section or Praia da Coelha at high tide is only accessible from the cliffs.

You can also walk on the trail path along the hilly landscape around it to explore the magnificent viewpoints, find hidden coves and especially see the beauty of Praia da Coelha in all its glory.

There also some coral reefs, making this beach perfect for snorkeling.

I felt like I found a real treasure while walking along the cliffs of Praia da Coelha.

The crystal-clear azure water and rocks covered with green seaweed of Praia da Coelha, Albufeira
Such a treasure, isn’t it?

Praia da Coelha is a Blue Flag beach, with lifeguards on duty, Stand Up Paddle Boarding and beach chairs and umbrellas for hire and there is a restaurant at the entrance with Wi-Fi, reasonable prices, and bathrooms. Pets and balls aren’t allowed, though.

Praia da Coelha is one the best beaches in Albufeira and the Algarve as well. You should not miss it!

View from the viewpoint of Rabbit Beach, Albufeira, and its colossal limestone cliffs, rocks on the beach and in the water, and a man entering into a grotto using a stand-up paddle board.
One of the most secluded parts of Praia da Coelha.

9 – Praia da Luz, Luz

Located 6Km west of Lagos, Praia da Luz (Beach of Light), is another famous Algarvian beach that you shouldn’t miss.

The beach is sheltered by the imposing Rocha Negra, a basalt headland, and the landscape is very different from the part of the Algarve coast between Albufeira and Lagos.

Here you can’t find the yellow-orangish limestone cliffs that the Algarve is known for, but the beach is equally fascinating.

As soon as I arrived at Praia da Luz I was mesmerized by its dazzling blue water!

It features soft sand, stunning crystalline water, and some rocks forming natural pools that are perfect for relaxing.

Pericles Rosa wearing a blue short standing in the crystalline water of Praia da Luz, Portugal, and grey cliff that borders the beach in the background
Look at this water 😍

Luz is a large blue flag beach, and you can expect all kinds of facilities, such as wooden boardwalks, toilets, umbrellas and chairs for hire, lifeguards on duty, wheelchair access, etc.

What makes Praia da Luz special and one of Algarve best beaches in the town where it’s set in.

You can spend the entire day exploring the former fishing village of Vila da Nossa Senhora da Luz and its charming cobblestone streets, picturesque churches, and beachfront restaurants.

Not to mention, sunbathing, swimming, and lounging on the beach.

A wooden boardwalk, umbrellas and blue lounge chairs on Praia da Luz, that has soft sand, crystal-clear water and is bordered by an imposing basalt cliff.
There is plenty of space to place your towel on Praia da Luz

10 – Ilha Deserta, Faro

Whether you’re spending some time in Faro or looking for isolated and quiet beaches, Ilha Deserta is the place to go.

Deserta is an unspoiled and uninhabited island with pristine beaches and crystal-clear water that shelter the Ria Formosa Natural Park’s mudflats.

To get there you need to take a ferry from Faro or book a day trip which takes you to another gorgeous island as well.

Once you arrive at Ilha Deserta, you feel the tranquillity and relaxation that you’re dreaming of when going on a holiday.

There are some facilities, such as chairs and umbrellas for hire, and lifeguards on duty.

The only restaurant on the island, Restaurant Estaminé, was destroyed by a fire this year. So, bring a cooler bag with some food and refreshments.

Ilha Deserta has a great shoreline that is perfect for long walks and some parts that are clothing optional, in case that you want to get rid of the tan lines.

Ilha Deserta, Faro, Algarve, Portugal
Ilha Deserta, Faro

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