Portugal is still a great stranger for many, but it is becoming more and more popular on the tourist map, and at least I never thought to find such paradisiacal beaches in Algarve, with crystalline waters, surrounded by cliffs and rock formations making an incredible scenery.
Some more accessible than others and many of them are only accessible from the sea… swimming (for the bravest) or kayaking! You will find dozens of rentals along the entire coast or … even going full Indiana Jones-style through the cliffs is another choice, but I can assure you that every hidden cove is worth it.
Most are very close to each other, so the best option is to make base in some town or city and then move from there. While the main points are connected via bus, renting a car will be the most comfortable choice giving you the freedom to stop where you want and reach many beaches far from most tourists.
The place I chose to stay in is a small and picturesque village called Alvor, very close to Portimao. Super recomendable, full of bars, restaurants, shops and a vibrant nightlife. Wait! There’s also an amazing beach if you just want to relax and not move around.
And now after spending a week beach-hopping here’s my Algarve’s TOP 5 beaches:
Praia da Marhina
Without a doubt it deserves the first place, although it can (will) be quite crowded and it is usually a little difficult to find where to park (the best option is to go early), none of this opaque the beauty of the place! From the top you can see the spectacular rock formations and the turquoise waters… My gosh! Take time to walk the paths that surround the cliffs before descending to the beach, I’m certain that you will find stunning views and incredible spots to take pictures, my favorite: the two arches.
To access the beach there is a laaarge staircase, but don’t worry as it is in perfect condition and easy to climb.
Tip! If you are going to have lunch or eat something, I recommend you take your own food and drinks. Once in the place there are only two stands, one up without many options and the other on the beach, which is obviously quite expensive.
Don’t just stay in one place! It´s worth a hike to appreciate the different landscapes that Marina has to offer! In the afternoon the tide tends to rise, keep this in mind when returning because you may have to cross some partswith the water by your waist but not swimming.
You can also visit the arches that you saw from above! Get good shoes and ready to get wet.
Praia da Balanca
This is one of my favorites, but not suitable for everyone! It´s a small beach (almost deserted, yay!) that can only be accessed via kayak or through a narrow crack through the cliff of approximately 50 meters… at first sight scares a little but it´s not impossible, hey! I won´t lie! I had my moments ahaha while going through.
My first advice is to wear confortable sneakers and try to avoid shorts (remember, I tell you from my experience). The second, if you can avoid going with heavy bags it´s going to be a plus! Anyway, I´ve seen people come down with tremendous backpacks, umbrellas and even dogs! But better go with as light as possible being extra careful.
Finally, the reddish dust of the place will dirty the clothes, go with dark things or pieces you are not that fond of… my white shorts ended up as beautiful orange after getting down there RIP.
After the worst, you will realize that all this adventure was 100% worth it, the beach is beautiful and having few people, even better! Almost everything for you!
Relax and enjoy the place without worrying about the return, the climb will be much easier and faster.
Praia da Albandeira
A small and beautiful beach, but super crowded! Accessed by a wooden stairs, which divides the two coves. With the high tide there is usually no place to settle, so it´s not one of those beaches to spend the day, however, the stunning landscapes are worth at least one brief stop. In the right creek there´s a grotto, which at low tide can be crossed by feet to reach a stunning natural arch and shoot some photos. Don´t miss the arch views from above (top of the cliff), it´s mesmerizing!
Praia do Camillo
This one is considered one of the most beautiful coves in Algarve! As soon as you arrive, from that height you will understand why. Before going your way down to the beach, I recommend going to a small viewpoint to the right where you can shoot amazing photos. As in most of these beaches access is by stairs, during the journey (steps and steps and more steps) you can also enjoy stunning views.
The place is quite small and … yes, crowded, especially in high season, but the beauty of the place will definitely leave you speechless.
Praia do Alvor
We finally got to a beach with no stairs! It has several kilometers of extension so, despite having enough people you will always find somewhere to get comfortable. Also has the possibility of renting umbrellas and beds. White sand and crystalline waters, you can spend the day quietly with the village just behind you with its supermarkets, restaurants and bars for all tastes.