Best Algarve Beaches to escape the crowd
Long, tranquil streches of sand to get away from it allKnown for its beautiful beaches and amazing coastline, the Algarve is one of the top beach destinations in the world. With the mantra of social distancing in our psyches, you may be worried about being crowded on the beach. Don’t be. The Algarve has some incredibly long beaches where social distancing is not an issue. Even at the height of summer, you can enjoy quality beach days on lesser frequented stretches of sand. Just one of the reasons why the Algarve should be your top travel destination after Covid-19.
The Algarve coast is a mix of picturesque cove beaches and immense stretches of sand. With almost 200km of coastline, there is a beach to suit every taste and the quality of the beaches is generally outstanding, with 87 beaches flying the Blue Flag in 2021.
Here we tell you about some of the longest and most tranquil beaches in the Algarve. As you might expect, there are usually more people by the access points to the beach. Just walk a little further along the shore to find a sunny, sandy spot just for you. See the map below for locations.
An immense stretch of fine sand, Monte Gordo beach has long been a favourite. Separated from neighbouring Spain by the Guadiana river, the water here is generally warmer than in more western Algarve beaches. Monte Gordo is a popular summer destination, however the beach is so massive (over 4kms) that there is always plenty of room. The eastern end, nearest the river estuary, known as Praia de Santo Antonio, tends to be quieter. The beach continues, to the west, past Monte Gordo to Praia Verde and Praia Manta Rota.
Praia da Cacela Velha
Near to Tavira, Cacela Velha is a charming, tiny, white-washed hamlet that perches above the beautiful Ria Formosa natural park. It is the perfect spot for admiring the views and contemplating life. The beach is one of unspoilt beauty, a sandbank washed by the tides of the Ria Formosa. You reach the beach by a short boat ride from “Sítio da Fábrica” about 1km from Cacela Velha.
Photo: Maximilian Xavier Photography
Praia da Terra Estreita
Set on an 11km long sandbank of the finest sand and the clearest water, Praia da Terra Estreita is a sanctuary of tranquility at any time of year. It is reached by boat from the village of Santa Luzia (famous for its amazing seafood) and is one of the most tranquil east Algarve beaches. Here the waters are generally warm (in summer) and calm. This is a pared back beach experience – just you, the sand, the sea and the sounds of nature.
Photo: Maximilian Xavier Photography
Ilha Deserta – Praia Barreta
An uninhabited Island, one of five islands in the Ria Formosa, Ilha Deserta is truly a getting-away-from-it-all experience. Reached by boat, which departs from Faro, the island has just one building, a restaurant that serves superb local seafood. Home to a beautiful range of fauna and flora the island is rich in scents, sounds and scenery. It’s not only humans who love the island – it is a favoured spot among birds flying south to avoid the cold northern Europe winters.
The Ria Formosa is an amazing spot, of immense natural beauty. The best way to explore is by sea. If you take a trip with Salt & Sea, aboard their modern catamaran, you can explore various islands at your leisure.
Quinta do Lago
There is a long, continuous stretch of shore and sand that runs from Faro, past Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo, all the way to Vilamoura. Along the way there are busier and less busy stretches of seafront. Quinta do Lago beach, which is reached by a 300m long wooden bridge across the wetlands of the Ria Formosa is a very popular spot. However, once on the beach, if you walk eastwards along the shore, you’ll soon find yourself in a relatively unpopulated spot, with the ocean to the front and the Ria Formosa to the rear. If you keep walking (about 2 kms), you’ll end up at Praia de Faro on the Ilha de Faro.
Praia da Falésia
This magnificent beach, which runs between Vilamoura and Olhos de Àgua is 6kms of fine sand backed ochre cliffs and umbrella pines. Although very popular, given its immense size, you can always find less frequented areas on Praia da Falésia simply by walking a little further along the shore.
From west of Albufeira to Armação de Pêra the coastline forms a curving bay with a long stretch of sand, backed by lagoons and farmland. At the eastern end is Praia dos Salgados, known as a haven for birds. There is a 2km stretch of pristine sand with ocean to the fore and farmland behind, which is perfect for a relaxing, stress-free beach experience. Continuing from Praia Grande towards the west, is the Armação Beach Club by VILA VITA Parc , a tranquil area with some superb bechside restaruants to satisfy pangs of hunger in style, and then the busier stretch of sand in front of Armação.
Praia de Alvor
The bay here is vast and the waters lap two fabulous beaches – Alvor and Meia Praia. Alvor beach is 3kms long. At the eastern end are the cliffs of Prainha (at low tide you can walk from Alvor beach to beach by Caniço). And at the western end are endless sands and clear water, backed by dunes, with the Ria Alvor estuary looping around behind the beach, forming sandbanks and water channels. A popular beach, just walk a little towards the west from the access points, to get away from it all.
Separated from Alvor beach by the Ria Alvor, Meia Praia is curving crescent of fine sand almost 5kms long. The western end is generally busier, as it is closer to the town of Lagos. The eastern end is quieter and there are several access points via wooden walkways onto the beach.
Photo: Gonçalo Moutinho
Praia da Cordoama
The beaches of Algarve’s west coast, the Costa Vicentina, are quite different from the south coast beaches. There is less urbanization here and the power of the Atlantic is evident in the waves crashing onto the beaches. Here the cliffs are tall, dark and imposing, not the gentle ochre of the south. Cordoama is a long, thin stretch of sand, backed by cliffs, that seem suspended in the brume. Although frequented by surf and watersports schools, there are always quiet spots here.
Praia da Bordeira
The views all along the west coast are amazing – huge expanses of ocean, sky, beaches and cliffs. Many of the beaches are reached by small roads and just getting to the beach is a pleasure in itself, due to the views. Bordeira is reached by descending the steps and walk-ways from the cliff and viewing points, onto the sand. You cross a (usually) shallow stream to reach 3kms of beach and dunes.
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