Portugal is renowned for its dramatic coastline. The country’s endless beaches leading out into the Atlantic Ocean make for spectacular waves and powerful surf. The sea takes on a different appearance throughout the year. On a bright summer’s day it will glisten in the sunlight calm and clear, but on an early winter’s morning, frothy noisy waves will roll onto the shore, breaking against the cliffs.
Residents and holidaymakers love Portugal for its beautiful open choice of beaches and of course, it is the Algarve that has attracted people for many years, drawn to the sea, impressive cliff faces and far-reaching ocean views.
Here are our three top three best beaches in the Algarve:
This spectacular beach spans across three valleys. The variety of waves make it a prime choice for some of the country’s best surf schools and a venue for both national and international competitions. The beach is distinctive with a contrast of cliffs – to the north the scenery is dominated by cliffs radiating a rich red and ochre colour, whereas the south is dominated by grey craggy schist rocks.
Many footpaths connect to the beach and look-out points across the ocean. A coastal road from the cliffs to the north with breathtaking sea views, takes you to Bordeira Beach, past Pontal, and on to the fascinating harbour at Zimbreirinha, where fishing boats are moored on wooden platforms suspended on the cliff.
The 350 metre long and 30 metre wide beach at Praia do Burgau takes its name from the village of Burgau, where pretty whitewashed houses and traditional narrow streets offer an authentic Algarve experience.
Lying on the edge of the Costa Vicentina natural park, this beach is typically bordered by high cliffs forming a sheltered cove at the bottom of a steep hill. Praia do Burgau is a popular choice for families as it has soft sandy shores that slope gently into the sea, which is comparatively calm, and a very deep blue, but also extremely cold being the Atlantic Ocean. Also known as the Portuguese Santorini.
Lying on the western side of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, a protected area extending to Tavira, the sandy Ancão Beach is edged by dunes and dense pine forests. This award winning Blue Flag beach is situated in the ‘Golden Triangle’ about halfway between Faro and Quarteira, close to the affluent resorts – Vale do Lobo, Vale do Garrão and Quinta do Lago.
It tends to attract the rich and famous from home and overseas, who love the vibrant atmosphere with its choice of beach bars and renowned restaurants such as Dois Passos, the seafood restaurant. Certain areas of the beach are reserved for exclusive use and offer private areas some with blinds. As well as being a luxury beach with a lifeguard patrol suitable for families, there are excellent water sports on offer from water-skiing and wakeboarding to stand-up-paddle boarding and kayaking.