The West Algarve Beach Guide

The Algarve is blessed with over 100 wonderful beaches.  From picture-postcard coves (ideal for families) to the wild west coast, renowned for world-class surfing. In 2022, the Algarve was voted the 'Best Beach Destination' in the World Travel Awards for the 9th time.

Praia da Luz

Praia de Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Luz, (‘Beach of the Church of our Lady of Light’) – far too much for many tourists (and some locals) and shortened to Praia da Luz.

This is a very safe beach with gently shelving sands. It is long, beautiful and perfect for sunbathing and water sports.  It has been awarded the ‘European blue flag’ indicating cleanliness, health, safety and accessibility.

At the far end of the beach, you will find the infamous ‘Black Rock’ which was formed approximately 150 million years ago by lava from volcanoes in the Monchique mountains 20 km away.

Praia da Luz can be busy in the height of summer, but a short walk along the beach towards ‘black rock’ and you will have the beach much to yourself. There are excellent beachside restaurants and two well-equipped water sport centres offering scuba diving, boat trips and other activities.

Prainha da Luz

A small sandy cove tucked under the western side of the Fort (Forteleza Restaurant). At high tide, much of the beach is covered, but it is possible to sit on the rocks and remains a tranquil option compared to the main beach.

Prainha is also popular for snorkelling and diving due to the clarity of the water. The small fishing boats still go out from this beach and return with their catch at dawn.

Praia do Camilo

The view over the beach of Camilo is one of the most photographed sights of the Algarve so taking a camera is a must. The fish restaurant at the top of the cliffs is excellent but take note that the 100 or so steps down to the beach maybe too much for some and they will content themselves with the wonderful view which in itself is worth the visit.

The beach itself is glorious and has a quaint little beach bar decorated with walls of shells. There are caves that link through to other coves which are easily accessible at low tide. Be careful of the rising tide or you may have to swim back.

Praia Dona Ana

Praia Dona Ana is among the 50 best beaches in the world, according to Conde Nast Traveller. A picture postcard beach near Lagos by the original Golfinho Hotel. A very pretty beach with two main coves and caves through to other coves which you can reach at low tide.

There are steps down to this beach. It faces east and is flanked by north and south cliffs that shelter it from westerly winds.

Meia Praia

The largest and longest Lagos beach is surprisingly called Meia Praia (‘half beach’) as the beach splits into Praia dos Três Irmãos via an estuary and lagoons.  This beach curves around the Bay of Lagos from where the great explorers set sail in the fifteenth Century. It can be reached by foot over the drawbridge at the entrance to the Marina, by a little boat across the river next to the car park at the centre of Lagos or by car around the back of the Marina. From the railway station, follow the track to the beach or take the lane to Palmares Golf course stopping anywhere on the way.

This is a very long, wide beach with miles of sand dunes and, apart from the few hundred metres close to Lagos, is never crowded. Within a few minutes walk you can find a deserted stretch of beach even in summer. There are half a dozen excellent beach bars/restaurants spread out along the beach. Very useful for those who walk its length and require refreshment on the way. There are a couple of fairly well equipped water-sports centres. This beach has easy access and you can park close to one of the beach restaurants or car parks scattered along the length of the beach.

Praia da Batata

Praia da Batata (potato beach). The closest beach to the town centre, by the little fort at the entrance to the harbour. A few steps down and you are on the sand.

Walking along the cliff path you will find several small sandy coves:


Praia dos Estudantes (students beach)

Praia do Vale dos Homens (mens beach)

Praia do Pinhao (pine beach)

Praia da Balança (balance beach)


Burgau is on the edge of the Costa Vicentina Natural Park. The old village has narrow and steep cobbled lanes down to the beach which it is not advisable to drive down. Park at the top and walk down. The fisherman still repair their nets on the slipway and there is a thriving fishing fleet of small colourful boats.

The beach is flanked by cliffs but apart from the steep hill there are no steps so access is good. There are excellent beach bars. It is good for snorkelling and scuba diving.

Praia de Porto de Mós

A few years ago this small bay was isolated between Lagos and Luz but in recent years Lagos has grown and this beach is now very much on the Western outskirts of the town. Like Meia Praia, this is a great beach for easy access and a large car park right next to the beach.

Flanked by tall cliffs that usually give shade and shelter. There are several excellent restaurants. This is a great favourite.

Praia do Canavial

This used to be the nudist beach and is very secluded with quite testing access. The new Cascade Hotel is built on the cliff tops above, so no longer offers the same levels of privacy.

Cabanas Velhas

An unspoilt beach with a large development nearby (owned by the Vigia Group who run Parque da Floresta Golf Resort). The Vigia group now run the excellent restaurant but this is a natural, wholesome beach with no other buildings in sight. It is attractively flanked by cliffs and rolling hills.