Best beaches in Portugal
Incredible beaches are dotted right across Portugal, which shares its coastline with the Atlantic, offering up incredible snorkelling and water sports adventures. The Algarve is home to many of Portugal’s finest beaches, and boasts a dramatic coastline backed by limestone cliffs and lofty rock formations. With more than 150km of shoreline on offer, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to finding the perfect place to catch some rays, swim, snorkel and play with the kids. Here’s our ultimate guide to the best Portugal beaches.
Praia da Dona Ana
A beautiful beach located near Lagos that easily makes the list of best beaches in Portugal, Praia da Dona Ana was named after a WW1 survivor – a nun called Ana. You’ll recognise it as the picture postcard of the Algarve, offering inspiring rock formations and gorgeously clear waters. When sitting on the beach, the high cliffs will protect you from coastal winds, while children will love collecting the numerous seashells on the sand. Expect crystal-clear sea water that is ideal for snorkelling and swimming because of its calm nature. It is however a little cooler than other beaches, and it may take some time to acclimatise when swimming, especially during the heat of summer. Praia da Dona Ana is very popular and does get crowded in the summer months, especially during the middle of the day, and is quieter during the mornings and evenings.
The beach is a great place for a romantic stroll as you take in the views. Note however that due to high cliffs and plenty of stairs to access the beach, access isn’t suitable for wheelchair users or parents with pushchairs. When the sun sets head to the nearby town of Lagos for a bite to eat before driving back to your picturesque Villa Dora – a tranquil haven in the hills above San Rafael.
Praia da Marinha
One of the best beaches in Portugal, near Carvoeiro, Praia da Marinha’s sandy shores are continuously rated among the most beautiful in the world, and the shoreline is the poster beach for the Algarve tourism industry thanks to its famous ‘M rock’, formation. Its beauty has to be seen to be believed, and taking in the epic sights this beach has to offer really fills you with wonder. The beach boasts soft, golden sand and a restaurant offering refreshments. When the tide is high, walking to the quieter parts of the beach can be tricky if you don’t want to get wet. During low tide, you can walk right along the beach to the famous ‘M rock’.
When it comes to swimming, the waters are usually calm and clear enough for snorkelling, but you can get higher and more choppy waves than on other beaches, so it may not be suitable for younger children. Because of the high cliffs surrounding the beach, there is plenty of protection from the wind, but not much shade, so pack plenty of sunscreen. During peak season, crowds can gather, but thankfully not in their droves, as you need a car to access the beach.
Many people go to Praia de Marinha to enjoy the stunning views and hike the various walking trails that you can pick up from the beach. Walking to the west, one path takes you from the coast right up to Praia de Vale Centeanes, and is known as the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, leading walkers up and across seven stunning coastal valleys. It is one of the most famous Algarve walking trails, so expect plenty of Instagram-worthy photos. If you walk to the east, you can take in a cliff walk offering epic views of the coast from the beach right up to Senhora da Rocha. This long trail lasts a few kilometres and is ideal for the whole family as you take in the panoramic vistas.
Have one of the best beach holidays in Portugal by booking one of our beautiful holiday villas in the Algarve. Return to a quality home-from-home after a day of fun in the sun.